Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf

Johann Carl Ditter von Dittersdorf ( November 2, 1739 Vienna, whether the Laimgrube, † October 24, 1799 in Nový Dvůr, Bohemia ) was an Austrian composer and virtuoso violinist and forester. Ditter was an extremely prolific composer of Viennese classicism, wrote 32 operas and musical comedies, in which he partly wrote the librettos. Today is known in addition to some instrumental works, especially his Singspiel doctor and pharmacist.


His musical career began as chamber boy in Prince Joseph of Saxe- Hildburghausen in Vienna and at the same time as a violinist in the Vienna Court Opera. Christoph Willibald Gluck took him on a trip to Italy in 1763, where Dittersdorf as a violin virtuoso had great success.

1765 Johann Carl Ditter Kapellmeister to the Bishop Adam Patachich of Oradea in Transylvania. This post was 1760-1762 Michael Haydn occupied. 1769 had to be disbanded the orchestra and the theater due to a command, the Jansenist embossed Empress Maria Theresa. 1770 Ditters Kapellmeister of Prince-Bishop of Breslau, Philipp Gotthard Schaffgotsch, at Schloss Johannesberg ( Janský Vrch ) in Jauernig ( Javorník ). He was also episcopal forester.

In 1773 he was knighted by the Emperor and could henceforth call Johann Carl Ditter von Dittersdorf. In the same year he was appointed bailiff in Freiwaldau ( Jeseník ). Shortly before the Papal Order he had been awarded the Golden Spur. In contrast to Gluck he made as though Mozart of the right to call for this reason knights, no use; but unlike Mozart, he had been raised to the peerage immediately afterwards.

In the summer of 1784 he visited Vienna, where he was once at an evening entertainment at the British composer Stephen Storace ( 1762-1796 ) ( in Mozart's Figaro brother of the later first Susanna ), the Irish tenor, and later became the first Don Basilio and Don Curzio Michael Kelly met. The absurd legend that Dittersdorf was only stimulated by common string quartet with J. Haydn, Mozart and Vaňhal to compose in this genre goes, solely on Kelly's description of the evening back:

" [ ... ] In the interim, Storace gave a quartet party to his friends. The players were tolerable; not one of them Excelled on the instrument he played, but there was a little science among them, Which I dare say will be acknowledged When I name them:

"The First Violin: HAYDN.

"The Second Violin: BARON DITTERSDORF.

"The cello: Vanhall.

"The Tenor: MOZART.

" The poet Casti and Paesiello Formed part of the audience. I was there, and A Greater treat or a more remarkable one can not be imagined.

"On the Particular evening to Which I am now Specially Referring, after the musical feast that over, we sat down to an excellent supper, and Became joyous and lively extreme in the. [ ... ] "

This firsthand account also seems to relativize any claims Dittersdorf on Geigenvirtuosentum.

Around 1790 Dittersdorf was Kapellmeister of the orchestra of Duke Charles Christian Erdmann von Württemberg- Oels ( 1716-1792 ) in the Lower Silesian Oels ( Oleśnica today ). In the summer months the band has performed in the Upper Silesian Carlsruhe, which at that time was the summer residence of the Duke.

He spent his life end, penniless and drawn by the gout, since 1796 as a guest of the owner of the rule Rothlhotta, that coming from Silesia Ignaz von Still Fried ( 1734-1805 ) on the Neuhof near Deschna in South Bohemia. He dictated to his son his memoirs, which appeared shortly after his death (Leipzig 1801) and today represent an important source for this period ( a reprint appeared in 1940 ).

His final resting place, he found the cemetery of Deschna.


In 1913, the Dittersdorfgasse in Vienna Hernals was named after him.

Works (selection)

Solo Concerts

  • Double Bass Concerto No. 1 in E flat major (now played mostly in D Major )
  • Double Bass Concerto No. 2 in E flat major (now mostly played in E major )
  • Harpsichord Concerto in A major (1779 )
  • Harpsichord Concerto in B flat major (1773 )
  • Cello Concerto
  • Viola Concerto
  • Violin Concerto in C major
  • Double Concerto for Two Violins in C major
  • Double Concerto for Two Violins in D major
  • Five Oboenkonzerte
  • Concerto for Oboe d' amore
  • Concerto for Flute and Orchestra in E minor


Carl Ditter von Dittersdorf wrote about 130 symphonies, of which 30 also printed.

  • Sinfonia Concertante for Viola, Double Bass and Orchestra in E flat major
  • Symphony in F major
  • Symphony in D minor
  • Symphony in G minor
  • Symphony in E flat major
  • Six Symphonies after Ovid's "Metamorphoses " Symphony No. 1 in C major, The Four Ages of Antiquity
  • Symphony No. 2 in D major, The Fall of Phaeton
  • Symphony No. 3 in G major The transformation Actaeon into a stag
  • Symphony No. 4 in F major The rescue of Andromeda by Perseus
  • Symphony No. 5 in D major The Petrification of Phineus and his friends
  • Symphony No. 6 in A major, The Transformation of the Lycian Peasants into Frogs

Chamber Music

  • 6 String Trios
  • 6 string Quartets
  • 12 String Quintets
  • 136 Piano Pieces
  • Duo for viola and double bass in E flat major
  • Divertimento for Two Violins and Cello in E flat major
  • Divertimento for Violin, Viola and Cello in D major


  • Arcifanfano, 1774
  • Doctor and pharmacist 1786 (orig. The pharmacist and doctor: a German comic opera in Clavier - extract )
  • The love in the madhouse, 1787
  • The red cap, 1788
  • The Marriage of Figaro, 1789
  • Don Quixote of the Zweyte, 1795
  • God Mars and the captain of bear tooth, 1795
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1796
  • The girls market, 1797
  • The opera buffa, 1798


  • Isacco figura del Redentore
  • Davide penitente
  • La Liberatrice del Popolo Giudaico nella Persia, o sia l' Esther
  • Giob
  • Discontaro


  • Mass in C minor
  • Pastoral motet

Discography (selection)

  • Sinfonias on Ovid 's Metamorphoses, Nos. 1-3, Failoni Orchestra, Hanspeter Gmür, 1995, Naxos Nx 8553368
  • Sinfonias on Ovid 's Metamorphoses, Nos. 4-6, Failoni Orchestra, Hanspeter Gmür, 1995, Naxos Nx 8553369
  • Sinfonias. Grave d1, Grave F7 Grave g1, Failoni Orchestra, Uwe Grodd, 1996, Nx Naxos 8553974
  • Sinfonias. Grave a2, D16 Grave, Grave A10, Failoni Orchestra, Uwe Grodd, 1996, Nx Naxos 8553975
  • String Quartets 1 & 3-5, Franz Schubert Quartet in 1989, cpo 999038-2
  • String Quartets 2 & 6 String Quintets in C & G, Franz Schubert Quartet, 1992, cpo 999122-2
  • Sacred Music ( Requiem, offertory in honor of St. John of Nepomuk, Litany of Loreto ), Regensburg Cathedral Choir, Consortium Musicum Munich, Georg Ratzinger, 1996 , 1987, Freiburg Music Forum / ars musici AM 1158-2
  • Symphonies in D, Eb, A, Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra, Álvaro Cassutto, 2006 Naxos
  • Double Bass Concertos, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Paul Goodwin, Chi - Chi Nwanoku, 2000, hyperion
  • Sinfonies Exprimant (Les Metamoprphoses D' Ovide ) Nos 1-6, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Bohumil Gregor, 1988 Supraphon
  • Piano Concertos in A major and B flat major, Christiane Klonz, Thüringer Symphoniker Saalfeld- Rudolstadt, Oliver Weder, 2009, claXL


  • Wenzel Müller
  • Johann Baptist Vanhal

Pictures of Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf