Apr 21, 2014

Ditters von Dittersdorf's First Names

Johann Hieronymus Löschenkohl: Carolus Ditters a Dittersdorf (Wien Museum, I.N. 213803)

Wikipedia steadfastly holds on to addressing Ditters von Dittersdorf with a wrong first name. Concerning the composer's origin (as of April 2014), we read the following on Wikipedia:
Dittersdorf was born in the Laimgrube (now Mariahilf) district of Vienna, Austria, as August Carl Ditters. His father was a military tailor in the Austrian Imperial Army of Charles VI, for a number of German-speaking regiments.
Two things are amiss here. Ditters was not named "August Carl" and his father was not a military tailor.

Dittersdorf's father, the silk embroiderer Franz Paul Diters, was born around 1695, in  Lublin. On June 9th, 16th, and 23rd of 1725, the banns for his wedding were published at the church of St. Michael's in Vienna. The documents concerning Franz Diter's wedding were first published in 1997 by Walther Brauneis ("Die Familie Ditters in Wien und Umgebung". Kongressbericht "Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf Leben - Umwelt — Werk". Eichstätter Abhandlungen zur Musikwissenschaft. Tutzing 1997), but since this edition is fragmentary and fraught with mistakes, I hereby present correct transcriptions of these sources.
Eodem. [9 Junius 1725]                                         +.
Der Herr Paul Frantz Diters ein Seither zu Lublin in Polen / gebürtig. Deß Johann Fridrich Diters, undt Mariæ Hedwig beder / seel[ig] ehelicher Sohnn in Guld[enen] Ochs[en] beÿ Maria Hilf wonhaft. / nimbt Zur Eh die Jungfrau Anna[m] Mariam Klimpfingerin in der wiennerischen Neÿstatt gebürtig, deß Paul Klimpf= / inger, undt Annæ Mariæ seel[ig] beeder ehliche Tochter in / dem 7 Churfürste[n] auf dem Spidelberg wonhaft
                                       1     2     3.                          Sponsa extra
Tes:[tes] H[err] Johann Borian ein Hofbefreiter Goldtstikher, undt / H[err] Bartholomæus du Bouis, ein bürgerlicher Goldspiner.


Mr. Paul Franz Diters, a silk maker, born in Lublin in Poland, legitimate son of Friedrich Diters and Maria Hedwig, both deceased, living at the Golden Ox in Mariahilf is taking as wedded wife the maiden Anna Maria Klimpfinger, born in Wiener Neustadt, legitimate daughter of Paul and Anna Maria Klimpfinger, both deceased, living at The Seven Electors on the Spittelberg.                   The bride lives outside the parish.
Witnesses: Mr. Johann Borian, a gold embroiderer exempted by the Court, and Mr. Bartholomäus du Bois, a civil gold embroiderer.
The entry concerning the three publications of the banns for the wedding of Ditters von Dittersdorf's parents in June 1725. (A-Wstm, Verkündbuch 17, p. 67). Brauneis thought that he was the first to identify Franz Paul Diters's place of birth, but the fact that Diters hailed from Lublin had already been published in 1908 by Alexander Hajdecki (Quellen zur Geschichte der Stadt Wien, Vienna, 1908, 8832).

The long gone house "The Golden Ox" in Mariahilf (today Stiftgasse 5) where Franz Paul Diters lived at the time of his wedding in 1725 (Wien Museum, I.N. 24885/1).

Franz Paul Diters's wedding took place on 26 June 1725, in the bride's parish church of St. Ulrich.
Eode[m]. [9 Junius 1725]                     +.
H[err] Paulus Franciscus Titers Ledig:[en] / standts gold und berlstücker Wonhaft / in S: Michaels Pfarr gebürtig aus Poln von / Lublin nimbt zur Ehe die Ehrn tugentsame / Jungfr[au] Anna[m] Maria[m] Klimpfingerin / Wonhaft in 7 Curfürsten am Spittl berg gebür:[tig] / aus der Neustatt Weÿ:[land] des H[errn] Paul Klimpfing[er] / und Anna seiner Ehewürthin beeder sel: erzeugte / Tochter Cop:[ulatus est] den 26t[en] dito
                                                A R:[everendo] P:[atre] Benno
Zum 1 Mahl / Test:[es] H:[err] Joann Burian Gold / und Perlsticker H: Bartholomæ / Tubois bürg[erlicher] goldspiner

The entry concerning the wedding of Ditters von Dittersdorf's parents on 26 June 1725 (St. Ulrich, Tom. 15, fol. 67r). Paul Diters's best man, the embroiderer Johann Burian (or Borian), was born around 1668 in Bilina. He died on 22 June 1732 (Wienerisches Diarium, 25 June 1732). The other witness, the gold sticker Bartholomäus Dubois, was born around 1670 in Lyon. Brauneis's transcription of the first paragraph of this document just ends after the word "Neustatt", because he obviously could not unriddle the word "Weÿ[land]".

The false information that Franz Paul Diters was a "military tailor" seems to be based on the account that his son gave in 1773, when he applied to the Empress for a predicate of nobility, a story he was to repeat in his autobiography. As far as the merits of his ancestors were concerned – an issue that was considered rather important – Ditters had not much to show. Therefore he had to exaggerate his father's military achievements, a procedure which resembled that of Johann Heinrich Schmelzer, who, in his petition for ennoblement, presented his father as a hero of the Thirty Years' War, while all that could be proved so far is the fact that Daniel Schmelzer was a baker in Scheibbs. Ditters described his father as having been an artillery lieutenant colonel of the Austrian army who "not only held this rank until the end of his life", but also "on the occasion of the unrest in Bavaria, went into battle, attesting to his unfailing loyalty to the crown by risking his property and his blood for his country". This military activity must have taken place in 1705, when Paul Diters was not yet working as tailor, much less as silk embroiderer. As a matter of fact, Paul Diters was just a gold and pearl embroiderer. In 1735, he successfully applied to the Court for an unpaid honorary post as "k.k. Theatral-Sticker", i.e. an I. & R. embroiderer of stage costumes.

Ditters von Dittersorf's coat of arms as officially approved by the Obersthofmarschallamt in 1773 in his certificate of nobilitation (ÖSTA, AVA, Adel, Dittersdorf, 5.VI.1773). The blue and yellow chess board behind the swan was expressedly requested by the applicant. Ditters was not ennobled because of his musical merits. He had to apply for a title of nobility, because he needed it to be appointed Amtshauptmann in Freiwaldau. Since his employer, the Prince-Bishop of Breslau, paid 400 gulden of the (halved) nobility tax, Ditters only had to pay 700 gulden for his title. Dittersdorf died a poor man, because after the death of his employer in 1795, he received an annual pension of only 500 gulden.

Carl Ditters was the ninth (not the seventh as given by Brauneis) of eleven (not ten) children of whom five reached adulthood, and only two (the composer and his youngest sister Johanna Gambs) were still alive after January 1784. He was born on 2 November 1739, in the so-called Freihaus auf der Laimgrube and baptized not "August Carl", but Johann Carl in St. Michael's which, until 1783, was the parish church of the suburbs Laimgrube and Mariahilf. The child received its first name Johann from his godfather Johann Baptist Vanderlin (or Vanderlehn) who also was a silk embroiderer. Johanna Vanderlin died a widow on 13 May 1754 (Wienerisches Diarium, 15 May 1754).
Diters. Jo[ann]es Carolus, ex P[at]re Paulo Diters, et Anna M[a]r[i]a 2. [Novembris] / ejus Cons:[orte] |: kaÿ:[serlicher] Theatral Sticker in Freÿhauß :| Patr:[inus] / Jo[ann]es Baptista Vandelin, cum Johanna ejus Cons:[orte] obst.[etrix] / [Justina] Christin [baptizatus erat] a D:[omino] Franc:[isco] Josepho. (A-Wstm, Tom. 11, 683)
Johann Carl Diters's baptismal entry. Walther Brauneis's publication of this document is not only incomplete (already ending after the word "Freÿhauß"), but also flawed (mistranscribing "ejus" as "cjg"). The information in Margaret H. Grave's article in New Grove that Diters's mother was a "née Vandelin" is obviously based on a gross misreading of this document.

Ditters von Dittersdorf's birthplace, the Freihaus auf der Laimgrube with its upper and lower part in 1778 on Huber's map. The street going up on the right is today's Mariahilferstraße, the one in front of the building is today's Rahlgasse. Both parts of the Freihaus were torn down in 1896. Note that the free area towards the city is called "Getraidt Markt" (grain market) (W-Waw, Sammlung Woldan).

According to an inscription above the entrance of the Freihaus, this building had once belonged to the parish of St. Theobald whose church had existed (in various sizes) on the Laimgrube from 1343 until 1683. This inscription on the "Kornhaus" (as the locals called it) was adorned by paintings of St. Theobald and St. Florian consisted of the following chronogram:
D. TheobaLDI ParoChIaLes aeDes.
Rectory of St. Theobald's [built in 1652]
On the occasion of the death of three of Ditters's siblings (Nos. 4, 5, and 8) in 1733 and 1738, the death records refer to the Freihaus as "beÿ St. Theobald auf der Laimbgrueben". The fact that in the eighteenth century the Oberes Freihaus housed the parish school makes it very likely that Ditters was born in the upper wing of the building (today Mariahilferstraße 1B).

The Oberes (No. 23 on the right) and the Unteres (No. 24 on the left) Freihaus on the Laimgrube. The stairs in the foreground are the predecessor of the Rahlstiege. In the area of the small garden in front of No. 23 in 1830 Dominik Casapiccola (b. 1800 in Bergamo) built his legendary coffee house named "Casa Piccola" (W-Waw, Sammlung Woldan).

The section with the prominent baroque pediment that can be seen in the middle of the above picture was a former granary. The place in front of the Unteres Freihaus – also called "Goldene Metzen" ("The Golden Measure") – once was a grain market (hence there is still an adjacent street of that name). There are two photographs of Dittersdorf's place of birth, and the reason these pictures were taken in 1890 seems to have been Dominik Casapiccola's coffeehouse.

Ditters von Dittersdorf's place of birth: the old Freihaus behind the coffeehouse "Casa Piccola" at the corner of Rahlgasse and Mariahilferstraße in 1890 (A-Wn, 80.399C). Here is a postcard showing the same view ten years later.

On the above photograph the following buildings (from left to right) are visible: the house Mariahilferstraße 1A, a part of the Unteres Freihaus (with the Gänsemädchenbrunnen atop the Rahlstiege in front of it), the old granary of the Freihaus with its baroque facade and pediment, the Casa Piccola coffeehouse (located on the former garden area), a part of the old Oberes Freihaus (with a slightly modified roof) and the corner of the Imperial Stables (the future "Messepalast").

A view from the Getreidemarkt towards the old granary and the Casa Piccola in front of the Freihaus from 1848 (A-Wst, Blaschke, Alt-Wiener Ansichten 52)

The beginning of the Mariahilfer Straße (on the right) with the Casa Piccola and the old granary on Leopold Weiß's "Rundansicht der Stadt Wien", taken from the Stephansturm in 1860 (Wien Museum, I.N. 19540/7)

A view from the Rahlgasse towards the "Casa Piccola" and the Rahlstiege. A part of he Unteres Freihaus with the former granary can be seen on the left. This picture was taken around 1890. Here is today's view on the Rahlstiege.

The same area today

The composer's father Paul Franz Ditters died on 9 March 1755, at the age of 60 of "Därm-Brand" (intestinal gangrene) in the "Lamotisches Hauß in Rosengässel" (today Rosengasse 3).

"Ditters, Paul, bürg:[erlicher] Sticker, in Lamot:[ischen] Hauß / in Rosengässel Abends vor. 6. Uhr an / Därm - Brand versch:[ieden] alt 60. Jahr." (A-Wsa, Totenbeschreibamt 50, DT, fol. 20r). Brauneis misread "versch:" as "besch[aut]" and "60" as "68".

Maria Anna Ditters died on 6 June (not 4 June as given by Brauneis) 1757, at the age of 59, of "innerlicher Brand" (internal gangrene) in the "Hof Klampferisches Haus, am Pauler=Thor" (Stadt 581/607/567, today Tuchlauben 2).

"Titesin Maria Anna, bürg[erliche] Stückers=Wittib, in / Hof Klampferisch[en] Haus, am Pauler = Thor. / vor Mittag, um 9 Uhr, an Inner[lichem] Brand / versch, alt 56[sic!] Jahr." (A-Wsa, Totenbeschreibamt 51, DT, fol. 31r)

Johann Carl Ditters – as of 5 June 1773 "von Dittersdorf" – had the following ten siblings (with their birthplaces and godparents in brackets).
  1. Johanna Catharina Theresia, b. 24 May 1726 [St. Ulrich 19, fol. 218r], d. 25 June 1726 of "Därmfrais" ("in 7 Curfürst[en]", Maria Catharina Angerer, substituted by Theresia Kellner).
  2. Leopold Johann Paul, b. 25 January 1728 [St. Ulrich 19, fol. 382v], d. 17 November 1728 of "Zahnkathar" ("in 7 Curfirsten", Leopold Angerer "Bauschreiber" [building clerk] and his wife Catharina, substituted by the chamberlain Johann Bierzoll).
  3. Franz Joseph Philipp Leopold, b. 2 May 1729 [St. Ulrich 20, fol. 84r], d. 26 September 1729 of "Zahnfrais" ("in 7 Churfirsten", Leopold Angerer filius and his mother Catharina, [this child was overlooked by Walther Brauneis]).
  4. Johanna Francisca, b. 8 May 1730 [A-Wstm, Tom. 9, 603], d. 15 September 1733 of "Hectica" (hectic fever) ("apud S: Theobaldu in Fossa Limi" [referring to the Freihaus as former rectory of St. Theobald's], Johanna Vanderlin and her husband Franz[!], an embroiderer)
  5. Leopold Eugen, b. 19 November 1732 [A-Wstm, Tom. 10, 296], d. 6 June 1733 of "Frais" ("in Beviisch[en] Hauß in Fossalimi" [a house, bought by The City of Vienna in 1714 from Johann Baptist Bevier von Freyridt which was located at what today is the area of the building Getreidemarkt 1], Leopold Angerer "Kays: Bau Material Verwalter" ["Imperial administrator of building material"] and his wife Catharina).
  6. Joseph Jacob Franz de Paula, b. 19 March 1734 [A-Wstm, Tom. 11. 28], d. 2 January 1771 of "Lunglsucht" (tuberculosis) ("Freÿhauß auf der Laimbgruben", Jacob Lispauer "ex Hospitali Civico" [a charitable appointment of an inmate of a poorhouse as godfather, a custom that was popular among members of the highest nobility and people of deep Christian faith]). Until 1761, Joseph Ditters was also a violinist in Prince of Saxe-Hildburghausen's orchestra.
  7. Maria Anna Johanna, b. 10 December 1736 [A-Wstm, Tom. 11. 358], became a chambermaid with Countess Saint Julien and died of tuberculosis on 28 January 1784 (Wiener Zeitung, 4 February 1784, 232), ("im Befischen Haus od Freÿhauß", Joanna v Terlingin [i.e. Johanna Vanderlin] ). The Ditters child, given as "Katharina" by Brauneis in one of his footnotes, is a hallucination.
  8. Franz Joseph, b. 6 March 1738 [A-Wstm, Tom. 11, 495], d. 13 May 1738 of "Frais" ("auf der Laimbgrub[en] in Freÿhauß", Joseph Franz Schober).
  9. Georg Alexander, b. 26 February 1742 [A-Wd, Tom. 73. fol. 204v], d. 24 September 1764 [A-Wsa, Totenbeschreibamt 58, DT, fol. 24v] of "Lunglsucht" (at the "Grüner Stiefel" in the Josephstadt [today Josefstädter Straße 24], Johann Georg Foschler "Königl Hof-Krepinmacher" [Royal Court braid maker]). Until 1761, Alexander Ditters was also a violinist in Prince of Saxe-Hildburghausen's orchestra. Until his death, he was employed in the orchestra of the Burgtheater.
  10. Maria Anna Johanna, b. 24 May 1743 [A-Wstm, Tom. 12. 355], d. after 1799 ("in Freÿhauß", Maria Anna Foschler and her husband Johann Georg, "Obst: Xtin" [i.e. the midwife was Justina Christin as above]). Johanna Ditters was married to Paul Friedrich Gambs, chancellor and government director of Count Phillipp Gotthard von Schaffgotsch

Title page of a booklet (of which the only known copy is in the library of the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome) in which Dittersdorf explains the programmatic content of the first six Metamorphoses Symphonies (from John Rice: "New Light on Dittersdorf's Ovid Symphonies", Studi musicali 29 [2000], 453–98).

© Dr. Michael Lorenz 2014. All rights reserved.

Updated: 14 November 2021