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Anton Reicha (Composer)

Born: 26th February 1770, Prague, Czechia

Died: 28th May 1836, Paris, France

Nationality: French

Anton (Antonín, Antoine) Joseph Reicha (Rejcha) was a Czech-born, Bavarian-educated, later naturalized French composer and music theorist. A contemporary and lifelong friend of Beethoven, he is now best remembered for his substantial early contributions to the wind quintet literature and his role as teacher of pupils including Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz and César Franck. He 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 and études for piano and string quartet.

None of the advanced ideas he advocated in the most radical of his music and writings, such as polyrhythm, polytonality and microtonal music, were accepted or employed by other nineteenth-century composers.

Further Reading: Reicha, A

Interview, Ivan Ilić on L’art de varier

The pianist talks to Katherine about the third volume of his acclaimed Antoine Reicha series on Chandos (released last Friday), which features just one work - an extraordinary set of 57 variations composed in 1802–03.

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