Ignaz Pleyel

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Ignaz Josef Pleyel

Ignaz Josef Pleyel (born June 18, 1757 in Ruppersthal , Lower Austria ; † November 14, 1831 near Paris ), until around 1789 Pleyl , from around 1789 Ignace , also Ignazio Pleijel , was an Austrian - French composer and piano manufacturer.


Pleyel was the eighth child from the first marriage of the schoolmaster Martin Pleyl and his wife Anna Theresia Pleyl geb. Ranger; he had nine half-siblings from his father's second marriage to Maria Anna Pleyl geb. Placho, all of whom died of diphtheria in childhood . He grew up in modest circumstances. His father was a schoolmaster, sacristan and choirmaster in Ruppersthal and recognized his son's musical and compositional talent at an early age . Pleyel was a student of Joseph Haydn and Johann Baptist Vanhal in Pressburg and Eisenstadt . From 1772 onwards, his patrons, Count Erdödy , paid him 100 Louis d'or per year for a five-year training course and stay in Haydn's household . During his apprenticeship with Haydn, with whom he became a close friend from then on, the 19-year-old Pleyel composed two operas, a symphony and a violoncello concerto . In 1785 Pleyel was admitted to the Masonic lodge to the golden wheel in Fidisch (near Eberau in Burgenland), which was headed by Count Ludwig Erdödy (1749–1794).

He completed his training in Italy and moved to Strasbourg in 1783 , where he became adjunct to the cathedral music director Franz Xaver Richter and called himself "Ignace" from then on. Before he succeeded him after Richter's death in 1789, he took French citizenship , added an "e" to his maiden name Pleyl and called himself Pleyel from then on . In 1788 he married Franziska Gabrielle Ignatia Lefebvre from Strasbourg, with whom he had four children. During the French Revolution , on the occasion of the proclamation of the new Strasbourg constitution in 1790, he composed the hymn à la Liberté based on a text by his friend Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle . In 1791 Pleyel was relieved of his position as cathedral music director.

From December 1791 to May 1792 he came to London at the invitation of Wilhelm Cramer to take part in his Professional Concerts , at the same time his former teacher Haydn was working in London. On May 16, 1792, he returned to Strasbourg and bought the Château d'Ittenwiller, which was just outside the city.

From 1795 he lived in Paris, where he ran a music shop in 1796 and in 1807 it was operated by the company Pleyel, Wolff et Comp. Until the end of 2013 . established an existing piano factory. In his publishing house, which his brother-in-law Jean-Daniel Schäffer was managing director, around 4,000 works by composers such as Beethoven, Boccherini, Dussek, Clementi, Haydn, Hummel, Mozart, Onslow and others appeared within 39 years. One of Pleyel's innovations was the so-called Bibliothèque musicale , which began in 1802 with the publication of four of Haydn's symphonies in pocket score format. Pleyel acquired the marketing rights (for France) for the opp on January 24, 1827. 130 , 133 and 134 by Ludwig van Beethoven . The contract in French was concluded in the presence of witnesses in Vienna and notarized.

His son Camille Pleyel (* 1788) trained as a piano player under the direction of his father and the composers Johann Ladislaus Dussek and Friedrich Kalkbrenner . After the interest in Ignaz Pleyel's compositions had already waned at the turn of the century, he handed over the piano factory to his son in 1824, which he ran until his death on May 4, 1855. On October 19, 1827, Pleyel founded a small music salon at 9 rue Cadet, in which Clara Wieck , who later became Robert Schumann's wife , performed alongside other artists and virtuosos . Camille Pleyel also took over this salon and moved into a building designed by him. From this music salon the largest concert hall in Paris developed, the Salle Pleyel , which was built in 1927.

Ignaz Pleyel retired to his country estate near Paris and devoted himself to agriculture. He died of bronchitis . His grave is in the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris (Division 13, number 40.906). In 1959 the Ignaz-Pleyel-Gasse in Vienna- Favoriten was named after him. In 1998 the house where he was born was saved and turned into a museum.

His daughter-in-law Marie Moke-Pleyel was a student of Friedrich Kalkbrenner and one of the most important pianists of her time.


Title page of the Grande Sonate op.45.3 (printed in 1797)

Pleyel left behind numerous compositions (mostly instrumental works), which at times competed in popularity even with Haydn, but were forgotten during the author's lifetime. His often reissued Large and Small Piano School from 1797, which he created together with Dussek (1760–1812) and Cramer (1771–1858), is well known. (This was rejected by Beethoven, among others, in favor of the school of Muzio Clementi , 1752–1832.) Pleyel also wrote 41 symphonies, six symphonies concertantes, two operas ( Die Fee Urgèle and Ifigenie in Aulide ), a requiem , songs and a large one Number of chamber music compositions. The renowned music publisher Heinrich Philipp Boßler acted as the original publisher of the piano manufacturer Pleyel . Ignaz Pleyel's works took up an extensive space in Boßler's music publishing house .

The string quartets stand out from his chamber music because they are of great musical quality, which earned him an excellent reputation as a composer in his day. Mozart wrote about Pleyel's string quartets in a letter to his father on April 24, 1784:

“They are very well written and very pleasant; You will also soon become his master [d. i. Haydn]. Good - and happy for the music, if Pleyel is able to replace Haydn for us! "

A list of works by Pleyel can be found on the Pleyel Society's website (see  web links ). This directory is based on the extensive research of the musicologist Rita Benton (1918–1980).

Piano construction

In addition to the competitor Érard and other piano manufacturers such as Gaveau and Mangeot Freres , the piano manufacturer Ignace Pleyel & Comp.ie, founded by Pleyel in Paris in 1807, was one of the largest European piano manufacturers in the decades up to 1870, with output around the middle of the 19th century. Century only surpassed by Broadwood , London. Frédéric Chopin preferred Pleyel's instruments and praised them as the non plus ultra . Two Pleyel grand pianos from the personal possession of Chopin are still known today. One of the Chopin instruments preserved in the UK is of outstanding sound. Chopin dedicated his three Nocturnes Op. 9 to the hostess of his first stay in Paris, Marie Moke-Pleyel, wife of the piano manufacturer Camille Pleyel, son of the founder Ignace. The piano manufacturer, last acquired by Hubert Martigny in 1998, ended the production of pianos around the end of 2013.


  • Pleyel Museum : In 1998, initiated by the International Ignaz Joseph Pleyel Society (IPG), Pleyel's birthplace was saved and set up as a museum, in 2009 Pleyel's grave in the Père Lachaise cemetery was restored with the support of the federal state of Lower Austria . In 2007 the Pleyel Society (IPG) held a ceremony in front of the house where he was born on the occasion of his 250th birthday, published a first Pleyel biography and initiated a special postage stamp. International Pleyel symposia have been held in the Museum since 2007 by the IPG, in cooperation with the Graz University of Music. Since 2010, the society has been working with nine musicologists on a Pleyel Complete Edition; the Ignaz Pleyel Quartet provided the first part of the musical implementation in early 2015 with the CD IJ Pleyel: Hidden Gems, Vol. 1: Ben 359, 360, 361 . The groundbreaking ceremony for a Pleyel cultural center with a concert hall in the vineyards in Ruppersthal took place in March 2015 . The Pleyel Cultural Center was officially opened on May 14, 2017.



  • Genius in the slipstream - Ignaz Joseph Pleyel. Documentary, Austria, 2014 (51:06 min .; script and direction: Gustav W. Trampitsch; production: Raum.Film, ORF , 3sat ; first broadcast: December 20, 2014 on 3sat). Summary of 3sat ( memento from August 25, 2015 in the web archive archive.today ).

Web links

Commons : Ignaz Josef Pleyel  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Adolf Ehrentraud: Pleyel 1757–1831. From Ruppersthal into the world. 2nd Edition. IPG, Ruppersthal 2011, ISBN 978-3-9503176-0-2 , p. 79 ff., Data of the grave number ibid, p. 260.
  2. a b The somewhat different Weinviertel. P. 87.
  3. Entry on Pleyel, Ignaz in the Austria Forum  (in the AEIOU Austria Lexicon )
  4. Contract between Beethoven and Pleyel ( memento of February 26, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) in the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, accessed on March 7, 2013.
  5. The somewhat different Weinviertel. P. 89.
  6. Features. Beethoven as an improviser on the piano. Memories of the French piano manufacturer Pleyel. In:  Neues Wiener Journal , No. 8839/1918 (XXVI. Volume), June 13, 1918, p. 3 f. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nwj. - In parts from: Ernest Legouvé : Soixante ans de souvenirs . Hetzel, Paris 1886 ( OBV ).
  7. Hans Schneider : The music publisher Heinrich Philipp Bossler 1744-1812. With bibliographic overviews and an appendix by Mariane Kirchgeßner and Boßler. Self-published by Hans Schneider, Tutzing 1985, ISBN 3-7952-0500-X , p. 8, 130 .
  8. ^ Pleyel Concert Hall in the Vineyards. In: ORF . March 29, 2015, accessed on August 25, 2015, images 5 and 12 of 17.
  9. ^ Ignaz Joseph Pleyel> piano maker. In: International Ignaz Joseph Pleyel Society (IPG). accessed on August 25, 2015.
  10. ^ Entry on the 250th birthday of Ignaz Joseph Pleyel. Special postage stamp in the Austria-Forum  (as a stamp image), accessed on December 9, 2011.
  11. Johannes Saltzwedel: The revolution drowns out. In: Kultur Spiegel , February 2015, issue 2, p. 34.
  12. ^ Pleyel Concert Hall in the Vineyards. In: ORF . March 29, 2015.
  13. Pleyel cultural center opened - noe.ORF.at. Retrieved January 3, 2018 .