Peter Winter

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About Peter Winter

Like most German composers of opera during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Winter was a derivative artisan. His most successful compositions were his operas, approximately forty stage works in all, that show Italian and French influences; unfortunately, German opera had not developed to the point where specific German operatic characteristics were present in his music. He was a fine violinist who played in the Mannheim court orchestra beginning at an early age. He also played double bass for the orchestra on occasion. Winter became the director of the orchestra when it went to Munich in 1778 and acceded to the position of Kapellmeister by 1798. It was during the last decade of the eighteenth century that Winter presented his first successful opera, "Das unterbrochene Opferfest" in Vienna. Winter was able to employ all the forms that he learned to an exceptional degree but nothing personal or individual marked his works with, perhaps the exception, of facile cantibile melodies but which he learned from Salieri. Included in the other operas composed by Winter was "Das Labyrinth" a pale sequel to Mozart's "Die Zauberflote." The later works that were composed by Winter helped to bring in the Romantic era of composition with a sense of instrumental coloration, chromatic hues, and large-scale productions. ~ Keith Johnson