Madame Elisabeth, Antonio’s mother, gave her “little sweet Antonio” his first music lessons.


“As she herself related in her old age, she often had to sing for him [Antonio Casimir] for hours; the delicate little boy listened with great interest, and tears of joy rolled down his cheeks. He eagerly and quickly understood her instruction and soon surprised his beloved teacher with a little arietta that he himself had composed on the piano, singing it with childlike naiveté. Once, on the day before his mother’s birthday, he comes to his father with a page of music and asked him to sing it with him when Mama came back from the evening performance. He too wanted to sing along and play the piano accompaniment. His father was amazed. The boy had composed a duet and sang one voice part and played the piano accompaniment. He had completed his eight years at the time. From then on his father taught him.”

(Report of Joseph Cartellieri on the life of his father Antonio Casimir Cartellieri, 16-12-1826)

Very little is known about Cartellieri’s life and personality, although some very basic biographical information can be found in early musicological publications2. A short biography of Cartellieri has been preserved in the collection of the “Gesellschaft für Musikfreunde” in Vienna3 (see Appendix A). It was compiled on the 16th of December 1826 by Cartellieri’s eldest son, Joseph (1803-1870). The manuscript also contains an excerpt from a letter sent by Raudnitz on 8 June 1819 to Dr. Iwan with a transcription of the baptismal certificate (05/09/1800) and a shortlist of musical works by Antonio Casimir Cartellieri. Joseph Cartellieri was at the tender age of about four when his father died, so he did not witness the events, nor did he learn about them directly from his father whom he hardly remembered.  Joseph did not live in Vienna, but in Bohemia, and was at the service of the Lobkowitz family. Moreover, it couldn’t be his father’s patron, the 7th Prince Joseph Franz Maximilliam Lobkowitz (1772–1816), who provided him with the information, as he died when Joseph was only about twelve and ten years before the compilation of Antonio Cartellieri’s biography. Thus, we can expect to find errors and discrepancies in this source.


Tensions inside his family led the young Cartellieri to leave his house at the age of 14 years old (~1786). It is very probable that Salieri later became his teacher, thanks to a quadraphonic piece in the hands of his son Joseph Cartellieri: “Palmira ridotto nel IV e dedicato al maestro suo Salieri da Antonio Cartellieri” (Palmira reduced in the IV and dedicated to his teacher Salieri by Antonio Cartellieri - 1805).

Antonio Casimir Cartellieri was born on the 27th of September 1772 in Gdańsk (Danzica), Poland. His father, Antonio Cartellieri, was an Italian tenor who worked for the prince of Karolath in Śląsk (Silesia, Poland) and then for the Bishop Count von Schaffgotsch in Johannesberg. In 1783, he became Kammersänger of the Duke of Meklenburg-Sterlitz. In 1790, he worked in the Cathedral of Koningsberg in Berlin where he died soon after. Antonio Casimir’s mother, Elisabeth C., born in Riga in 1756, worked at the court of Strelitz with her husband, Antonio. She began working at the theatre for the first time in 1783 and two years later she asked for a divorce from her husband to marry an actor in Berlin named Böhm. Madame Elisabeth Böhm started to work at the national theatre in 1788 in Berlin, where she was greatly admired for the grace, purity and extraordinary dimensions of her voice. She was also very much loved as an actress. Because of her second marriage, she often wanted to make people believe that her son, Casimir, was actually born a Böhm who had taken the Italian name Cartellieri only for passion. She died around 17971.