1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Reicha, Anton Joseph

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REICHA, ANTON JOSEPH (1770–1836), French musical theorist and teacher of composition, was born at Prague on the 27th of February 1770, and educated chiefly by his uncle, Joseph Reicha (1746–1795), a clever violoncellist, who first received him into his house at Wallerstein in Bohemia, and afterwards carried him to Bonn. Here, about 1789, he was made flutist in the orchestra of the elector. In 1794 he went to Hamburg and gave 'music lessons there, also producing the opera Godefroid de Montfort. He was in Paris in 1799 and in Vienna from 1802 to 1808, during which period he saw much of Beethoven and Haydn. In the latter year he returned to Paris, where he produced three operas without much success. In 1817 he succeeded Méhul as professor of counterpoint at the Conservatoire. In 1829 he was naturalized as a Frenchman, and in 1835 he was admitted as a member of the Institute in the place of Boieldieu. He died in Paris on the 28th of May 1836. He produced a vast quantity of church music, five operas, a number of symphonies, oratorios and many miscellaneous works. Though clever and ingenious, his compositions are more remarkable for their novelty than for the beauty of the ideas upon which they are based. His fame is, indeed, more securely based upon his didactic works. His Traité de mélodie (Paris, 1814), Cours de composition musicale (Paris, 1818), Traité de haute composition musicale (Paris, 1824–26), and Art du compositeur dramatique (Paris, 1833), are valuable and instructive essays for the student, though many of the theories they set forth are now condemned as erroneous.