Anton Reicha was an exceedingly talented composer and musician who contributed woodwind compositions to the Classical, Baroque and Romantic eras of music. Born in Prague on February 26, 1770, Reicha lost his father at the tender age of 1, and was later adopted by his aunt and Uncle Josef (a cellist, composer and concert director.) Reicha was classically trained and played in the same orchestra as Beethoven; the pair would later become lifelong friends. Unlike his friend who received eternal glory from his work, Reicha’s work would not get near enough of the recognition he deserves. Here is a look at five of Reicha’s best compositions; upon closer inspection you’ll too be questioning why Anton Reicha didn’t get the same rave reviews as his friend.
“Blaserquintet No. 2, Opus 88”
The composition that first turned me on to Reicha’s work is “Blaserquintet No. 2, Opus 88.” This multi-faceted piece is beautiful, tranquil, and intricately weaved. To truly understand the depth of Reicha’s brilliance, one needs to only listen to this lovely tune.
“Wind Quintet, Opus 100, No. 5”
Another incredible composition by Anton Reicha is “Wind Quintet, Opus 100, No. 5.” This piece has many different moods to it, from sadness and melancholy to hope and excitement. This piece is another fantastic example of the majesty that occurred when Reicha placed ideas onto staff paper.
“Wind Quintet in D Major, Opus 91”
“Wind Quintet in D Major, Opus 91” displays Reicha’s talent at its absolute finest. This composition is light, airy and exquisite, and few compositions can touch its jovial tone. “Wind Quintet in D Major, Opus 91” is my absolute favorite composition by Anton Reicha.
“Wind Quintet in G Major, Opus 99, No. 6”
“Wind Quintet in G Major, Opus 99, No. 6” is a fine example of how delicate and beautiful Reicha’s compositions could be. Whereas many of Reicha’s counterparts focused on booming pieces with dark tonal qualities, Reicha excelled at the whimsical and cheerful tune.
“Variations for Bassoon”
“Variations for Bassoon” takes many Reicha fans by surprise as it is so different than many of his other works. This piece is soulful, swinging, and deep, not to mention multi-faceted with many different moods. “Variations for Bassoon” is nothing short of fantastic, and any instrumental music fan is sure to appreciate how thoroughly Reicha mastered his craft.
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