Marga Richter

  • Visual experiences and nature are the primary inspirations for Marga Richter’s music. Sources as varied as the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, a New England winter scene and the exotic landscape of Tibet have all served to trigger the composer’s creative responses.

    A daughter of American soprano Inez Chandler and granddaughter (on her father’s side) of German composer/conductor Richard Richter, Marga Richter was born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin in 1926, and received her early musical training in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1943, the family moved – en masse – to New York so that she could enroll at the Juilliard School where she majored in composition with William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti, and studied piano with Rosalyn Tureck, receiving a Master’s Degree in 1951. While still in her twenties, a series of pieces commissioned by MGM Records brought national recognition.

    Over the years the Richter oeuvre has grown to include virtually every genre of composition: opera, solo, chamber, choral and orchestral works. Among her signature pieces are Blackberry Vines and Winter Fruit, an orchestral work evoking a Vermont winter; the Landscapes of the Mind series, three works – Landscapes of the Mind I, a piano concerto, Landscapes of the Mind II, for violin and piano, and Landscapes of the Mind III for piano, violin and cello – derived from Richter’s response to two paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe (Sky Above Clouds II and Pelvis I); a 1988 work, Qhanri (snow mountain) for cello and piano, subtitled “Tibetan Variations,” Richter’s musical portrait of the landscape and people of that country; Lament for string orchestra, an enduring early piece that is often performed and has been recorded twice; and Riders to the Sea, a one act chamber opera.

    Richter’s music has been played by more than 45 orchestras here and abroad, including the Minnesota Orchestra, the Milwaukee and Atlanta Symphonies, the London Philharmonic, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Buffalo Philharmonic. Among the artists who have championed her music are Jessye Norman, Menahem Pressler, William Masselos, the late Natalie Hinderas, and Daniel Heifetz who included her Landscapes of the Mind II in his prize-winning Tchaikovsky Competition concert in Moscow. She has received grants, awards, and commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund, the National Federation of Music Clubs, Meet-the-Composer and ASCAP. An accomplished pianist, she frequently performs her own compositions.

  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
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    Darkening Of Light FE134
    Darkening Of Light-Cell FE136
    Eight Pieces for Piano FE135
    A Farewell CY1501
    Four Piano Pieces CY1502 Piano
    Fragments CY1518 Piano
    Fragments FE210
    The Lost People, The Dancers CY1506 Piano
    Masters Of Our Day O5409 Piano
    One for Two and Two for FE208
    Remembrances for Piano 160-00192
    Requiem FE205 solo Piano
    Soundings CY1514 solo Harpsichord
    Soundings-Harpsichord FE83
    Sonata for Piano CY1524 Piano
    Suite for Solo Viola CY1536 solo Viola
    Variations On A Theme B FE84
    Landscapes Of The Mind Ii CY1515 full score, vln., pno.
    Landscapes Of The Mind Iii CY3409 full score, vln., vlc., pno.
    Melodrama CY1517 2 Pianos 4 Hands
    Qhanri CY3410 Cello and Piano
    For Brass Quartet
    FE209 4:00 trumpet 1 in Bb??, trumpet 2 in Bb??, trombone 1 or Horn in F, trombone 2 or tuba
    Sea Cliff Variations CY3335 full score, vln., vla., vlc., pno.
    Sonata for Clarinet and Piano CY1512 clarinet and piano (set)
    Suite for Violin and Piano CY3337 full score, vln., pno.
    Bird of Yearning 21226 30:00 2 1 2 1 – 2 1 1 0; Timp. Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.-or-2 2 2 2 – 4 2 2 0; Timp. Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.
    Blackberry Vines and Winter Fruit O5073 13:00 Orchestra
    Blackberry Vines and Winter Fruit 21227 13:00 3(Fl.2 dbl. A.Fl. / Fl.3. dbl.Picc.) 2 2(dbl.B.Cl.) – 4 3 2 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    Concerto for Piano, Violas, Cellos and Basses 21228 21:00 pno.; vla.(4), vcl.(4), cb.(2)
    Dusseldorf Concerto 21229 20:00 Solo flute (dbl. picc., b. fl.), viola; Perc. Hp. Str.
    Eight Pieces for Orchestra 21230 7:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.
    Fragments: Five Pieces for Orchestra 21231 6:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2(dbl.B.Cl.) 2 – 2 1 1 1; Timp. Perc. Cel. Hp. Str.
    Landscapes of the Mind I 21232 29:00 Solo Pno.; 3(Fl.2 dbl. A.Fl., Fl.3 dbl.Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 4 0 0; Timp. Perc.(2 or 3), Cel. Elec.Gtr., Elec.B.Gtr., Elec. Tamboura or sitar. Hp. Str.
    Out of Shadows and Solitude 21233 16:00 3(dbl. Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark
    for Orchestra
    23634 5:00 2 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    Riders to the Sea 21234 55:00 soprano (2), mezzo-sop., contralto, tenor, baritone, men’s chorus, women’s chorus; 1 (picc., penny whistle); accord.; perc.; celtic Hp. Str.
    Spectral Chimes: Enshrouded Hills
    for Three Quintets and Orchestra
    21235 27:00 Woodwind quintet: fl.(picc., a. fl.), ob., cl., bsn.; hn.; Brass quintet: tpt.(2), hn., tbn., t; String quintet: vln.(2), vla., vcl., cb.; Orchestra: 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2 (dbl.B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 2 2 2 0; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    Variations and Interludes on Themes from Monteverdi and Bach 21236 42:00 Solo violin, cello and piano; 3(Fl.2-3 dbl. Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    Variations on a Sarabande 21237 8:30 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 2 2 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.