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Thread: Johann Rufinatscha

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    Senior Member Joachim Raff's Avatar
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    Default Johann Rufinatscha

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    Rufinatscha was born in 1812 in Mals (Austria, now in the Italian province of South Tyrol). At the age of 14 he came to Innsbruck, where he studied the piano, violin, and musical study at the conservatory. After that he settled in Vienna, where he would remain for the rest of his life.

    During his lifetime he was most prominent as a teacher of piano and harmony in Vienna. Rufinatscha seems to have spent most of his life teaching rather than composing actively, which would explain why he composed relatively few pieces. He knew Johannes Brahms and composed a number of works (including several symphonies) during the period in which Brahms refused to publish any symphonic works.[3] While predicted by contemporaries to become a major composer of his day, this did not turn out to be the case, and as such he is still relatively obscure. However, as a music teacher he was influential; among his pupils were composers such as Ignaz Brüll and Julius Epstein. He died in 1893 in Vienna.

    Rufinatscha is recognised as one of Tyrol's most important composers of the 19th century. His works can be said to form a connection between those of Franz Schubert and Anton Bruckner. Shortly before his death Rufinatscha decided to donate the manuscripts of his compositions to the Tyrolean provincial museum, where they remain to this day.

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    I've collected what Rufinatscha I can - the Chandos recording of the 6th is by far the best played, best sounding and easiest to get. I picked up some of the chamber music and the 3rd symphony in a shop in Innsbruck. There was a lot of hype a few years ago that he was going to be the next superstar composer, but from what I've heard his obscurity is pretty well deserved. But it would be interesting to hear more of the orchestral music; who know, it might be good material for amateur orchestras. Rufinatscha is so obscure that several years ago I was in Vienna talking to a music history professor from the University. She was born and trained in Austria, knew everything there is to know about that country's composers, was an avid skier in the Tyrolean Alps, and she had never heard of Rufinatscha - I educated her on something! Very obscure indeed.

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    mhaub: Presto Classical also lists a disc of Rufinatscha's lieder and one of his music for string orchestra, on the same Musik Museum label as the 3rd Symphony you mention. I've read that originally the critically well-received 2011 Chandos recording of the 6th by the BBC Symphony/Noseda was to be followed by two more releases, but I don't know what happened. Your meeting with the music history professor in Vienna sounds interesting. All I know is that Austria and Germany were teeming with composers as the 19th century progressed -- maybe that's why she hadn't heard of Rufinatscha.
    Last edited by Roger Knox; Oct-10-2020 at 22:11.

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