Paul Bryan’s meticulous research into the life and works of Johann Baptist Wanhal has revealed that much of our received wisdom concerning this great composer is not only incorrect; but has, at times, been shaped by individuals who knew little or nothing of the composer. Wanhal was in many respects the most talented of the Viennese contemporaries of Mozart and Haydn and worked highly-successfully as a freelance musician at a time when such an option was literally considered mad. Like Mozart, he tailored his output to economic realities of the day and ceased writing symphonies in the late-1770s. His fertile imagination not only created over 1300 works but also experimented in quite radical ways with musical style and structure.

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