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Music for Count Morzin's court: Antonin Reichenauer and the first edition of his concerto in G Major.

Life of the Baroque musician

The composer and organist Antonin Reichenauer was a major musical figure in Prague in the 1720s. The date and place of his birth are not known, nor is there any information available as to his childhood and family. The first written mention, documenting his living in Prague, only dates from 1 January 1722, when his son was baptised at the Church of Our Lady under the Chain in the LesserTown. (1) The registries of other Prague churches contain records of the christening of his other children.

Reichenauer is above all known as a member of Count Wenzel Morzin's orchestra. Morzin was a great benefactor and true lover of music. His orchestra ranked among the best instrumental ensembles in the Czech lands at the time. In line with the contemporary custom, besides professional musicians, Morzin employed skilful musicians from among his serfs. The Count even established contact with Antonio Vivaldi, to whom he granted the title Maestro di Musica in Italia and who supplied music for his orchestra for a regular wage. Another distinguished composer in Morzin's services was Johann Friedrich Fasch, who lived in Prague from 1720 to 1722. In all likelihood, the post of Kapellmeister was held by the violinist Melchior Hlava. It would seem that Reichenauer joined Morzin's orchestra in 1723 (his name was first stated in the ledgers in 1724). His salary ranged from between no and 130 guldens a year, and on top of that he received extra fees for the pieces he composed for the needs of the orchestra. (2)

To all appearances, Reichenauer concurrently served as an organist at one of the churches in Prague. It could have been the Dominican Church of Saint Mary Magdalene in the Lesser Town. This assumption has not been directly documented, yet it is supported by the fact that one of Reichenauer's masses is dedicated to Saint Louis Bertrand, a Dominican missionary, whose cult was not overly followed in Bohemia, (3) as well as by Count Morzin's regular contacts with the monastery. Sacred pieces constituted a significant part of Reichenauer's oeuvre, and it is not likely that all of them were paid for by Morzin. His having devoted to church music is further indicated by Antonin Reichenauer's later tenure in Jindrichuv Hradec. Some connoisseurs are of the opinion that he also worked for the orchestra of Count Frantisek Josef Cernin z Chudenic (Franz Joseph Czernin of Chudenice), but this has yet to be verified. Accordingly, the one and only trace that relates Reichenauer to the Cernin family is again Jindrichuv Hradec, since the noble family had its residence in the local chateau.


As a member of Count Morzin's orchestra, Antonfn Reichenauer was still receiving fees in 1729, and he also spent some time in Prague in February 1730, when his son Vaclav passed away. Immediately afterwards, however, he must have assumed a new post, that of the organist at the parish Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Jindrichuv Hradec, the town in which Reichenauer died on 17 March 1730.

Reichenauer's extensive work enjoyed great popularity, bespeaking of which are the numerous mentions in the period documents. Although, regrettably, the sheet music collection of Count Wenzel Morzin has not been preserved, copies of a host of his instrumental pieces are maintained in archives abroad, primarily in Dresden and Wiesentheid. Their catalogue has been compiled by Vaclav Kapsa. (4)

Concerto in G major for oboe

When and under what circumstances the Concerto in G major for oboe, strings and basso continuo came into being is not known, yet in all likelihood it was written for Morzin's orchestra. One of its members was the oboist Pavel Vancura, whom in 1720 his master sent to study music in Dresden. That is apparently how the music-loving Count established contact with the Saxon court, through which the copy of the concerto got into the collection of August II the Strong's ensemble in Dresden. The concerto is of the Italian type, with the first and final movements in the form of ritornello, whose remarkable purity was not overly common in the transalpine countries. This must have resulted from a direct approach to Antonio Vivaldi's music, which Reichenauer had the opportunity to become acquainted in detail while he was serving Morzin. Whereas the fast first and last movements have a fully instrumental texture, the second employs the chamber configuration of the solo instrument accompanied by basso continuo, which duly gives rise to an impressively intimate contrast.


The very first edition of the work, titled Concerto in G per oboe, due violini, viola e basso, was published in 2016 by Togga as the first volume of a new series of critical editions of early Czech music, Fontes Musicae Bohemiae I. It is only the second oboe concerto by Antonfn Reichenauer to have been printed. The first one was the Concerto in F major, also written for the oboe accompanied by string instruments and basso continuo, which was prepared in 2006 by Wolfram Hader for the Laurentius-Musikverlag in Frankfurt am Main. The edition of the Concerto in G major has drawn upon the one and only known source of the work, a copy that has been preserved in the music collection of the Dresden court orchestra Schranck II. The envelope bears the catalogue label Schranck No: II./22. Fach 7. Lage /No. f) Concerto/Oboe conc: [] [] e Basso./Partitura Sola. /Del Sig. Reichenauer. Today, the copy is maintained at the Sachsische Landesbibliothek--Staats- und Universitatsbibliothek Dresden (SLUB) under the mark Mus.2494-O-2, and is also available in digital form on the library's web portal. As the autograph's label indicates, it is an independent score without the parts. The copy was made by Johann Gottfried Grundig in Dresden sometime between 1725 and 1731. (5)


We have prepared the edition with regard to the needs of researchers, as well as performers. The publication contains a preface and a critical report in Czech and English, a complete facsimile of the Dresden manuscript, published with the kind permission of the SLUB, and a critical edition of the score with the complete set of instrumental parts. The editors' approach, which is described in the critical report, respects the original copy as much as possible and presumes knowledge of the period music performance. For that reason, the edition does not contain the added basso continuo, nor the ornamentation (unless directly denoted in the manuscript), and hence it meets the urtext qualities, as required by erudite musicians. The first printed edition of the Concerto in G major for oboe makes available a work, which has been splendidly recorded by Collegium 1704 and Vaclav Luks (Antonin Reichenauer: Concertos, Supraphon, Prague, 2010), and it may well serve to further revive the legacy of the Baroque culture cultivated in Prague in the first half of the 18th century.

The text was written within a research intention of the Institute of Ethnology of the Czech Academy of Sciences --Department of Music History (RVO 68378076).

by Lukas M. Vytlacil

(1) This entry in the church registry was referred to by Bohumir Dlabac, vide Gottfried Johann Dalabcz: Allgemeines historisches Kunstler-Lexikon fur Bohmen, Zweiter Band J-R, Prague, 1815, p. 550: "Die Taufmatrikel der Maltheser Pfarrkirche zu Maria unter der Kette in Prag fiihrt ihn als Vater des Sohnes Johann beim Jahre 1722, den 1 sten Janner an."

(2) For details of the court's account books concerning the expenses for the orchestra, see Vaclav Kapsa: Hudebnici hrabete Morzina, Prague, 2010, p. 89; and also Kapsa: Account Books, Names and Music: Count Wenzel von Morzin's Virtuosissima Orchestra; Early Music XL/4, 2012, pp. 605-620.

(3) The first to draw attention to the work Missa S[an]cti Ludovici Bertrandi (CZ Pnm--XXVIII E 98) was the music historian Emilian Trolda. Vide, for instance, Otakar Kamper: Frantisek X. Brixy. K dejinam ceskebo baroka hudebniho, Prague, 1926, p. 80, and Alexander Buchner: Hudebni sbirka Emiliana Troldy, Prague, 1954, p. 91.

(4) Kapsa: Hudebnici brabete Morzina, pp. 177-192.

(5) Ibid, p. 34.
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Title Annotation:history
Author:Vytlacil, Lukas M.
Publication:Czech Music
Geographic Code:4EXCZ
Date:Apr 1, 2017
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