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Reinagle, Alexander

Reinagle, Alexander

Reinagle, Alexander , prominent English-bom American pianist, teacher, impresario, and composer; b. Portsmouth (of Austrian parents) (baptized), April 23, 1756; d. Baltimore, Sept. 21, 1809. He studied in Edinburgh with Rayner Taylor, and in London for a time; also visited Lisbon and other continental cities. From his correspondence he appears to have been a close friend of CPE. Bach. He went to N.Y. early in 1786, settling in the same year in Philadelphia, where he taught, managed subscription concerts (also in N.Y), and was active as a singer, pianist, conductor, and composer. In 1787 he introduced 4-hand piano music to America. He was associated, possibly as harpsichordist, with the Old American Co., and took part in its 1788–89 season in N.Y. In 1790 he was engaged as music director of a stock company for the production of plays and comic operas, with Thomas Wignell as general director; also built the New Theatre, which opened on Feb. 2, 1793, with Reinagle acting as composer, singer, and director. He also managed a company in Baltimore (from 1794).

Works

A Collection of … Scots Tunes with Variations for Keyboard (London, c. 1782; 2nd ed., abr., 1787, as A Selection of the Most Favorite Scots Tunes with Variations); 6 Sonatas with Accompaniment for Violin (London, c. 1780); Miscellaneous Quar- tets (Philadelphia, 1791); Concerto on the Improved Pianoforte with Additional Keys (1794); Preludes (1794); accompaniments and incidental music to The Sicilian Romance (1795), The Witches of the Rock, pantomime (1796), and various English plays; Masonic Overture (1800); 4 piano sonatas (in Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Sonata No. 2 publ. in abr. form by J. Howard in A Program of Early American Piano- Music, N.Y., 1931; see also S. Duer, An Annotated Edition of 4 Sonatas by Alexander Reinagle [Peabody Cons., 1976]); Collection of Favorite Songs; music to Milton’s Paradise Lost (incomplete).

Bibliography

C. Horton, Serious Art and Concert Music for Piano in America in the 100 Years from A. R. to Edward MacDowell (diss., Univ. of N.C., 1965).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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