This highly prolific composer was Bohemian born. He had an experience of the world that Schubert might have envied—he seemed to be everywhere at the right time: in Vienna he met Mozart (who performed one of his symphonies), Goethe in Rome, Haydn in London (where Gyrowetz lived for three years in the 1790s) and, purportedly, Napoleon in Prague. The vast majority of Gyrowetz’s work was instrumental (string quartets a speciality); as late as 1818 the young Chopin made his debut playing a Gyrowetz piano concerto. The composer’s life changed after he was created second Kapellmeister in Vienna in 1804. He composed a large number of operas in Italian, and also Singspiele. In August 1819, while on holiday in Steyr, Schubert composed a Kantate
to celebrate the fifty-first birthday of the singer Johann Michael Vogl (D666). In the text by Albert Stadler there is the following line celebrating one of Vogl’s great operatic roles: ‘Saht des Arztes Hoffnung tagen.’ This refers to the romantic hopes of the regimental doctor in Gyrowetz’s celebrated Der Augenarzt
(1811), a work that Schubert, a great fan of Vogl’s since his youth, no doubt knew very well. Gyrowetz outlived Schubert by many years. With Schubert he was one of the pall-bearers at Beethoven’s funeral when the two composers certainly met, if they had not encountered each other on earlier occasions.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006