Frantisek Xaver Thomas Pokorny

Frantia¡ek Xaver (Thomas) Pokorny (20/12/1729 - 02/07/1794), a Bohemian composer and violinist. The name Pokorny is not uncommon in Bohemia and not uncommon among musicians, perhaps through its connotations with modest humility. Frantia¡ek Xaver Pokorny was born at Mies in 1729. He studied first at Regensburg, before becoming a pupil of Johann Stamitz, Franz Xaver Richter and Ignaz Holzbauer, his Bohemian fellow-countrymen, in Mannheim, through the patronage of Count Philipp Karl Oettingen-Wallerstein. From 1766 he was in the service of the Princes von Thurn und Taxis in Regensburg. It is thought that the horn virtuoso Beate Pokorny may have been his sister. His compositions include some 100 symphonies, not all of which can be authenticated, and three concertos for two horns.

Frantisek Xaver Thomas Pokorny may have been related to some other Bohemian musicians of the same surname. But as it is a very common name (literally meaning "humble") it is difficult to prove any such connections. In particular, there seems to be no connection between him and Frantisek Xaver Jan Pokorny (1797 - 1850). This Franz Xaver studied in Regensburg with Riepel. Count Philipp Karl of Oettingen-Wallerstein sent him to study with Johann Stamitz, Richter, and Holzbauer in the major musical center of Mannheim. The Count ordered him back in 1754 because he was short of musicians. The Count evidently promised Pokorny the position of choral director. The Count did not keep this promise, even when Pokorny petitioned him for it in 1766. Pokorny might have been fed up by now, for he sent what we would call a job application that year to the court of Thurn and Taxis at Regensburg. He was admitted as a member of the royal Kapelle that year, and evidently stayed there; his tombstone records that he was a musician of the royal chamber. There are difficulties in the attribution of music to Pokorny. Over 100 symphonies have been credited to him, of which as many of 57 are the subjects of disputes as to who really wrote them. The symphonies attributed to him are usually four-movement works for strings, two flutes, and two horns, with occasional use of clarinets, oboes, timpani, and trumpets. The melodies are in a popular style, and he tends to use sequential repetition in place of real symphonic development. His son Bonifaz (Franz Xaver Karl, 1757 - 1789) was an organist and priest. He also composed, but none of his music survives. Another son, Joseph Franz, was evidently a minor musician. Beate Pokorny, a horn virtuosa who was very popular in Paris' Concerts Spirituels in the 1780s, was not Pokorny's daughter, but may have been his sister.

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
18th Cent. Horn Concerto in D 4.00 stars CD
Hermann Baumann - Horn
Gewandhaus Orchestra cond. Kurt Masur