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Florizel von Reuter

Florizel Reuter was born on 21 January 1890 (other sources say 1891 or 1893) in Davenport (Iowa, USA). His father was a musician himself, and his mother could play the violin and gave Florizel Reuter his first violin lessons. He showed exceptional talent and was invited to study with Max Bendix, the concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, at the age of 5. He was invited to the White House to perform in front of president McKinley in 1899 and then went to Europe to study with Emile Sauret, Cesar Thomson and Henri Marteau. He graduated from the Geneva Conservatory in 1901 as one of the youngest students ever.


After the graduation Florizel Reuter toured through Europe and the US for many years. First he was promoted as a child prodigy, later in a mature age he added the „von“ to his name to indicate German aristocracy. In addition to his concert tours Florizel von Reuter took over the position of the director of the „Zürcher Musikakademie“ in 1916 to 1917 and later of the „Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst“ in Vienna from 1931 to 1933.


Beside his work as a soloist and teacher Florizel von Reuter was involved into parapsychology through his mother in the 1920s. He stated to be psychic and could contact deceased musicians like Paganini, Locatelli, Tartini or Sarasate and talk to them. So for a few years he also acted as a medium and wrote books and articles on the topic.

Florizel von Reuter stayed in Germany during the World War II. In the late 1940s he moved back to the US and settled in Waukesha (Wisconsin). He became the concertmaster of the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra (now called the Wisconsin Philharmonic) and worked as a teacher until his death. Florizel von Reuter died on 10 May 1985 in Waukesha.


Florizel von Reuter composed a small number of works, mainly for his own instrument, the violin. Most of his compositions are forgotten nowadays and it is symptomatic that the composer Florizel von Reuter is now best remembered for the completion of the „Andante and Rondo capriccioso, for violin and orchestra“ by Max Reger which was left unfinished (the work was also renamed by von Reuter to „Symphonic Rhapsody“).

Among the compositions for violin and orchestra by Florizel von Reuter are:


  • A portrait gallery, for violin and orchestra (1926)
  • Violin concerto No.1 (1933)
  • Rhapsody for violin and orchestra (1940)
  • Violin concerto No.2 (1958)
  • Concerto grosso for 2 violins and orchestra (1966)
  • Scottish rhapsody, for violin and orchestra


The original manuscripts of the compositions of Florizel von Reuter are archived at the Wisconsin Philharmonic. But a few autograph manuscripts are in my possession as well:

1) Symphonic Rhapsody


In 1916 Max Reger started to compose an "Andante und Rondo capriccioso, for violin and small orchestra". But Reger died in May 1916 before he could finish the composition. When Florizel von Reuter visited Elsa Reger, the widow of Max Reger, in Munich in 1931 due to a concert performance, he learned about the unfinished composition. He asked for the permission to complete the work which Elsa Reger granted to him. Florizel von Reuter immediately started the task and completed the composition in piano reduction within 7 days! The premiere of this version took place on 15 February 1932 in Vienna with Florizel von Reuter (violin) and Franz Schmidt (piano). The orchestration took a few months and was premiered on 7 November 1932 in Munich with Florizel von Reuter (violin), the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra under Siegmund von Hausegger.


In my possession is the autograph manuscript of the piano reduction of the "Symphonic Rhapsody". The manuscript consists of 10 double sheet music papers of the two brands "Passantino Brands No.8 - 12 STAVE Piano and Voice" and "Parchment Brand No.11 - 12 Lines". The first page bears the handwritten title "Reger-Reuter / Symphonische Rhapsodie / for violin and orchestra / Piano score".


The full orchestral score of the "Symphonic rhapsody" was already published by Universal Edition in 1933, but was only available for hire and just as a facsimile of the autograph manuscript. The piano reduction was completely left out and therefore I decided to typeset my autograph to present here for the first time the piano reduction of the "Symphonic rhapsody" by Max Reger and Florizel von Reuter:

In addition to the autograph manuscript I also own some documents that correspond to some performances of the work:

  • Typed letter signed by Siegmund von Hausegger, the conductor of the premiere. Siegmund von Hausegger wrote on 3 January 1933 as the president of the "Staatliche Akademie der Tonkunst" in Munich and used his personal stationary. He praises the composition and especially the completion by Florizel von Reuter.
  • Copy of a handwritten letter by Felix Weingartner from 12 February 1934. Weingartner also praises the completion of the Reger work: "If I had not known the creation of the work, I should unhesitatingly have pronounced it all to be genuine Reger, and a good Reger."
  • Copy of a special issue of "Die Musikwoche - Fachzeitschrift für Orchestermusiker, Musikerzieher und Unterhaltungsmusiker" (9. vol, 18. issue) from 3 May 1941. This issue of 4 pages is exclusively dedicated to the completion of the last Reger composition. The text was written by Ernst Krienitz.
  • advertising brochure about the "Symphonic Rhapsody" with testimonials by Siegmund von Hausegger, Heinrich Laber and Adalbert Lindner as well as 7 press reviews all dating from 1933. No publisher mentioned, so maybe a private print.
  • Original typed text by Florizel von Reuter (most likely) for the program brochure of the US premiere of the "Symphonic Rhapsody" on 5 February 1952 with the Waukesha Symphony (now Wisconsin Philharmonic). The text gives details about the creation of the work and its reception in the musical world, as well as biographical information about Florizel von Reuter.
  • press reviews from 6 February 1952 about the US premiere from the "Milwaukee Journal" and the "Daily Freeman"

2) Concerto grosso


The "Concerto grosso for 2 violins and orchestra" was composed in 1966. I have no further information about a performance.

In my possession is the autograph manuscript of the Cadenza for the two solo violins. The manuscript consists of one double sheet music paper of the brand "The '440' Brand No.3". The Cadenza is written down on all four pages.


I have typeset the full score of the Concerto grosso and present it here for study purposes:

PDF-Dokument [1.2 MB]


3) Menuet


Several autograph parts for 1st, 2nd and 3rd violins as well as parts for flute, oboe and horn for a "Menuet". It seems that this belongs to an orchestral composition, but it is unclear to which work.



4) autographs


Florizel von Reuter was also an avid autograph collector and started while still in his teens. As a child prodigy he met many famous celebrities from the world of classical music but also actors, writers and from nobility. He published the most famous autographs in a book titled "Great People I Have Known" in 1961 (of which I own a copy with an autograph dedication to "my esteemed colleague Arthur Tabachnick", concertmaster of Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra)

I was able to obtain a few of the original autographs from the estate of Florizel von Reuter. These include:

  • Emma Albani (1847-1930), soprano
  • Waldemar Pahnke (1871-1934), violinist and composer
  • Tor Aulin (1866-1914), composer
  • Hans Richter-Haaser (1912-1980), pianist
  • Ludwig Wüllner (1858-1938), tenor
  • Waldemar Meyer (1853-1940), violinist
  • Emma Cecilia Thursby (1845-1931), singer
  • Leonid Kreutzer (1884-1953), pianist
  • Helene Vacaresco (1864-1947), writer
  • Jean de Reszke (1850-1925), tenor
  • Carl Albrecht Bernoulli (1868-1937), writer
  • Isabelle Kaiser (1866-1925), writer
  • Gertrud Eysoldt (1870-1955), actress
  • Heinrich Hammer (1862-1954), conductor
  • Hugo Heermann (1844-1935), violinist
  • Countess Eleonora Zichy (1867-1945), noblewoman
  • Charles Treger (*1935), violinist
  • Minnie Tracey (1874-1929), soprano
  • Camilla Landi (1866-?), mezzosoprano
  • Louis van Waefelghem (1840-1908), violinist
  • Coquelin Cadet (1848-1909), actor
  • Frank Glazer (1915-2015), pianist
  • Lois Marshall (1925-1997), soprano
  • Donald Gramm (1927-1983), bass-baritone
  • Ewald Bach (1871-1920), actor
  • Elvira Bach Clemens (1878-?), actress

5) printed scores


I am also interested in printed scores of compositions by Florizel von Reuter. Not much was published, only a handful of his works. Here is what I could gather so far:


  • Concerto in C minor for piano and orchestra (1940). Privately published copy of the autograph manuscript of the piano reduction of this concerto. 46 pages. According to the score the concerto was finished on 9 March 1940.

In addition to the autograph manuscripts I received copies of all violin and orchestra compositions by Florizel von Reuter through the Wisconsin Philharmonic and also the kind permission to publish these works. So far I created scores for the two Violin concertos which can be downloaded below:



Violin concerto No.1


The violin concerto No.1 was composed in late 1933 and premiered on 10 January 1934 by Florizel von Reuter (violin), the Städtisches Orchester Görlitz under Walter Schartner (conductor).

The following review of the premiere was published in "Neue Zeitschrift für Musik", volume 101 (1934), issue 2, page 216:


"Violinist Florizel von Reuter already revealed himself as a composer through his empathic and stylish completion of the unfinished Symphonic Rhapsody (for solo violin and orchestra) by Max Reger. Now he just finished his new violin concerto in d minor during the days of Christmas and premiered it at the 367. symphony concert of the „Verein der Musikfreunde“ at the town hall in Görlitz on 10 January.


The single movement work splits into four sections and is a free fantasy on an own joyful, heroic-gorgeous theme. The main theme returns in the finale and gives the work a brilliant conclusion. The complete work is written in a traditional style and the composer did not want to arrange a new relation between solo instrument and orchestra: the orchestra mainly fulfills an accompanying part, the concertante style becomes noticeable just in a few echo effects. The orchestration is deliberately restrained and sparse, beside of certain bizarre sound effects in the Scherzo movement and some important thematic parts, which are emphasized and lead to lovely climaxes.


It goes without saying that the solo part is rewarding and written violinistically despite its difficulties. The concerto belongs to the category of lively virtuoso concertos at first sight, but gains greater interest because of its sensible warmth and inner truth which brings form and content to a regarded humanly and musically match. As a result the composer could forego cheap effects and unnecessary exaggeration without lowering his success.


The composer, whose obvious evolution from a virtuoso to a responsible artist was witnessed with increasing sympathy in Görlitz over the last years, performed the Brahms concerto at the same place last year in perfect beauty and now played his own work with beautiful clarity. The Städtische Orchester under the baton of Walter Schartner accompanied carefully and with exquisite sound; the success was powerful and without any doubt. It speaks in the works favour that the concerto could compete seriously with the Hiller Variations, the Symphonic Rhapsody and the Vaterländische Ouvertüre in a highly challenging Reger concert evening."


PDF-Dokument [1.6 MB]

Violin concerto No.2


The Violin concerto No.2 was composed in 1958. There is no information about a premiere performance.

PDF-Dokument [1.6 MB]
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© Tobias Broeker