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HANS RICHTER (1843– )

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 313 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HANS RICHTER (1843– ), Hungarian musical conductor, born at Raab on the 4th of April 1843, was the son of the kapellmeister at the cathedral, and of his wife, nee Josephine Csazinsky, who was the first to perform Venus in Tannhauser at Vienna. Young Hans sang either soprano or alto. in the cathedral choir, according to requirement, and occasionally played the organ. But his public debut was made as a drummer in Haydn's Paukenmesse. In 1853, at the age of ten, he appeared in a concert as pianist in Hummel's E flat quintet; and in 1854, after his father's death, went to the choristers' school, the Convikt (where Schubert was educated) in Vienna, and there became chorister in the Court Chapel. For five years from 186o Richter studied under Heissler and Sechter in the Vienna Conservatorium, and he learnt the horn under Kleinecke. A year and a half after his first lesson he became hornist in the old Karnthnerther Theatre at £3 a month. Meanwhile he had devoted time to conducting. It was not till August 1868 that Richter made his first appearance as a conductor, at the Hof Theater, Munich (where he had just been appointed), in William Tell; but in the next year he resigned this post, went first to Paris, then to Brussels, and finally to Triebschen, where he copied Der Ring des Nibelungen for Wagner. In April 1871 Richter took up his new duties as conductor of the Hungarian National Opera at Budapest, where he remained four years, until he began in May 1875 his long connexion with the Vienna Opera, which terminated only with the century. In 1876. Richter After his mother's death he went in 1797 to Leipzig, and in the following year to Weimar, where he had much pleasant intercourse with Herder, by whom he was warmly appreciated. He did not become intimate with Goethe and Schiller, to both of whom his literary methods were repugnant; but in Weimar, as elsewhere, his remarkable conversational powers and his genial manners made him a favourite in general society. In 18or he married Caroline Meyer, whom he met in Berlin in 1800. They lived first at Meiningen, then at Coburg; and filially, in 1804, they settled at Bayreuth. Here Richter spent a quiet; simple and happy life, constantly occupied with his work as a writer. In 18o8 he was fortunately delivered from anxibty as to outward necessities by the prince-primate, K. T. von Dalberg, who gave him a pension of a thousand florins. Before settling at Bayreuth, Richter had published his most ambitious novel, Titan (1800–3); and this was followed by Flegeljahre (1804-5), two works which he himself regarded as his master-pieces. His later imaginative works were 'Dr Katzenbergers Badereise (18o9), Des Feldpredigers Schmelzle Reise nach Fldtz (1809), Leben Fibels (1812), and Der Komet, oder Nikolaus Marggraf (1820-22). In Vorschule der Aesthetik (1804) h'e expounded his ideas on art; he discussed the principles of education in Levana, oder Erziehungslehre (1807); and the opinions suggested by current events he set forth in Friedenspredigt (1808), Ddmmerungen fur Deutschland (1809), Mars and Phobus Thronwechsel im Jahre 1814 (2814), andPolitische Fastenpredigten (1817). In his last years he began Wahrheit aus Jean Pauls Leben; to which additions from his papers and other sources were made after his death by C. Otto and E. Forster. In 1821 Richter lost his only son, a youth of the highest promise; and he never quite recovered from this shock. He died of dropsy; at Bayreuth, on the 14th November directed the rehearsals and performances of Der Ring at Bayreuth; and in 1877 paid his first visit to England to conduct the Wagner Festival at the Albert Hall. There in 1879 he founded the Richter Concerts, which were a revelation to London 'musical circles of the masterly personality of the conductor, and his influence upon the orchestra; in 1885 he became conductor of the Birmingham' Triennial Festival, . and was created Mus. Doc. Oxon. honoris causa. In 1882 Richter also conducted a famous series of performances of Wagner'.s works (including the first in England of Die Meistersinger and Tristan) at Drury Lane, and in r9oo became conductor of the Halle Orchestra in Manchester. He had established his position as one of the most richly gifted and the most experienced of modern conductors, supreme in the interpretation of Beethoven, Wagner and Brahms.
End of Article: HANS RICHTER (1843– )
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