ReichaThis evening I met composer friend Nigel Clarke for a beer and a chat and, as usual, he broadened my musical knowledge significantly. Maybe I should have known all about Anton Reicha, but I shamefully admit I didn’t. Nigel gave me, as a present, a new disk of Reicha’s string quartets, played by the Kreutzer Quartet, which includes his good friend, Peter Sheppard Skaerved. Later, I listened to the quartets and several were very familiar. What was not so familiar, though, was Reicha’s life. He was a contemporary and lifelong friend of Beethoven who studied with Salieri and taught Liszt and Berlioz. Constantly dislodged by Europe’s endless wars, he was born in Prague and lived in Bonn, Hamburg, Paris, Vienna and Paris again. Among musicians he is as well known today for his theoretical work as for his compositions. He hoped for success with his operas, and I wonder how long it will be before L’ouragan is revived.