I pinched this beautiful motet in German by Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901) from the Anglican Diaspora forum, but I have my own thoughts about this little-known nineteenth-century composer born in Leichtenstein amidst the soaring Alps.
Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden, und der Tag hat sich geneiget (Abide with us as evening shadows fall and the day has ended).
Rheinberger’s music is certainly classical for his era, easy to play because it is generally so predictable. At least, that is for his organ music. Perhaps this music can be characterised in terms of combining the romantic spirit with classical counterpoint and form. One cannot but think of Mendelssohn, but Rheinberger’s style is definitely personal and lacks the weight and turgidity of Reger. Rheinberger, unlike Reger, Brahms or Beethoven, is not mentioned in connection with the German school of absolute music, opposed to the view that music has to have “meaning” or imitate some other aesthetic reality, but I see him in this tradition.
Does Rheinberger lack inspiration? That is difficult to say, but it has charm, intimacy and beauty. I have downloaded from Youtube a lovely organ concerto, a piano concerto and some chamber music. My music school choir here in Normandy put on Rheinberger’s Stabat Mater last summer.
Rheinberger merits being better known like our own Charles Villiers Stanford in England. I have to admit that Stanford seems to have that much more “punch”, especially in his symphonic works.