Violin Concerto in G minor, Opus 141
Carl Heinrich Carsten Reinecke
(b. Altona, 23. June 1824 — d. Leipzig, 10. March 1910)
Violin Concerto in G minor, Opus 141 (1876)
First performed 21st December 1876, Leipzig:
Joseph Joachim (violin), accompanied by the Gewandhaus Orchestra,
conducted by the composer.
‘The death of Carl Heinrich Carsten Reinecke at Leipzig, on March 10th, removes a musician whose work, carried on unobtrusively, has left a strong mark upon the present generation of composers and artists. Although he was a prolific composer, he exerted his greatest influence as a teacher in the position of Professor of Composition and Director of Studies at the Leipzig Conservatoire, an institution with which he was connected for over forty years.’
So read the composer’s obituary in The Musical Times. His long life had been one of academic appointments, piano playing and composing – no less than 288 works with opus number. Born in Altona, a town which was then under the administration of the Danish monarchy, he received his early tuition from his father, and from 1845 he travelled around Europe taking various posts as pianist and teacher. He was appointed court pianist in Copenhagen in 1846, and was warmly welcomed in Leipzig by Mendelssohn and the Schumanns. In 1851 he moved to the Cologne Conservatoire, recently restructured by Ferdinand Hiller, and between 1854 and 1859 he was Kapellmeister in Barmen where he improved the standard of musical life there in spectacular fashion. From 1860 Leipzig was his base. He taught at the Conservatoire, and in 1897 became its director, transforming the place with his enlightened – if conservative – views. Reinecke also conducted the Gewandhaus Orchestra until 1895 – when Nikisch succeeded him. Showered with honours in the last decade of the century, he retired in 1902 but continued composing till his death eight years later. Reinecke was a well-liked character. As Fritz Bose, a fellow professor at the Leipzig Conservatoire observed: ‘Friends who were privileged to meet him at home, could always learn something from his conversation, from which a certain fine sense of humour was never missing. He never tired of telling of his meetings with great artists: Schumann, Liszt and Jenny Lind, among others. For Liszt, who always visited him when he came to Leipzig, as a man, he entertained the greatest respect: he often remarked how much he regretted that he could not think of him so highly as a composer.’
Many of us are familiar with Reinecke’s name through his works for piano, in particular those he wrote with younger executants in mind. There are evident stylistic echoes of Schumann and to a lesser degree of Mendelssohn, but the charm of his melodic writing is all his own. This characteristic is carried over into larger-scale compositions, such as his beguiling fairy-tale operas, a fine body of chamber music, three symphonies, orchestral music, and his concertos. Reinecke wrote an early violin concerto while he was based at Barmen, hoping that Joachim would play it. But the great violinist was not inspired by the music and declined.
Read full preface > HERE