Johann Georg belonged to the significant number of Bohemian musicians and composers who in the 18th century left their home to find employment and subsistence elsewhere. By 1742 Neruda had found employment as violinist in the services of Count Rutowski, early in 1749 Neruda first tried for employment in Berlin. In his application to the Saxon king he pointed out that not only had he “already been granted the high honour of playing the violin in a concert at the catholic church, but also to direct the music at the small opera and at Hubertusburg.” His application was accepted and until his death on October 11, 1776, Neruda advanced step by step from fourteenth to fifth violinist, playing under the kapellmeisters J. A. Hasse, D. Fischietti and J. G. Naumann.
As far as we can judge today, Neruda in his time was not unknown as a composer, his works being comparatively successful. In the catalogues of the publisher Breitkopf from the years 1762 to 1787, Neruda is represented with numerous symphonies, violin concertos, and trio sonatas. In addition, he is known to have composed violin sonatas, dance pieces, and a few sacred works. In a bill of the “Directeur de Plaisirs” Friedrich August von König from the year 1770 it reads: “Since the existing church concerts and symphonies are rather old and have been performed too often, it was necessary to commission the chamber musician Neruda to write thirty new church concerts, which have turned out very well…”.
Altogether the majority of Neruda’s compositions understandably were written for his own instrument, the violin. Among these are also the only compositions that appeared in print during his lifetime: six trio sonatas for two violins and basso continuo, published in 1764 by Breitkopf at Leipzig.
(Annegret Rosenmüller, translation by Stephanie Wollny)