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Josef Rheinberger

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Josef Rheinberger

Biography

Josef Gabriel Rheinberger (17 March 1839, Vaduz – 25 November 1901, Munich, Germany) was an organist and composer, born in Liechtenstein and resident for most of his life in Germany.

Rheinberger, whose father was the treasurer for Aloys II, Prince of Liechtenstein, showed exceptional musical talent at an early age. When only seven years old, he was already serving as organist of the Vaduz parish church, and his first composition was performed the following year. In 1849, he studied with composer Philipp M. Schmutzer (Dec. 31, 1821 – Nov. 17, 1898) in Feldkirch, Vorarlberg. In 1851, his father, who had initially opposed his son's desire to embark on the life of a professional musician, relented and allowed him to enter the Munich Conservatorium. Not long after graduating, he became professor of piano and of composition at the same institution. When this first version of the Munich Conservatorium was dissolved, he was appointed répétiteur at the Court Theatre, from which he resigned in 1867.

The stylistic influences on Rheinberger ranged from contemporaries such as Brahms to composers from earlier times, such as Mendelssohn, Schumann, Schubert and, above all, Bach. He was also an enthusiast for painting and literature (especially English and German).

In 1877 he was appointed court conductor, responsible for the music in the royal chapel. He was subsequently awarded an honorary doctorate by Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. A distinguished teacher, he numbered many Americans among his pupils, including Horatio Parker, William Berwald, George Whitefield Chadwick, Bruno Klein and Henry Holden Huss.

Rheinberger was a prolific composer. His religious works include twelve Masses, a Requiem and a Stabat Mater. His other works include several operas, symphonies, chamber music, and choral works. Today Rheinberger is remembered above all for his elaborate and challenging organ compositions; these include two concertos, 20 sonatas in 20 different keys (of a projected set of 24 sonatas in all the keys),[5] 22 trios, and 36 solo pieces. His organ sonatas were once declared to be undoubtedly the most valuable addition to organ music since the time of Mendelssohn. They are characterized by a happy blending of the modern Romantic spirit with masterly counterpoint and dignified organ style.


Works for Winds

Adaptable Music

  • Evening Song (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Hanson) (1855/1873/2016)


All Wind Works


Resources