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Biography of

Anton Reicha
26 feb 1770 (Prague) - 28 may 1836 (Paris)

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sheetmusic from Reicha at SheetMusicPlus
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Mozart, W.A.
12 piano variations
"Je suis Lindor"
Artur Balsam
Gershwin, G.
3 Preludes
Thorsten Hammer
Bruch, M.
Violin Concerto No.
1 in G minor
Hall Orchestra
Bach, J.S.
Cello Suite No. 1
in G major
Ben Torrey
Bach, J.S.
Toccata and Fugue
in d minor
James Kibbie
Verdi, G.
Aida
Nicolas Christou

Portrait of Anton Reicha made in 1815 by M.F. Dien.


Anton (Antonn, Antoine) Reicha (Rejcha) (February 26, 1770 May 28, 1836) was
a Czech-bornnaturalized French composer. A contemporary and lifelong friend
of Beethoven, Reicha is now best remembered for his substantial early contribution to
the wind quintet literature and his role as a teacher his pupils included Franz
Liszt and Hector Berlioz. Reicha was also an accomplished theorist and wrote several
treatises on various aspects of composition. Some of his theoretical work dealt with
experimental methods of composition, which he applied in a variety of works such
as fugues andtudes for piano and string quartets.
Reicha was born in Prague into a family of a town piper. His father died when Reicha was
just 10 months old, and his mother was uninterested in the boy's education. At the age of
10 the young composer ran away from home, and was subsequently raised and educated in
music by his uncle Josef Reicha. When the family moved to Bonn, Josef secured for his
nephew a place at the Hofkapelle, but for Reicha this was not enough. He studied
composition secretly, against his uncle's wishes, and entered the University of Bonn in
1789. When Bonn was captured by the French in 1794, Reicha had to flee toHamburg,
where he made his living by teaching harmony and composition, and
studied mathematicsand philosophy. Between 1799 and 1801 he lived in Paris, trying to
achieve recognition as an opera composer, without success. In 1801 he moved to Vienna,

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where he studied with Salieri andAlbrechtsberger and produced his first important works.
His life was once again affected by war in 1808, when he had to leave Vienna. Reicha
settled in Paris, where he spent the rest of his life teaching composition; in 1818 he was
appointed professor at the Conservatoire.
Reicha's output during his Vienna years included large semi-didactic cycles of works such
as 36 Fugues for piano (which explored Reicha's "new method of fugal writing"), L'art de
varier (a set of 57 variations on an original theme), and exercises for the
treatise Practische Beispiele. During the later Paris period, however, he focused his
attention mostly on theory and produced a number of treatises on composition. Works of
this period include some 25 wind quintets, some of the earliest important music for wind
ensembles. Ideas he advocated in his music and writings
include polyrhythm, polytonality andmicrotonal music; none were accepted by the
composers of the time. Due to Reicha's own attitude towards publishing his music, he fell
into obscurity immediately after his death; his life and work remain poorly studied.

Contents
[hide]

1 Life
o 1.1 17701805: Early years, first visit to Paris and the
Viennese period
o 1.2 180618: Departure from Vienna and life in Paris

2 Works

3 Writings

4 Notable recordings

5 References

6 Notes

7 External links
o 7.1 General reference
o 7.2 Scores

Life
17701805: Early years, first visit to Paris and the Viennese
period

Reicha was born in Prague. His father imon, the town piper of the city, died when Anton
was just 10 months old.[1] Apparently Reicha's mother was not interested in her son's
education, and so in 1780 Reicha ran away from home following a sudden impulse as is
recounted in his memoirs, he jumped onto a passing carriage[2]. Reicha went to Klatovy to
his grandfather first, and then was adopted by his uncle Josef Reicha, a
virtuoso cellist, conductor and composer, who lived at Wallerstein, Bavaria.[1]Josef and his
wife did not have children, and apparently the young Anton had their full attention: Josef
taught him violin and piano, his wife insisted that the boy learned French and German, and
Reicha also received instruction in flute.[3]
In 1785 the family moved to Bonn, where Reicha became a member of the Hofkapelle
of Max Franz,Elector of Cologne, under the direction of his uncle, playing the violin and
the second flute.[1] The young Beethoven became a viola player and organist in the
Hofkapelle in 1789 and Reicha befriended him; the two became lifelong friends. Christian
Gottlob Neefe, who was one of the most important figures in the musical life of the city at
the time, might have instructed both Reicha and Beethoven in composition, and possibly
also introduced them to the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, such as theWell-Tempered
Clavier.
From about 1785 Reicha studied composition secretly, against his uncle's wishes, yet
already by 1787 he composed and conducted his first symphony. In 1789 he entered
the University of Bonn. Reicha was studying and worked as performer until 1794, when
Bonn was attacked and captured by the Frenchforces. Reicha managed to escape
to Hamburg,[1] vowed never to perform again, and started earning his living by teaching
harmony and composition, as well as the piano. He also occupied himself with
composition, studied mathematics, philosophy and, significantly, methods of teaching
composition. In 1799 Reicha moved to Paris, hoping to achieve success with his operas.
These hopes were dashed, however: he could neither get his old librettos accepted, nor find
suitable new ones, despite support from his friends and influential members of the
aristocracy. In 1801 Reicha left Paris for Vienna.
In Vienna he began studying with Antonio Salieri and Johann Georg Albrechtsberger.
[1]
Both were renowned teachers whose pupils included Schubert (Salieri) and Beethoven
(both), and Albrechtsberger was also an important theorist. Reicha visited Haydn, whom
he already met several times in Bonn and Hamburg during the 1790s, and renewed his
friendship with Beethoven, whom he had not seen since 1792, when the latter moved from
Bonn to Vienna. Reicha's move to Vienna marked the beginning of a more productive and
successful period in the composer's life. Reicha himself reflected on this time in his
memoirs: "The number of works I finished in Vienna is astonishing. Once started, my
verve and imagination were indefatigable. Ideas came to me so rapidly it was often
difficult to set them down without losing some of them. I always had a great penchant for
doing the unusual in composition. When writing in an original vein, my creative faculties
and spirit seemed keener than when following the precepts of my predecessors."[4] In 1801
Reicha's opera L'ouragan, which failed in Paris, was performed at the palace of Prince
Joseph Franz Maximilian Lobkowicz, Beethoven's patron. EmpressMaria
Theresa commissioned another opera after this performance, Argine, regina di Granata,
which was also performed (although privately). Reicha's studies in Hamburg came to
fruition here with the publication of several semi-didactic, encyclopedic works such as 36
Fugues for piano (published in 1803, dedicated to Haydn)[1] and L'art de varier, a largescale variation cycle (composed in 1803-4 forPrince Louis Ferdinand), and the
treatise Practische Beispiele (published in 1803), which contained 24 compositions.

180618: Departure from Vienna and life in Paris


Reicha's life and career in Vienna were interrupted by Napoleon's military activities. In
November 1805 the city was occupied by French troops. In 1806 Reicha travelled
to Leipzig to arrange a performance of his new work, the cantata Lenore (stopping at
Prague to see his mother for the first time since 1780), but because Leipzig was blockaded

quartets: [3]. The first modern edition in score and parts of Reicha's Vienna
quartets was published in June 2006 by Merton Music of London, see [4].
13. ^ Demuth, 5-6 (16970)
14. ^ Demuth, 8 (172)

External links
General reference

"Anton Reicha page contains Ron Drummond's essays on Reicha's life".


Classical.net.http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/reicha.html. Retrieved 22
December 2007.

Essay on Anton Reicha by Charles-David Lehrer for the International Double


Reed Society

Bill McGlaughlin's article on Reicha for Saint Paul Sunday

Beethoven's Contemporaries: Anton Reicha

Letters written by or concerning Reicha and portraits of him in the Digital


archives of theBeethoven-Haus, Bonn.

(Dutch) Klassiekemuziek: Anton Reicha

"Anton Reicha". Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?


page=gr&GRid=21018. Retrieved August 9, 2010.

Scores

Free scores by Anton Reicha in the Werner Icking Music Archive (WIMA)

Free scores by Anton Reicha in the International Music Score Library Project

"Anton Reicha Wind Quintets: Free Scores". The Royal Library,


Copenhagen.http://www.kb.dk/en/nb/samling/ma/digmus/1800/reicha.html.
Retrieved 29 October 2008.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Anton Reicha.
Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.

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