New Introduction (2020)

The research on Amandus Ivanschiz1 undertaken in the twentieth century has been strongly influenced by Slovenian writers. One of the first to mention his name was Stanko Premrl, a priest, composer and musician, who in 1922 reported on manuscripts found in the Ljubljana Cathedral that contained, among other works, a Missa Pastoritia by Fr. Amandus. Following the general practice of the time Premrl chose to spell the composer’s name as “Ivančič” (Slovenized version) rather than “Ivantschitsch” as written in the source itself, for he was convinced that the author must have been a local composer.2 Over fifty years later, studies carried out by the Slovenian musicologist Danilo Pokorn marked a turning point in the process of acquiring knowledge about Ivanschiz. Pokorn’s doctoral dissertation, which he defended in Ljubljana in 1977, focused on the composer’s instrumental music.3 Tangible fruits of his efforts were editions of Ivanschiz’s works which later appeared in the series Monumenta artis musicae Sloveniae (volume 1 in 1983 – here republished – and volume 3 in 1984) and in The Symphony 1720–1840.4 However, a thorough research in the recent years changed significantly our knowledge about the life and compositions of Amandus Ivanschiz therefore some amendments are needed for the re-publication of earlier works. The text here below brings necessary additions and corrections to the original Introduction and the Critical Report by the deceased Danilo Pokorn.

Amandus Ivanschiz was baptized on 24 December 1727 in Wiener Neustadt (Austria) and given the names Matthias Leopold.5 He was most probably born on the same day or shortly before. His father (Matthias Joseph) came from the village of Baumgarten (today in the Burgenland, Austria) inhabited by the Croatian minority and got married in Wiener Neustadt. Presumably by the end of 1742 young Matthias Leopold entered the Pauline Order and took the name of Amandus. After spending his novitiate at the monastery of Ranna he took his monastic vows at the age of 16 (25 December 1743). Then, together with other brothers preparing for the priesthood, he underwent studies in Maria Trost and Wiener Neustadt. In Wiener Neustadt he received the four lower orders (30 May 1744) and subsequently progressed to subdeacon (1 March 1749) and deacon (21 February 1750). The 23-year-old Fr. Amandus must have already been a respected musician, since he was entrusted with the inauguration of a new organ built in the Wiener Neustadt Cathedral on 5 August 1750. Ivanschiz received ordination as a priest on 15 November 1750 and ten days later (25 November) presided over his first mass at the Pauline monastery in his home town. A printed copy of the sermon preached at this service by the Capuchin Fulgentius Neostadiensis has survived.6 In 1751 Ivanschiz was sent to Rome, where he stayed until 1754, working as an assistant (socius) to the Procurator General of the Pauline Order. In 1754 he returned to Wiener Neustadt, only to be sent back, shortly thereafter, to Maria Trost, where his presence from at least 1755 has been documented. His name appears twice in account books of the Jesuit Church of St. Ägydius (today Grazer Dom): in 1755 (“Pro curru, quo ex Mariae Consolatricis Monasterio ad probandam musicam vectus est V. P. Compositor Amandus Ivantschiz”) and in 1758 (“Pro 5 lytaniis et uno Sacro Cantato a V. P. Amando Ivantschiz compositis”).7 On this evidence, he not only wrote works commissioned by the Jesuits, but evidently also participated in their performances. One of the most important discoveries made in the last few years regarding the composer’s biography is that of the date of his death. As confirmed by monastic records and obituaries, Amandus Ivanschiz died in 1758 at the young age of 31. It appears that until the end of his days he remained in Maria Trost, since the last of the afore-mentioned entries in the Jesuit account books in Graz is from that same year.

Previously, the end of the composer’s activity had been hypothetically situated by some scholars in the 1780s or the 1790s.8 Even those authors who accepted these late dates nevertheless viewed Ivanschiz as one of the forerunners of the new style. The surprisingly early date of his death places his sizeable output, clearly belonging to the early Classical style, in a new light, transforming our knowledge about the changes of musical language occurring in the middle of the eighteenth century.

Despite his early death, Ivanschiz left behind a remarkable number of compositions. His output comprises around 20 symphonies, 15 string trios, 17 masses, 13 litanies, 7 short cantatas (each named Oratorium), 9 settings of Marian antiphons, 8 arias and duets on non-liturgical texts, vespers and a Te Deum.9 Some of these works have survived in a few, or even a dozen or so, copies, today located in several, predominantly Central European, countries, which include Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, but also Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland. This proves that Father Amandus’ music was known to a wide audience and places him among the most popular monk-composers of the 18th century.

In his doctoral dissertation Danilo Pokorn divides Ivanschiz’s chamber music into four groups: sonatas, trios, divertimentos and symphonies.10 Additionally, the last two terms appear equally as designations for orchestral works. Such a division, based on the titles appearing in the extant manuscripts, was upheld by the editions made under the supervision of Pokorn himself11 and Paul M. Douglas,12 suggesting that Ivanschiz’s chamber music consists of four distinct genres. However, a comprehensive comparative examination of all extant sources (many of which were yet unknown to Pokorn) later led to quite different conclusions. Regardless of the titles occurring in manuscripts, all of Ivanschiz’s chamber works fall within the genre of the string trio, which was extremely popular during the eighteenth century, though today is somewhat neglected.13 The most common titles found on the front covers of manuscripts are: “Trio”, “A tre”, “Divertimento” and “Sonata”. Less frequently, these pieces are labelled “Simfonia” (or “Sinfonia”) and on a single occasion as a “Sonatina”. However, these terms are applied interchangeably, without any relation to the form and style of the compositions. Moreover, one and the same piece may appear under different titles in manuscripts of different provenance. For example, the Trio in C (T.C.1)14 is referred to variously as a “Trio”,15 “Divertimento”,16 “Sonata”,17 “Sonatina”18 and “A tre”.19 In the light of an analysis of extant copies of Ivanschiz’s works, one may conclude that the use of one or another title was mainly connected with local traditions. For instance, the title pages of trios labelled “Simfonia” (or “Sinfonia”) were all prepared by the same copyist.20 Such terminological freedom relating to new genres within eighteenth-century instrumental music is well recognized in musicological literature.21

All Ivanschiz’s authenticated chamber works display clear similarities, especially with regard to scoring and musical form. They are all (with one exception: the Trio in F T.F.1) tripartite compositions constructed on the following model: (1) a slow movement – (2) a minuet with trio – (3) a fast movement. The texture invariably comprises three voices, for performance by solo instruments: the highest part is played by the violin and the middle part by a violin or a viola, while the lowest part, named “basso” or “violoncello” in the sources, calls for a low-pitched stringed instrument.22

The chamber string trios published by Danilo Pokorn in the first volume of the Monumenta artis musicae Sloveniae series were based on sources found in the collection of the Margraves of Baden held by the Badische Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe.23 This was an unfortunate choice since in the Baden manuscripts Ivanschiz’s works have been subjected to significant modifications. In most of them the violin part is entrusted to the transverse flute and adapted to suit the compass and abilities of that instrument. The alterations mainly entail octave-transpositions of passages dipping below the note d¹ and the omission of chords. A few isolated cases reveal further interventions, such as the transposition of an entire work a second higher (T.F.1, T.B.1) or the exchange of material between the two upper parts.24 Interestingly, we can probably identify the person responsible for these arrangements. Johann Reusch (1715–1787), a member of the ensemble at the court of the Margrave Karl Friedrich of Baden (who himself played the transverse flute), was a renowned flautist who played the clarinet and oboe as well. Although he was not a composer himself, Reusch emerges from the history of the musical collection in Baden as a diligent copyist and the author of a number of transcriptions for flute.25 Moreover, the manuscripts used by Pokorn as a basis for his edition contain two pieces incorrectly attributed to Ivanschiz, which were in reality composed by Franz Asplmayr (nos. IV and V; see below).26 These two works differ from Fr. Amandus’ trios, inter alia, in their movement plan (slow movement – fast movement – minuet), treatment of musical form and preference for a much more active bass line that dialogues with the other instruments.27 As already mentioned, the lowest part in Ivanschiz’s trios calls for a low-pitched melodic stringed instrument (cello or violone). This part is not figured in any known manuscript; according to the sources, these compositions were normally performed without any basso continuo accompaniment.28 Therefore, omission of the editorially added “cembalo” part in Pokorn’s edition is recommended.

Maciej Jochymczyk


1. Other spellings of the composer’s surname adopted in Slavic musicological literature (“Ivančić”, “Ivančič”, “Ivanšič” etc.) are not encountered in the historical accounts. In his known autograph documents he consistently used the form “Ivanschiz”. See Maciej Jochymczyk, Amandus Ivanschiz – His Life and Music: With a Thematic Catalog of Works (Kraków: Musica Iagellonica, 2016), 23–24, 26–46.

2. Stanko Premrl, “Iz glasbenega arhiva ljubljanske stolnice”, Cerkveni glasbenik 45, no. 1–2 (1922): 20. He wrote: “Po imenu smemo s precejšnjo verjetnostjo, če ne z gotovostjo sklepati, da je bil domačin, Slovenec.” [“His name suggests that he was most probably if not rather surely a native, a Slovenian.”]. This hypothesis was later proven to be wrong.

3. Danilo Pokorn, “Amandus Ivančič in njegovo posvetno skladateljsko delo” (PhD diss., Univerza v Ljubljani, 1977).

4. Amandus Ivančič, Sonate a tre, ed. Danilo Pokorn, Monumenta artis musicae Sloveniae 1 (Ljubljana: SAZU, 1983); Amandus Ivančič, Simfonije za dve violini in bas / Symphonies for Two Violins and Bass, ed. Danilo Pokorn, Monumenta artis musicae Sloveniae 3 (Ljubljana: SAZU, 1984); and Amandus Ivančič,Two Symphonies: Them. Index F1, D9 […], ed. Danilo Pokorn, The Symphony 1720–1840, Series B, 14 (New York: Garland, 1985).

5. The updated biography is based on: Jochymczyk, Amandus Ivanschiz, 21–48.

6. A facsimile of this print is published in: Jochymczyk, Amandus Ivanschiz, 477–498.

7. This fact was already known to Danilo Pokorn; see Ivančič, Sonate a tre, xvi.

8. See, for instance, Ivančič, Sonate a tre, xvi; Lovro Županović, Stoljeća hrvatske glazbe (Zagreb: Školska knjiga, 1980), 104; Lovro Županović, Centuries of Croatian Music, vol. 1, translated by Vladimir Ivir (Zagreb: Muzički informativni centar, 1984), 141–152.

9. For more information on the composer’s output and a thematic catalogue of his works, see Jochymczyk, Amandus Ivanschiz. The number of compositions given by Danilo Pokorn is higher, as it includes pieces of doubtful or erroneous attribution.

10. Pokorn, “Amandus Ivančič”, 134–143.

11. Ivančič, Sonate a tre; Ivančič, Simfonije

12. Amandus Ivanschiz,Six sonatas a tre for flute, viola, and basso continuo, vol. 1, Nos. 1–3, ed. Paul M. Douglas (London: Nova Music, 1982).

13. The importance of this genre is confirmed, for instance, by the fact that the number of string trios composed during 1750–1780 significantly exceeded that of quartets. See Barry S. Brook, “Haydn’s String Trios: A Misunderstood Genre”, Current Musicology 36 (1983): 61–77. There is no reason to define the works under discussion as “belonging to the baroque genre of the trio sonata”, as Pokorn did (Ivančič, Sonate a tre, xvii).

14. Catalogue numbers of works by Ivanschiz after Jochymczyk, Amandus Ivanschiz.

15. D-B, 20375; and D-RH, Ms 437, Ms 867.

16. CZ-Bu, Skř 17-525.714.

18. D-WÜd, KBD/KES K7 Ms091.

19. A-LA, 254.

20. A-Wgm, XIII 1325, XIII 8549, XIII 8550; and A-M, V 1429, V 1430, V 1431, V 1432. See also the “New Introduction” to re-published online edition of Monumenta artis musicae Sloveniae 3.

21. See, for example, James Webster, “Towards a History of Viennese Chamber Music in the Early Classical Period”, Journal of the American Musicological Society 27, no. 2 (1974): 213.

22. Ivanschiz was apparently one of the first composers to employ the characteristic scoring of the High Classical string trio (violin, viola, cello). See Maciej Jochymczyk, “Some Remarks on the Formation of the Classical Style: Instrumental Music by Amandus Ivanschiz”, Musicology Today 10 (2013).

23. Ivančič, Sonate a tre. One year previously, two of these pieces had been published (on the basis of the same sources) in an edition by Paul M. Douglas: Ivanschiz,Six sonatas.

24. See Jochymczyk, Amandus Ivanschiz, 119.

25. Klaus Häfner, “‘... gnädigst Befohlener maaßen, Zur Fürstl. Biebliothec geliefert’. Die Musikaliensammlung”, in: Buch – Leser – Bibliothek: Festschrift der Badischen Landesbibliothek zum Neubau, ed. Gerhard Römer, (Karlsruhe: Badische Landesbibliothek, 1992), 161–170.

26. Already Hubert Unverricht had drawn attention to the unreliability of sources in the Baden collection and even pointed out the incorrect attribution of the trio by Asplmayr arranged for flutes and bearing Ivanschiz’s name. See Hubert Unverricht, Geschichte des Streichtrios, Mainzer Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 2 (Tutzing: Schneider, 1969), 71.

27. See Jochymczyk, Amandus Ivanschiz, 268–269.

28. Ivanschiz’s works are not exceptional in this regard. According to James Webster, “the evidence that the continuo had been abandoned in secular Austrian chamber music by 1750 is overwhelming”. Webster, “Towards a History”, 243–244; see also Unverricht, Geschichte des Streichtrios, 189–191.