At the age of five Joseph Rhienberger began learning piano and organ with a local teacher in his hometown of Vaduz. His musical talents made an immediate impression, and only two years later, at the age of seven, he became organist for the Florin Chapel. Several years later, after persuading his father he should pursue a musical career, Rhienberger was sent to the Royal Conservatory in Munich where he studied for three years with the aid of a scholarship.
Rhienberger was to remain in Munich his entire life – although his reputation as a leading teacher of composition, and as an accomplished organist and choral master, extended much further. As a composer, Rhienberger is best known for his organ music, particularly for his mastery of the art of fugue.
This Nonet is notable both for its impeccable craftsmanship and for its unusual scoring. Rhienberger’s melodic expertise is apparent from the opening movement, and is at its best in the expansive third movement, which sits at the heart of the Nonet. The second movement, in minuet form, illustrates Rheinberger’s mastery of musical traditions, while the work’s lively finale is an unconstrained display of the composer’s natural creativity.