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Georg Reutter (i) (Composer)

Born: ? (batisized: November 3, 1656) - Vienna, Austria
Died: August 29, 1738

Georg (von) Reutter (i) was an Austrian organist , theorbo player and composer, father of Georg Reutter (ii). He may have been a pupil of Johann Kaspar Kerll, whom he succeeded as organist at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna, in 1686. In 1695 he spent some time in Italy. According to the patent of nobility for his son, he was ennobled in Rome on January 8, 1695 by Prince Sforza; unlike his son, he did not use his title. Between 1696 and 1703 Reutter was employed in the Viennese court chapel as continuo player on the theorbo. The principal Kapellmeister, Antonio Draghi, recommended him to the emperor as ‘a virtuoso player able to play many instruments’. Draghi’s successor as court Kapellmeister, Johann Joseph Fux, also noted Reutter’ s virtuoso abilities and mentioned that he was an experienced opera accompanist. He was married three times and was the father of 15 children, of whom two became musicians (Karl and the younger Georg). In 1700 Reutter was formally appointed court organist at a yearly salary of 900 florins, supplemented by about 300 florins as theorbo player. In 1712 he succeeded J.J. Fux as vice-Kapellmeister and in 1715 as first Kapellmeister of the cathedral; he retained that position until 1728. For housing and instruction of six choirboys at St Stephen’s he received 1200 florins and his salary as Kapellmeister was 550 florins. When he relinquished one of the two Kapellmeister positions of the cathedral in 1728 his income remained relatively high as he kept the six choirboys. He passed on the position of cathedral organist to his son Georg in 1720. A kind and affable man, according to Mattheson (Grundlage einer Ehren-Pforte, 1740), he remained active up to his last years, though his son Georg substituted for him increasingly often.

As a composer Georg Reutter is best known for his collection of toccatas (D-Bsb P 407; one ed. in DT, xxvii, Jg.xiii/2, 1959). They show that he was a capable organ composer who combined technical brilliance with skill in the use of counterpoint and florid melodic invention. He also composed a large number of so-called Versetteln or short organ preludes. Some of the larger sacred works ascribed to him by Eitner may have been composed by his son Georg, and of the compositions published by Botstiber (in DT?, xxvii, Jg.xiii/2, 1959) two capriccios, one ricercare and probably the canzona on Christ ist erstanden are by Nicolaus Adam Strungk. Hofer may have gone too far in attributing most of the compositions extant under the name Reutter to his son, particularly as regards those sacred works in a traditional polyphonic style. Draghi mentioned in his recommendation that Reutter had composed ballet music: no traces of such pieces are known.


Source: Grove Music Online © Oxford University Press 2006 (by Eva Badura-Skoda)
Contributed by
Thomas Braatz (February 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Canzona on Christ ist erstanden is probably by Nicolaus Adam Strungk

Christ ist erstanden

Links to other Sites



EitnerQ | FrotscherG | K?chelKHM
M. Seiffert : Geschichte der Klaviermusik (Leipzig, 1899/R)
F. Berend:
Nicolaus Adam Strungk, 1640–1700 (Hanover, 1915)
N. Hofer:
Die beiden Reutter als Kirchenkomponisten (diss., U. of Vienna, 1915)
F.W. Riedel:
Quellenkundliche Beitr?ge zur Geschichte der Musik für Tasteninstrumente in der zweiten H?lfte des 17. Jahrhunderts (Kassel, 1960, 2/1990)

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