1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Richter, Hans

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[ 312 ]

RICHTER, HANS (1843-       ), Hungarian musical conductor, born at Raab on the 4th of April 1843, was the son of the kapellmeister at the cathedral, and of his wife, née Josephine Csazinsky, who was the first to perform Venus in Tannhäuser at Vienna. Young Hans sang either soprano or alto in the cathedral choir, according to requirement, and occasionally played the organ. But his public début was made as a drummer in Haydn's Paukenmesse. In 1853, at the age of ten, he appeared in a concert as pianist in Hummel's E flat quintet; and in 1854, after his father's death, went to the choristers' school, the Convikt (where Schubert was educated) in Vienna, and there became chorister in the Court Chapel. For five years from 1860 Richter studied under Heissler and Sechter in the Vienna Conservatorium, and he learnt the horn under Kleinecke. A year and a half after his first lesson he became hornist in the old Kärnthnerthor Theatre at £3 a month. Meanwhile he had devoted time to conducting. It was not till August 1868 that Richter made his first appearance as a conductor, at the Hof Theater, Munich (where he had just been appointed), in William Tell; but in the next year he resigned this post, went first to Paris, then to Brussels, and finally to Triebschen, where he copied Der Ring des Nibelungen for Wagner. In April 1871 Richter took up his new duties as conductor of the Hungarian National Opera at Budapest, where he remained four years, until he began in May 1875 his long connexion with the Vienna Opera, which terminated only with the century. In 1876 Richter [ 313 ] directed the rehearsals and performances of Der Ring at Bayreuth, and in 1877 paid his first visit to England to conduct the Wagner Festival at the Albert Hall. There in 1879 he founded the Richter Concerts, which were a revelation to London musical circles of the masterly personality of the conductor, and his influence upon the orchestra; in 1885 he became conductor of the Birmingham Triennial Festival, and was created Mus. Doc. Oxon. honoris causa. In 1882 Richter also conducted a famous series of performances of Wagner's works (including the first in England of Die Meistersinger and Tristan) at Drury Lane, and in 1900 became conductor of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester. He had established his position as one of the most richly gifted and the most experienced of modern conductors, supreme in the interpretation of Beethoven, Wagner and Brahms.