František Kocžwara

(c. 1750—1791) musician

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(b ?Prague, c.1750; d London, 2 Sept. 1791). Czech composer and instrumentalist. Of uncertain origins, he was one of the community of émigré musicians who made an itinerant orchestral career in Britain, playing a variety of wind and string instruments, the fortepiano, and the cittern. At the time of his death he was a double bass player at the King's Theatre. His compositions comprise mainly chamber music, including string quartets and accompanied keyboard sonatas. His contemporary reputation, however, was secured by his spectacularly successful programme sonata The Battle of Prague (c.1788) for piano, cello, and violin with drum ad lib (later arranged for solo keyboard). This work, replete with a bevy of appropriately militaristic effects, was sufficiently popular to run to some 40 editions and to sire an army of comparably noisy offspring. Kocžwara's notoriety was further advanced by the bizarre circumstances of his death, the unsuccessful conclusion of an erotic experiment.

From The Oxford Companion to Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

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