Fritz Reiner (1888-1963)

Frederick Martin “Fritz” Reiner was one of the greatest conductors who ever lived. He was born in Budapest, Hungary on the 19th of December 1888. Originally from a Jewish family, although secular, Reiner grew up in the Pest part of the capital, but Reiner emigrated to the United States of America in 1922. Fritz Reiner started studying piano at the age of 6 and at the amazing age of 10 he was admitted to the Franz List Academy in Budapest. Amongst his teachers was the brilliant composer Béla Bartók. Reiner made his conducting debut at the age of 19 with Bizet’s “Carmen”. After his emigration the United States of America Reiner accepted an offer to become the chief conductor of the Cincinnati Symphonic Orchestra. Although very prestigious, Reiner only reached his peak years later in 1938 when he joined the Chicago Symphonic Orchestra as conductor (in between Rainer led the Pittsburgh Symphonic Orchestra). Next to raising the orchestra to a new level, Rainer also made very successful commercial recordings for which he is best known.

In His last interview, Mr Doctor has expressed His admiration for this conductor and specific recordings featuring Reiner which He considers some of the best ever made and thus we decided to dedicate a page to the life and works of this remarkable genius. Reiner fell out with the Chicago Orchestra Hall because of the problems with the acoustics of the hall. The acoustics were in fact perfect, and made to his specification, but due to new laws introduced the event hall needed emergency exits, which were subsequently placed: as a result the acoustics of the hall were destroyed and subsequently the cooperation between the orchestra and Reiner.

Over a period of ten years Reiner recorded more than 122 compositions with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, leaving a legacy of sublime recordings behind. Reiner expressed his love to record works of Bartók, but which RCA-Victor vetoed.

Mr Doctor’s favourite recordings are those with RCA Records. These are exactly the recordings we would like to recommend the fans to listen. Examples of recordings were given by THE MAN during his interview with Euro-Rock Press: “Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony, Prokofiev’s “Aleksandr Nevsky” or Armenian composer Alan Hovhaness’s Second Symphony “Mysterious Mountain”, are unsurpassable.”

Watch out for emergencies, they are your big chance!” – Fritz Reiner

Dmitri Shostakovich

Fritz Reiner