Anthony Philip Heinrich was the foremost American composer of his day. His music ~ effusively Romantic, wildly imaginative, spectacularly orchestrated, and technically demanding ~ was beyond the reach of most of his contemporaries, and only at the end of his long life did he receive an adequate performance (in Prague) of some of his orchestral works. Interest in and appreciation of Heinrich has been growing steadily in recent decades, and the time is ripe to finally bring his music to the public. Kallisti Music Press is proud to undertake the publication of Heinrich's complete works, so that at long last his "strange ideal somersets and capriccios" can receive the hearing they so richly deserve.
Born in Bohemia, Heinrich inherited a business empire that enabled him to indulge a love of travel, and gave him the leisure to become a highly skilled amateur violinist and pianist. Stranded in the U.S. by the collapse of his fortune in the Napoleonic Wars, he resolved to fall back on his avocation and become a professional musician. But when his new wife died, and the conducting job he had sought was downsized, he fled as far as he could toward a wilderness oblivion, coming to rest in an abandoned slave cabin in Kentucky. There, at the age of 37, at the very edge of Western civilization, he began to compose. When The Dawning of Music in Kentucky was published, Heinrich was invited to Boston and spent the rest of his career there and in New York, composing vast amounts of music and becoming a father figure to America's small classical-music community. In the end, he outlived all his musical contemporaries, composing orchestral memorials to Beethoven and Mendelssohn and achieving the greatest age of any composer in several generations.
Perhaps the best description of Heinrich's musical style was provided by the conductor Howard Shanet in a 1958 program note: "Heinrich's method of composition is usually to start each movement with simple and even old-fashioned material and then to give his fantasy free rein in expanding and developing it. Daring modulations, ingenious instrumental devices, and a very distinctive kind of chromatic decoration that is peculiarly his own, are characteristic of this unjustly neglected composer. When one adds to this Heinrich's ability to [write effectively at length]... it does not seem so far-fetched that some of his contemporaries called this forceful musician 'the Beethoven of America.'"
With the release of Piano Music, Vol. I in January, 1996, Kallisti Music Press announced the expansion of its Heinrich series into a complete edition of the composer's works. Scholars interested in contributing to this huge project should contact Andrew Stiller, the general editor, by phone, post, or e-mail to Kallisti Music Press.
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Changes last made on: Tues Oct 24 13:52 2006