PLEYEL, IGNAZ (1757-1831)

Ignaz Pleyel was born in Ruppersthal, Austria, June 18, 1757 and died in Paris on November 14, 1831. He was an Austrian composer, music publisher and piano maker active in France. He founded a major publishing house and a piano factory and his compositions achieved widespread popularity in Europe and North America.
Son of a schoolteacher, it is said that he studied with Vanhal while very young and in about 1772, he became Haydn’'s pupil and lodger in Eisenstadt. Pleyel remained a very close friend of his master and was held in great esteem by him as well. He served as assistant Kappellmeister of the Strasbourg Cathedral from 1784 and succeeded F. X. Richter upon his death in 1789 being fully in charge. Most of his compositions date from the years 1787-1795, his most musically productive years.
Pleyel’'s works show considerable facility and a thorough technical grounding. Earlier works display thematic originality and ingenious developments that make them fresh and attractive. Working in an age when music was considered a commodity to be put to the widest possible use, Pleyel did not hesitate to issue a concerto with alternative solo parts for flute, clarinet or cello, or to transform a set of piano trios into flute quartets or string trios by ‘scrambling’ the original 18 movements into an almost entirely new juxtaposition of movements in transposed keys. Such procedures reflect Pleyel’'s total acceptance of the tastes and values of contemporary music lovers, which may explain his widespread popularity. The duets for violins, flutes or other combinations have never lost their appeal as teaching pieces. Many works of other genres merit resuscitation for study and performance. The "Rondo" and "Menuetto" transcriptions for saxophone sextet by K. T. Gainacopulos would undoubtedly delight him and are an attempt to do just that.