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JOSEPH GABRIEL RHEINBERGER  

(1839 - 1901)

Joseph Gabriel Rheinberger was born in Vaduz, the capital of the principality of Liechtenstein, in 1839, the son of the Treasurer to the Prince. He had his first organ lessons at the age of five and two years later was able to serve as organist at Vaduz, at which time he also made his first attempts at composition. From 1848 he was able to have more formal instruction in the nearby town of Feldkirch from the choirmaster Philipp Schmutzer, who had been trained in Prague, and gain some familiarity with the music of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. It was on the advice of the composer Matthäus Nagiller that his father was persuaded to allow him in 1851 to study at the Munich Conservatory. His music theory teacher there was, Julius Joseph Maier, a pupil of Moritz Hauptmann, himself a pupil of Spohr and founder of the Bach Gesellschaft. His organ teacher was the virtuoso Johann Georg Herzog, who had joined the staff of the Conservatory in 1850, and his piano teacher was Julius Emil Leonhard. Rheinberger also took private lessons from Franz Lachner who had been a member of Schubert’s circle in Vienna.

During his three years of formal study Rheinberger showed considerable ability both as an organist and as a master of counterpoint and fugue. In the 1850s he continued to write a varied series of compositions, including three operas and three symphonies, but withheld them from publication. His first published composition was a set of piano pieces, issued in 1859, the year in which he joined the staff of the Munich Conservatory as a piano teacher and subsequently as a teacher of theory. In the following years he was appointed organist at the Church of St Michael, conductor of the Oratorio Society and repetiteur at the Court Opera. From 1867, he held professorship of organ and composition at the Conservatory, retaining this until his death in 1901. Among other distinctions he was appointed Court Kapellmeister in 1877 and was the recipient of academic honours in Munich and abroad. He enjoyed the highest reputation as a teacher, with pupils such as Humperdinck, Wolf-Ferrari and Furtwängler, inculcating in them a respect for sound classical principles. His organ compositions, while remaining in current performance repertoire, have for long proved a valuable element in the training of new generations of players.

For many the name Rheinberger may now have little resonance, he remains familiar to organists, because of this extensive contribution to the repertoire for the organ, most remarkably the twenty sonatas that he wrote throughout his career. His contemporaries held him in considerable esteem as a teacher, preserving classical standards in a changing world, and some of his Catholic liturgical music remains an indispensable part of church music today.

Organ Music

Although Rheinberger contributed to other forms of music, dramatic and orchestral, sacred and secular, he is now remembered for his twenty organ sonatas and other shorter compositions for the instrument.

Chamber Music

Chamber music by Rheinberger includes suites for organ and violin and organ with violin and cello, in addition to music for the usual chamber ensembles.

Orchestral Music

In addition to two organ concertos, Rheinberger wrote relatively little, with one surviving symphony, a symphonic poem and a small number of concert overtures.

Vocal and Choral Music

Although Rheinberger wrote music for the theatre and a number of secular songs, he is principally remembered for his contribution to church music, witnessed in a number of Mass settings, three settings of the Requiem and two of the Stabat Mater.

View by Role: Classical Composer | Arranger
Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
ANGEL VOICES - The Boys' Choirs Christmas Celebration Capriccio
C7069
Choral - Sacred
BRAHMS / RHEINBERGER / SCHUMANN / REGER: Organ Works Oehms Classics
OC543
Instrumental
Cello and Organ Music (19th-20th Centuries) - JONGEN, J. / SAINT-SAENS, C. / HOLLER, K. / RHEINBERGER, J. (The Last Song of Summer) (Moline, Swanson) Dorian Sono Luminus
DIS-80148
Chamber Music
Choral Concert: Saint Clement's Choir - RHEINBERGER, J.G. / BRAHMS, J. (The Romantic Mass) Dorian Sono Luminus
DIS-80137
Choral - Sacred
Choral Music - BORTNIANSKY, D. / SCHUBERT, F. / BRUCKNER, A. / BRUCH, M. / MENDELSSOHN, Felix / SILCHER, F. / RHEINBERGER, J.G. Capriccio
C67136-38
Choral - Sacred
Choral Music - DUPRE, M. / MULET, H. / RHEINBERGER, J. / FARRELL, B. / LANGLAIS, J. / WARLOCK, P. / HOWELLS, H. / KELLAM, I. Delos
DE3129
Choral - Sacred
Christmas Choral Concert: Regensburg Cathedral Choir - LUTZEL, J.H. / PACHELBEL, J. / HANDL, J. / RHEINBERGER, J.G. / BRAHMS, J. / BRITTEN, B. Capriccio
C10838
Choral - Sacred
CHRISTMAS MEDITATION Capriccio
C7073
Chamber Music, Choral - Sacred
Clarinet and Piano Recital: Du Toit, Maria / Schumann, Nina - BOZZA, E. / HOFMEYR, H.P. / RHEINBERGER, J.G. / MARTINO, D. (Luminous Shade) TwoPianists
TP1039145
Chamber Music
CLASSIC MOODS - ALBINONI, T.G. / HANDEL, G.F. / MARCELLO, A. / VIVALDI, A. / BACH, J.S. / MOZART, W.A. / BEETHOVEN, L. van / HAYDN, F.J. Capriccio
C18414
Chamber Music
CLASSIC MOODS - HUMPERDINCK, E. / FAURE, G. / BRAHMS, J. / SCHUMANN, R. / PUCCINI, G. / GRIEG, E. / SCHUBERT, F. / PUCCINI, G. / RHEINBERGER, J.G. Capriccio
C18411
Chamber Music
GERMAN ROMANTIC CHRISTMAS (Frohlocket ihr Volker auf Erden) (Munich Bach Choir, Albrecht) Oehms Classics
OC924
Chamber Music
GLORIA! - Songs of Exaltation Dorian Sono Luminus
DSL-90906
Choral - Sacred
MAGNIFICAT - Classical Music for Reflection and Meditation Naxos
8.556710
Instrumental
MIDNIGHT LOUNGE - Chill Out Classics and Meditation Capriccio
C49326
Chamber Music
Organ Concertos - HANDEL, G.F. / BACH, J.S. / BACH, C.P.E. / HAYDN, J. / HAYDN, M. / MOZART, W.A. / RHEINBERGER, J.G. Capriccio
C7172
Chamber Music, Concertos
Organ Recital: Gotz, Andreas - BRUCKNER, A. / GOLLER, V. / LISZT, F. / RHEINBERGER, J.G. / REGER, M. (An Organ Treasure) Oehms Classics
OC622
Instrumental
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: 6 Pieces for Violin and Organ / Suite for Organ, Violin and Cello (version for organ trio and strings) (Sebestyen) Capriccio
C10337
Chamber Music, Orchestral
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Suite for Violin and Organ, Op. 166 (Juffinger) Capriccio
C10336
Chamber Music
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Suite for Violin and Organ, Op. 166 (Juffinger) Capriccio
C71017
Chamber Music
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Suite for Violin and Organ, Op. 166 (Juffinger) Capriccio
C10336
Concertos
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Suite for Violin and Organ, Op. 166 (Juffinger) Capriccio
C71017
Concertos
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Suite for Violin and Organ, Op. 166 (Juffinger) Capriccio
C10336
Concertos
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Suite for Violin and Organ, Op. 166 (Juffinger) Capriccio
C71017
Concertos
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Works, Vol. 1 (Rubsam) Naxos
8.554212
Instrumental
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Works, Vol. 2 (Rubsam) Naxos
8.554213
Instrumental
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Works, Vol. 3 (Rubsam) Naxos
8.554549
Instrumental
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Works, Vol. 4 (Rubsam) Naxos
8.554809
Instrumental
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Works, Vol. 5 (Rubsam) Naxos
8.557184
Instrumental
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Works, Vol. 6 (Rubsam) Naxos
8.570313
Instrumental
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Works, Vol. 7 (Rubsam) Naxos
8.570314
Instrumental
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Organ Works, Vol. 8 (Rubsam) Naxos
8.570315
Instrumental
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Six Pieces, Op. 150 / Suite for Violin and Organ, Op. 166 (Most, Ziener) Naxos
8.557383
Chamber Music
RHEINBERGER, J.G.: Stern von Bethlehem (Der) / Rhapsodie in D Major / Organ Sonata No. 7 (Froschauer) Capriccio
C10551
Chamber Music, Instrumental, Choral - Sacred
RHEINBERGER: Organ Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 Naxos
8.557787
Concertos
Vocal Music - HOLST, G. / BEACH, A. / RHEINBERGER, J.G. / MENDELSSOHN, Felix (Hymn to the Dawn) (Etherea Vocal Ensemble) Delos
DE3431
Vocal Ensemble
Vocal Recital: Weikl, Bernd - LISZT, F. / RHEINBERGER, J.G. / WOLF, H. (Romantic Songs for Baritone and Organ) Capriccio
C10092
Vocal
Role: Arranger 
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