Casimir Anton Cartellieri was born in Danzig
on 27 September 1772. His father,
an Italian, had been a tenor singer
at the Carolath1 court
in Silesia in his youth and then at the court
of Bishop and Count v. Schafgotsch in Jonnanensberg.
Later, in 1783, he was a chamber singer of the Duke Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
From there he went to Berlin,
and his last post was at the Konigsberg Cathedral.
His wife Elisabeth, a native of the electorate,
was devoted to heart and soul to her little sweet Antonio.
She herself gave his first,
playful instruction in the art to which
he would later dedicate his life. As she herself
related in her old age, she often
had to sing for him for hours; the delicate little boy
listened with great interest,
and tear 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 naivetè.
Once, on the day before his mother’s name day,
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.
But he did not long enjoy the nurturing
atmosphere of his parents’ home. Misunderstandings
between the two upset the sensitive boy led him to decide
to leave them. Before they could do anything about it,
he was already gone. It is unknown
where he may have wondered
about at the time;
he was barely fourteen years old
and did not have a thorough command of German.
He himself never had anything to say
about the topic during his later years.
It is highly likely that Salieri became his teacher
because of a quadrophonic arrangement in the possession
of his son Joseph Cartellieri
has this superscription
in his hand: “Palmira ridotto nel
IV e dedicate al maestro suo Salieri da
Antonio Cartellieri”. He probably began
his service to Polish Count Oborsky,
a great patron of the arts,
already in 1791 and served him
as a composer and music director.
During the stay of this count in Vienna,
he studied the strict compositional style
under Albrechtsberger’s direction and with strenuous diligence.
It was here that he made the acquaintance of that
unforgettable friend of music, His Highness
Prince Joseph v. Lobkowitz, at an
academy presented by Oborsky. Cartellieri
conducted his Symphony in C minor. The amazed
prince immediately asked Oborsky for his services;
Oborsky was unhappy to lose him.
It was thus that Cartellieri became the music director
of this great patron of all fine arts in 1796.
As is well know, his court was gathering place for all the artists, and it was
there that Cartellieri made the acquittance
of all the famous composers and virtuosos,
and his intellect found continuous stimulation.
The prince had operas performed in Vienna
as well as at his castles in Raudnitz2 and Eisenberg3
in Bohemia, and thus Cartellieri always
had a heavy workload
as a composer and director.
In 1803 he married Franziska Kraft,
the daughter of Anton Kraft, the famous Lobkowitz violoncellist.
She bore him three sons: the eldest,
Joseph Cartellieri, is currently,
in 1826, the Lobkowitz music
director of the Loreto Orchestra
in Prague, the second has a carrier
in economics, and the youngest
is studying medicine.
Cartellieri was often ill during the last years.
His strenuous, restless work pace
had ruined his health,
and here a hurtful
disharmony with one of his colleagues
may have contributed its part.
His wife and the prince himself
had been concerned
about accompanying (1807)
the prince from the Eisenberg Castle
to Raudnitz, his illness broke out
with an uncommon force. He had no strength left in him
when he was taken to
Liebshausen, (a village under the prince’s jurisdiction about
four miles from Eisenberg). He longed
for his wife, his mother,
who had been living with the family
since he had obtained his appointment, and children,
who were following in the count’s traveling party,
but, by the time they had caught up,
he was already dead.
He died on 2 September 1807 at the age of thirty-four.
His widow lives in Prague on a pension
from the generous prince.
His son, Joseph Cartellieri,
communicated this news to
the secretary of the Gesellschaft
on December 16, 1826, and added
the following list of the late father's
compositions with the comment that
the list was probably not complete
and that perhaps his father's other works
might also have been known.