Whenever I speak to someone about Antoine Reicha for the first time, I link his story to Beethoven’s. It’s a shortcut, because my interlocutor usually has no idea who Reicha was, when he was alive, or what stylistic period he belonged to. Born in Prague, Reicha moved to Bonn when he was 15, and spent his formative musical years in Beethoven’s company. Reicha’s uncle Joseph was the conductor of the Bonn court orchestra, where Beethoven played viola and Reicha played the flute, a few seats from one another. They became friends and rivals, always an interesting dynamic among young ambitious artists, a mixture of appreciation and covetousness.

Ivan Ilić’s Reicha project will include a four-episode documentary series about Reicha and his piano music.

Reicha and Beethoven attended the University of Bonn together, where they studied logic, philosophy, and mathematics. Both took lessons with Haydn when he passed through Bonn, and both vowed to study with him in Vienna. Beethoven left first, in 1792. Reicha settled in Vienna ten years later, an important juncture for both composers in their early 30s. Their paths crossed frequently. Beethoven was...

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