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Ignaz Fränzl

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Ignaz Fränzl (3 June 1736 – 6 September 1811 (buried)) was a German violinist, composer and representative of the second generation of the so-called Mannheim School. Mozart who heard him at a concert in November 1777 wrote of him in a letter to his father: He may not be a sorcerer, but he is a very solid violinist indeed. Fränzl carried the Mannheim violin technique, established by Johann Stamitz, one step further to real virtuosity. Mozart, quite a good violinist himself and thoroughly acquainted with the instrument, praised Fränzl's double trill and said he had never heard a better one.
Ignaz Fränzl was born and died in Mannheim, and entered the Mannheim court orchestra in 1747 as a violinist, probably as a scholar (i.e. apprentice) similar to Christian Cannabich, another composer-violinist of the Mannheim school. In the personnel list of 1756 he is documented as a first violinist together with Cannabich and Carlo Giuseppe Toeschi. As was the case with many of his colleagues of the Mannheim court orchestra, Fränzl also travelled to Paris on a few occasions where he performed at the Concert Spirituel. In 1774 he was promoted to concertmaster, a position which he kept until most of the court orchestra was transferred to Munich in 1778.
He was also active as a violin teacher. His most notable pupils were his own son, Ferdinand Fränzl, Pierre Noël Gervais, Paul Anton Winnberger, and Friedrich Wilhelm Pixis (II), brother of the more famous piano virtuoso Johann Peter Pixis.
Contrary to the majority of the other members of the court orchestra, Fränzl did not relocate to Munich but chose to stay in Mannheim where he became music director of the court theatre, a position which he held until 1804.
Mozart heard Fränzl play a violin concerto on 22 November 1777. The concert probably took place in the Rittersaal (Knight’s hall) of the Mannheim Palace. Mozart wrote home to his father on the same evening:
The Concerto for Violin and Piano, K. 315f, was written for him and Mozart to play, but was never completed due to Mozart's departure from Mannheim in December 1778.
Fellow violinist and composer Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, an almost exact contemporary of Fränzl, heard him play in Vienna in 1787 and judged him to be one of the best violinists of his generation:
Most of Fränzl's works were first published in Paris. The whole body of his work is rather small. It comprises about two dozen works, all of them instrumental.