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The Teimer Oboe Virtuosi and their patrons the Prince Schwarzenbergs of Bohemia

Making a living as oboists in late 18th century Vienna performing the premières of Mozart and Beethoven. 


Ignaz Teimer was born ca 1722 in Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary), Bohemia and died 1799 Vienna. A professional musician playing oboe, cor anglais, flute and piccolo he had three sons from his first marriage who all became oboe and cor anglais virtuosi.


Johann Teimer b 1759-1796                   Philipp Teimer b 1761-1817                     Franz Teimer b ca 1762-1796


It is known that Johann and Philipp were born in Postelberg, Bohemia.


The brothers formed an Oboe Trio whose performance of the very first official composition for the oboe trio - Petite Serenade Concertante in F major by fellow oboist and Schwarzenberg Wind Harmonie contemporary of Ignaz Teimer,  Johan Nepomuk Went (1745-1801)  is first officially recorded in December 1793.  I have presumed that Johann played 1st oboe, Franz 2nd oboe and Philipp cor anglais. We know that the life of the Teimer Brothers Oboe Trio was cut short when both Johann and Franz died within 6 months of each other in 1796. How long they played together though can only be speculated. If it can be presumed that they played together as teenagers then they would have performed together for at least 15-20 years. The time it generally takes to create chamber music performances of an enviably high and rare standard. Did Went teach the boys? Did he write the first oboe trios as chamber music in a teaching capacity? As most teacher do nowadays. 


Teimer father and sons were all employed and patronized by the Schwarzenberg family.

Prince Joseph Adam Johann Nepomuk von Schwarzenberg (1722-1782)

Prince Johann Nepomuk Anton Joseph Joachim Prokop von Schwarzenberg  (1742-1789)

Prince Joseph Johann Anton Karl von Schwarzenberg (1769-1833)







The Schwarzenberg family founded several important musical bands whose activity has been well documented within the Schwarzenberg's well-known music collection. It includes particularly the Cesky Krumlov Castle Theater (opened in 1768), Woodwind Harmonien (1771 to approximately 1802), Hunters' Band (founded in approx. 1800) and Grenade-Corps Band (from 1875). As Geheimrat (highest advising officials at the Imperial, royal or principal courts of the Holy Roman Empire) and Hofmarschall (duties included organizing the royal receptions, foreign trips and state visits and supervising the royal household), Prince Joseph Adam Johann Nepomuk Schwarzenberg was typical of the Bohemian nobility, spending at least half of every year in the Habsburg capital under the watchful eye of Maria Theresia and from 1780, her successor Kaiser Joseph II. When Prince Joseph Adam died, he was succeeded by his son Johann Nepomuk, who it appears made few organizational changes with the families musical establishment.


In July 1771 Ignaz was employed as 2nd cor anglais in the new Schwarzenberg Wind Harmonie working mainly in Vienna where the Schwarzenberg family were essentially based. He remained there until he retired in 1788. Ignaz also played the flute and piccolo and there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that he played 2nd flute and piccolo at the Freyhaus Theatre for the premiere of Mozarts ‘Die Zauberflote” in 1791, where Josef Triebensee is believed to have been playing 2nd oboe which explains why the 2nd oboe part is quite technically demanding.  

In 1778, Johann Teimer the eldest son entered the service of Cardinal Prince Joseph Batthyány in Pressburg (Bratislava) along with his teenage brother Philipp. However, it is believed that in 1782 Philipp then went to work for Prince Schwarzenberg as the purchase of a new oboe for him is noted in their accounts, along with the reed stipend following in 1783. It is noted that Johan Went (1745-1801) left the Schwarzenbergs employment in the same year to take up the position of 2nd Oboe at the Burg Theatre and Imperial HofKapelle with Georg Triebensee playing 1st Oboe. So it can be presumed that his position at the Schwarzenbergs was taken over by Phillip Teimer.  In January 1785 Johann Teimer joined Philipp to play for Prince Schwarzenberg probably taking over from Georg Triebensee.


Most Viennese Harmonien used clarinets but the Bohemians at the time favoured the cor anglais, and this I believe is due to the fact that the Schwarzenberg's were keen boar hunters and probably employed oboe de caccia along with  corne de caccia in their Hunting Band. Therefore the transition to adopting  the newly formed (in Silesia 1720) cor anglais was a more natural transition.


“In 1767, the oboists Jan Šlechta and Georg Triebensee entered Schwarzenberg’s service and were trained by Joseph Mayer, a musician at the imperial court theatre. Šlechta left after two years in 1769 and Ludwig Partl took his place. In July 1771, two English horn players entered service, Jan Went and Ignaz Teimer. These eight musicians formed the ‘Harmoniekapelle’ (2 oboes, 2 English horns, 2 bassoons, 2 French horns), which represents a pinnacle in the history” 

It is believed that Phillip* and Ignaz**  played the cor anglais parts whilst Johann and Franz played the oboe parts.

* In February 1793 Phillip became a member of the Tonkünstler-Societät, listing himself as a cor anglais player.

**In December 1779, it is recorded in the Schwarzenberg accounts that Ignaz received an allowance of 6 Gulden to have three dozen cor anglais reeds made by Andras Buchberg.

Franz, the middle brother, does not appear in the available Schwarzenberg documents until January 1789, when he received presumably his first reed stipend. It is presumed he took over from Ludwig Partl.


During this period, as well, Johann Teimer  began his association with the Imperial Court musical establishment in Vienna. At some time between March 1784 and February 1785, he substituted as second oboist when Johann Wenth was ill, and was paid a total of 3 Gulden (probably representing 3 services at 1 Gulden each).

By 1788, with the Teimer family resident in Vienna, the three brothers whilst evidently maintaining at least some affiliation with the Schwarzenberg household, appear to have established a strong reputation for themselves amongst Viennese musical circles.


After the death of Prince Johann Nepomuk Schwarzenberg on November 6 1789, the new reigning Prince Joseph Johann Nepomuk Anton Karl, who was married to Marie Therèse Lichtenstein, appears to have reduced the household’s musical commitment to just the full-time Harmonien consisting of 2 oboes, 2 cor anglais, 2 horns, and 2 bassoons.  As time progressed, Schwarzenberg seemingly lessened his full-time commitment even to these musicians, and there is some indication that Johann Teimer worked at least part-time for Prince Lichtenstein (for whom Josef Triebensee worked) - probably largely in Vienna - in 1791.


During July-October of 1791, records show Johann Teimer earning 96 Gulden working for the Viennese Imperial family,  at Laxenburg, their pleasure palace 15 km south of Vienna,  in Vienna, and then in September and October probably at the Burg Theater and in the Imperial Harmonie as a substitute for first oboist Georg Triebensee (1746-1813), who was ill. He then began playing principal oboe at Vienna’s Kärntnertor Theater, which re-opened on a limited basis in November 1791. The German opera at the Kärntnertor Theater was closed down when Joseph II marched against the Turks in February 1788. With fewer opportunities for German musical theater available to the populace, the Freyhaus Theater auf der Wieden, now under the direction of Emanuel Schikaneder, began to present more musically sophisticated fare, and mounted a production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail on April 30 and May 1, 1789. Both Johann Teimer and second oboist Ludwig Partl received a salary of 25 Gulden per month, but their season only lasted through February 1792. In 1793 there was also mention of another prominent oboist Stephan Fichtner (1765-1820) in the Court Theatre payroll.


In this historical context, the three Teimer brothers played on one of the regular Christmas-season benefit concerts of the Tonkünstler-Societät, held in the Burg Theater on December 23, 1793. The “new Oboe Trio”  Petite Serenade Concertante in F major *** by the Burg Theater’s much-respected second oboist Johann Wenth, was composed specifically for the now highly regarded family Trio.

*** The Lonarc Oboe Trio have made the first professional recording of this presumably first classical Oboe Trio. 

Franz Anton Hoffmeister (1754-1812) reputedly composed “concerted trios” for them, possibly identical with the unidentified “Concerto a tre” that the brothers played on the benefit concert of contrabassist Johann Nepomuk Zehentner in February 1793.  


Such an ensemble must have attracted the attention of the young Beethoven, who had arrived in Vienna in November 1792 to study with Haydn and Antonio Salieri. Indeed, while Haydn was in London for his second journey there, Salieri provided Beethoven his first public appearance in Vienna, playing a “new” Piano Concerto (probably No. 2 in B-flat, Op. 19) in between works by Salieri’s promising pupil Antonio Cartellieri at one of the Tonkünstler-Societät’s Easter benefit concerts on March 29 1795. If he had not done so beforehand, Beethoven surely wrote the Oboe Trio Op. 87, and the Variations on “Là ci darem la mano” for the Teimer brothers within the next year or so, and copies of both works seemingly remained in Philipp Teimer’s hands until July 1799. The brothers probably played them with pleasure on several private occasions in Prince Schwarzenberg’s two palaces and elsewhere, about which we have no surviving records, simply because such performances generally went undocumented unless diarists such as Count Karl Zinzendorf or Joseph Carl Rosenbaum were present to note them for themselves and, ultimately, for posterity.

1793-96 Johann Teimer and Joseph Triebensee (son of Georg, and replacement for Ludwig Partl) were the oboists at the Kärntnertor Theater’s orchestra and Georg Triebensee and Johann Went were at the Burg Theater, which was the more prestigeous and busier of the two establishments being the Imperial Opera Theater. Georg Triebensee and Johann Wenth were paid a regular salary of 400 Gulden each, while Johann Teimer and Joseph Triebensee were each paid 166 Gulden 40 Kreuzer. By 1794-1795, the two theaters were somewhat nearer a par with Georg Triebensee and Johann Wenth each receiving an annual salary of 400 Gulden, while, at the Kärntnertor Theater, Johann Teimer received 300 Gulden, but Joseph Czerwenka (1759-1835),   for some reason received only 250. In April 1794 Joseph Triebensee resigned as 2nd Oboe and was replaced in May by Joseph Czerwenka.


By March 1795, Philipp had embarked on an additional career as a singer and reputedly had a sonorous and wide-ranging bass voice. While an orchestral instrumentalist at one of Vienna’s theaters could earn between 150 and perhaps 600 Gulden a year (in an economy where ca. 500-600 Gulden might constitute a middle-class income), a solo singer, with the same degree of training and with a public following, could earn considerably more. At the Tonkünstler-Societät’s benefit concert of December 22 1795, bass Carl Stengel (born 1760) performed an aria of his own composition, accompanied by the Teimer brothers on oboe and cor anglais. As such, this is the last documented appearance of the brothers performing together in public, because on May 15 1796, Franz, still single, died of dropsy aged 33. At the time, he was living in one of the buildings in the Rennweg, associated with Prince Schwarzenberg’s summer palace in the suburb of Landstraße. For taxation purposes, he owned nothing of value; even his clothing belonged to Prince Schwarzenberg.


Then the unthinkable happened: exactly three months later, on August 15 1796, Johann died of bronchitis aged 37. In addition to his wife Anna, he left three young children: Maria Anna 7,  Johanna 4 and Joseph 1.  Johann’s estate contained no taxable cash, and otherwise consisted of clothing valued at 35 Gulden 8 Kreuzer, plus a small golden pocket watch valued at 16 Gulden. The remaining meager household furnishings were noted as property of the widow, and the costs of Johann’s funeral were covered by Prince Schwarzenberg’s establishment. After August 1, his widow Anna, as was the custom, collected his final quarterly salary of 75 Gulden from the Court Theaters.


All of a sudden, the three Teimer Brothers were now just one - Philipp.


On December 23, 1797, Philipp made his final appearance on a Tonkünstler-Societät benefit concert, playing cor anglais in Beethoven’s Variations on “Là ci darem la mano,” joined by Joseph Czerwenka (1759-1835), who had replaced Johann Teimer as principal oboist at the Kärntnertor Theater and a certain Heinrich Reuther (ca1776-1843), also in the Schwarzenberg employ, on oboes. This single documented performance of the Variations during Beethoven’s lifetime was surely not its first. But it is the last documented performance that we have of Philipp’s playing any trio for two oboes and cor anglais. We did not find an urtext copy of these variations in the Schwarzenberg library at Cesky Krumlov last year (2018) and so I am wondering if these variations were a gift to the Teimer brothers or in fact were commissioned by them. 


The Teimer Brothers Oboe Trio was no more.

Philipp it must be presumed chose not to perform the repertoire again without his brothers, as he did remain in Vienna performing the cor anglais in Schiknaeder’s opera house in Vienna where he also sang some roles with company due to his sonorous bass voice. Many important cor anglais parts were specially written for him by: Stengel, Süssmayr, Paer, Peter von Winter, Weigl, Eberl, Eybler, Salieri, Hummel, Schact and Fisher. In 1807 at the Theater an der Wien, he played two big parts for cor anglais by Fisher and Hummel in his benefit concert.  He stayed in the orchestra until his death in 1812. 

I have found myself thinking that the music for cor anglais composed by the19th century Italian operatic composers  Donizetti, Rossini, Bellini, Verdi  and Pasculi  came about due to the influence of Phillip Teimer. I am therefore very interested to look at these cor anglais solo parts composed for Phillip Teimer1797-1812.

By July 1799, at the time of the ensemble’s dissolution, the library of Prince Schwarzenberg’s octet Harmonien included Oboe Trios by Johann Wenth, Joseph Triebensee, Franz Krommer, Anton Wranitzky, Beethoven, and Peter Hochmayer (another local oboist/composer)Except we didn't find this Hochmayer trio - just another Trio in C major apparently by Went as it was in the folder with his other trios - though we will investigate this further before definitely attributing this newly discovered trio to Went. While Went and Triebensee possibly wrote with themselves and their immediate colleagues in mind, I feel very strongly that the other composers represented here all wrote primarily for the Teimer Brothers.  Principally as Phillip was possibly the only cor anglais player apart from Went who could play the parts. These Oboe Trios, being present in the Schwarzenberg library, implies strongly that the Schwarzenberg’s also commissioned these works.



Transcribed using invaluable historical information collected by the highly esteemed musicologist and Beethoven scholar   Dr Theodore Albrecht,

His research into the Teimer Brothers has shed light on the origins of the classical oboe trio and its incredibly rich beginnings.


I also referred to  ‘Our Oboist Ancestors’ by James Brown to clarify the dates of some of the oboist mentioned and to Jana Francova's thesis.  My sincere respect and thanks for all the long research hours that must have been undertaken to forage for this information.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                       Judy Proctor July 2019




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