Carl Reinecke – Hakon Jarl (Earl Hakon) 1876
(b. Altona nr. Hamburg, 23 June 1824 – d. Leipzig, 10 March 1910)
Carl Reinecke (Altona 18241 – Leipzig 1910) fortunately came from a musical family as his fragile constitution forced him to be home-tutored2 by his father “one of the most sought-after piano and theory teachers in Altona”.3 He gave his first public piano performance aged eleven. He also studied violin and was considered “a first-rate orchestral violin player”4 deputising at the local theatre.5 During a piano concert tour in 1842, his outstanding ability won him the favour of Christian VIII of Denmark who financed his studies enabling him to study with Mendelssohn in Leipzig (1843) where he also met Schumann. Reinecke became court pianist 1846-8. He concertised with Liszt, as well as teaching Blandine and Cosima.6 His posts included professor of piano and counterpoint at the newly established Cologne Conservatory (1851); conductor of the Concertgesellschaft at Bremen (1854); Musikdirektor in Barmen (1854-9) and conductor of the Singakademie in Breslau. In 1860 he succeeded Julius Rietz as the tenth Kapellmeister of the Gewandhaus concerts, a post he held until his resignation in 189567, as well as becoming Professor of composition at the Conservatorium, rising to Director in 1897, a post held until his retirement in 1902.8 The Berlin Academy bestowed on him an honorary Doctorate (1884) and Professorship (1885).9
In musical outlook, Reinecke was a conservative,10 he revered the First Viennese School: “Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven. So the round went, with more or less slight variations, year after year. The performances were, however, admirable, his orchestra was one of the foremost in the world.”11 As a composer “[h]is style [was] refined, his mastery over counterpoint and form [was] absolute, and he [wrote] with peculiar clearness and correctness.”12 He was a prodigious composer writing in a variety of genres including piano, Lieder, chamber, symphony, opera and sacred music.
As a person he was held in high regard as an honest and upright man: “Everything that was ignoble or impure remained alien to his character”.13 He was considerate of fellow musicians helping wherever he could. Once, as recounted in Louis C. Elson’s European Reminiscences, he wrote an additional part to support an anxious performer . …
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