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Bohemia (nor in the Czech Republic) was one of the major regions of the Austrian Empire. It was then and remained (until the disaster that was Communism) one of the most prosperous regions of Europe. It was into a prosperous peasant family in this most prosperous part of the Empire that Vanhal was born.
His family was well off enough to get his musical training, which showed his genius. Soon he found employment in a town as organist and choirmaster. By a stroke of luck a visiting Countess heard him (no doubt playing the organ at Mass) and took him to Vienna. Vanhal never looked back.
He played with Haydn and Mozart. He wrote symphonies and operas, voluminously - 73 symphonies, 100 quartets, almost innumerable other works. Doubtless his peasant upbringing impressed on him the need to be productive if he wanted to eat, and so produce he did. It's remarkably good - musically well educated people will find him similar to Haydn, and in fact his reputation at the time was comparable.
He was successful enough to end his days relatively well off in Vienna itself. All in all, an astonishing story, rarely told.