Anton (or Antonin or Antoine) Reicha (or Rejcha) (February 26, 1770 ? May 28, 1836) was a Czech-born naturalized French composer, a flautist in his youth, and an influential theorist. He is best known today for his substantial early contribution to the wind quintet literature, as well as early experiments with irregular time signatures. Reicha is best known today for his substantial contribution to the early wind quintet literature, twenty-five works written in Paris between 1811 and 1820, which were played all over Europe. Reicha claimed in his memoirs that his wind quintets filled a void: 'At that time, there was a dearth not only of good classic music, but of any good music at all for wind instruments, simply because the composers knew little of their technique.' . Today some of Reicha's wind quintets have joined the regular repertoire, and all have been recorded.
He wrote prolifically for other kinds of musical ensembles as well, including eight symphonies, many with thematically-connected movements; seven operas; piano music including sonatas, two gigantic variation sets, and a set of thirty-six fugues; violin sonatas and piano trios; five quintets for wind and strings; 24 trios for three horns (Op.82, published in Paris, 1815) ; ten string quintets, four for solo cello and string quartet and six for string quartet with second viola; and at least thirty-seven string quartets, only three of which were performed during the 20th century, most recently a few years ago (see Drummond link, below). The eight Vienna string quartets (1801-5) are amongst his most important works; though largely ignored since Reicha's death, they were highly influential during his lifetime, and left their mark on the quartets of Beethoven and Schubert. The first modern edition in score and parts of Reicha's Vienna quartets was published in June 2006 by Merton Music of London . In recent years, several quartet ensembles in Europe have begun programming Reicha's quartets, and first recordings are in the works.
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