JBWA remembers Michaela Freemanová

Michaela Freemanová, who had had a crucial role in research work done by the Johan Baptist Wanhal Association, died 15 June this year. She will be missed dearly by us all. Paul Bryan, honorary president of the Association, wrote the following piece in her honour:

Michaela Kopecká and Michaela Freemanová: I have known you as both, but met you only a single time – in Prague in 1984.

The internet, in its impersonal way, reminds me and the world about your many accomplishments as a scholar and producer in Prague which to me is still Czechoslovakia, where you were born and which is the land I knew.

I came to know you through correspondence mostly about my man, J. B. Wanhal and his milieu. The most recent letters were sent by email and had to do with our agreement that he was indeed Wanhal and that we were mutually concerned for the success of the JBWA whose members promote his interests and study the man and his music.

I especially treasure our old-time letters with ink-written personal signatures whose envelopes I still have. They concerned projects of mutual concern like which of Wanhal’s symphonies were at Kuks and the watermarks in Czech papers about which there was to be a conference that I wanted to attend and you sent me the information I needed to get there. You, yourself, were planning to attend. But I didn’t succeed.

The most important letters delivered in 2006 clarified my confusion about your husband who was not Daniel but David. And I had only recently “met” and really bonded with him. At about the same time I sent you a card with a picture of two cute little love birds and a little congratulatory message. Within a few days I heard that he had been seriously ill and, in fact, had died. Your immediate gracious answer to my agonized letter comforted me wonderfully. It jumped out of your letter into my heart as you told about him and his death. It revealed you as a warm, charming and thoughtful person who was also a world-respected scholar.

I eagerly anticipate meeting both of you along with other departed beloved friends like Joe and Mlada Rut and Alex Weinmann as we enjoy each other’s company – and observe our JBWA colleagues as they continue our attempt to understand the life and music of Dlabacž’s genial but enigmatic friend Johann Baptist Wanhal.

I also think wistfully about the several times we were to meet but didn’t manage. And I’m proud of your statement to me that “Grandfather or nor not, you will be always the most appreciated Wanhal scholar.”!

With love,

Paul Bryan