Joseph Gabriel Rheinberger (Composer) - Encyclopedia


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JOSEPH GABRIEL RHEINBERGER (1839-1901), German composer, was born at Vaduz, Liechtenstein, on the 17th of March 1839. His musical abilities were manifested so early that he was appointed organist of the parish church when he was but seven years old. A three-part Mass composed by him was performed in the following year. He was taught at first by Philipp Schmutzer, choir director at Feldkirch; he entered the Munich Conservatorium in 1851, and remained there till 1854 as a pupil of Professor E. Leonhard for piano, Professor Herzog for organ and J. J. Maier for counterpoint. After leaving the school he had private lessons from Franz Lachner, and was appointed a professor in the conservatorium in succession to Leonhard in 1859. In 1860 he became professor of composition, and was appointed organist of the Micheiskirche, a post he held till 1866. In 1877 he succeeded Willlner as Hofkapellmeister, and from that time his attention was largely devoted to sacred music. His compositions include works of importance in every form, from the operas Die sieben Raben (Munich, 1869) and Tiirmers Tochterlein (Munich, 1873) and the oratorio Christoforus, op. 120, to the well-known quartet for piano and strings in E flat, op. 38, the nonet for wind and strings, op. 139, and the seventeen organ sonatas, which form notable additions to the literature of the instrument. He died in November 1901.

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