Henri-Joseph Rigel (1741-1799, German)

Henri-Joseph Rigel was born in Wertheim, Germany in 1741 and studied music with Niccolo Jomelli in Stuttgart and Franz-Xaver Richter in Mannheim (one of the founders of the so-called Mannheim School – link will open new tab to my Richter introductory page), but he moved to Paris in 1767 and met fame there, until his death in 1799. As many others, a celebrated composer under the “Ancient Regime”, he adapted to the new times by writing revolutionary hymns and became, with Mehul, Gossec and Cherubini, one of the founders of the Paris Conservatoire in 1795.

Concerto Köln did again great service to the music-lovers interested in the obscure by-ways of 18th-century music and the environment in which the “greats”, Mozart and Haydn, developed, by adding Rigel to their roster of rediscoveries, which includes Salieri, Gossec, Vanhal, Rosetti, Dussek, Kraus, Cannabich, Stamitz, Kozeluch, Myslivecek, Wilms. On the basis of the five symphonies that they recorded on Berlin Classics 0016432BC (2008), whose main originality I find is when they combine dramatic mood and Haydnesque boisterousness, Rigel was no neglected Mozart, but his symphonies are entertaining and welcome.