Winter, Peter von



Famous German composer; born at Mannheim. At the age of ten he played the violin in the Elector Karl Theodor's celebrated band. He was a pupil of Abbe Vogler for a time, but his knowledge of composition was due mainly to his own efforts. At twenty-two he was musical director of the Court Theatre. In this capacity he became acquainted with Mozart, whom he came to heartily dislike. He followed the court upon its removal to Munich in 1778 and in 1788 he became Court chapelmaster, which position he held until his death. He was highly esteemed, and leave of absence covering two or three years was granted him on several occasions. He visited Vienna twice, each time producing some of his own compositions. His intimacy with Salieri influenced him to give more attention to the vocal parts in his works, which was highly important. At different times he visited Naples, Venice, Prague, Paris, London and, on his last trip Milan and Genoa, 1817 to 1819. He died in Munich. The greatest favorites among Winter's operas were Maria von Montalban and Unterbrochene Opferfest, given in Italy as II Sacrifizio interrotto, the latter having particularly catchy airs. He composed a great deal of church-music, cantatas, lieder, part-songs, and symphonies, overtures and concerted pieces for various instruments. Most of his compositions have long since been forgotten but his Singing Method is still used somewhat. His church works were better than his operas. A number are still to be found in the Royal Chapel at Munich.