Keiser, Reinhard [Cesare, Rinardo]
- John H. Roberts
(b Teuchern, nr Weissenfels, Germany, 10 or Jan 11, 1674 [bap. 12 Jan]; d Hamburg, Sept 12, 1739). German composer. He was the foremost composer of German Baroque opera.
Keiser was the son of Gottfried Keiser (d before 1732), an organist and composer, and Agnesa Dorothea von Etzdorff (1657–1732), who had married only four months before his birth. The elder Keiser seems to have lost or given up his position as organist at Teuchern in 1674 or 1675 and departed, leaving his wife and two sons behind. On 13 July 1685 Keiser enrolled at the Thomasschule, Leipzig, for seven years, and it was there presumably that he received his principal musical education, studying under Johann Schelle and perhaps Johann Kuhnau. Mattheson observed, however, that he owed his composing skill almost entirely to natural ability and the study of the best Italian music.
After leaving the Thomasschule, Keiser probably soon made his way to Brunswick, where the court opera was flourishing under the leadership of Johann Kusser; by ...