|Johann Stamitz. |
As important a composer as he is, his achievements were made possible by the largesse of his employer, the ruler of Mannheim, Prince-Elector Karl Theodore (1724-1799). A passionate music lover, he allowed Stamitz to expand the Mannheim Orchestra to 60 members, the largest of any German state at that time. He hired the best musicians available, paid them well and gave them pensions when they retired. Under these circumstances, the perfectionist standards created by Stamitz were maintained for decades after his death. (At one point a young Mozart was eager to secure a job with them). Mannheim's glory days as a musical Mecca ended in 1778, when Karl Theodore succeeded to the Bavarian throne and took the orchestra with him to Munich.