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Ludwig Wenzel LACHNITH

1746 - 1820


Date of birth:
Date of death:

Born in Prague, Ludwig Wenzel Lachnith probably received his artistic education from his father, a church musician. He learned how to play the violin, harp and horn, then began his career in the service of the Duke of Zweibrücken in 1768. The latter gave him permission, five years later, to perform in Paris, where he delighted audiences at the Concert Spirituel with his own horn concerto. This initial success encouraged him to settle in the French capital in the early 1780s: he was then regularly featured in the programme of the Concerts de la Reine and composed various instrumental works. Before the French Revolution, which forced him to go into exile, he wrote some twenty symphonies and some twenty sonatas for harp (or piano) accompanied by the violin, as well as concertante trios and quartets. His first stage work at the Paris Opéra (L’Heureuse Réconciliation, 1785), however, was a bitter failure. Securing, on his return from exile, a position as instructeur at the Paris Opéra (which he held initially for 10 months in 1801, then for ten years from 1806), Lachnith was to make his mark on his era – and annoy audiences in the years to come – by creating pasticcio works in a bid to adapt German masterpieces to Parisian tastes and meet the demands of the French opera establishments. Although Saül (1803), La Prise de Jéricho (1805) and Le Laboureur chinois (1813) were successes, it was above all Les Mystères d’Isis (1801), a reworking of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, that earned the composer his place in the history books. His popularity until the last years of the French Restoration was matched only by the violence of the attacks that Berlioz regularly directed at this “profaner” of genius from 1830 onwards.


Les Mystères d'Isis

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART / Ludwig Wenzel LACHNITH / Étienne MOREL DE CHÉDEVILLE


Mystères d’Isis pour quatuor à cordes

Ludwig Wenzel LACHNITH / Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART

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