Beethoven - Made in the Rhineland, part three | Music | DW | 05.07.2019
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Beethoven - Made in the Rhineland, part three

This hour: the kind of music the young Beethoven was immersed in during his youth in the Rhineland, including works by his teacher Christian Gottlob Neefe and two cousins named Romberg.

Listen to audio 54:59

Concert Hour: Made in the Rheinland, part three

The concert begins with a piano quintet that fortepianist Christine Schornsheim describes as one with "beautiful moments but no surprises." Schornsheim advises: "Just sit back and relax and listen to something pleasant. Just don't expect to be surprised." 

But what could be wrong with simply lovely music? Discover for yourself. 

Beethoven is the most famous star of the city of Bonn, but they also know that that star didn't fall from the sky. Both Ludwig's father and grandfather were musicians, he had the best possible musical tutelage and could hear all the latest music from all over Europe and play it in the court orchestra. 

Bernhard Romberg (picture-alliance/imageBROKER)

Bernhard Romberg (1772-1841)

This concert gives us a taste of the music that the young Ludwig was exposed to, or music written by people he knew. Such as a double act, the Rombergs, one a cellist, the other a violinist. As cousins, they performed together, and sort of like Lennon and McCartney, they wrote music together too.

We'll hear the Rombergs' collaborative opus one. Flutist Verena Fischer was pleased that it ended up on the playbill. "For many years, all you got to hear were the great composers," she explained to DW. "But when people began to play on historic instruments, they started searching in libraries for other scores – and were astonished to find that there's so much more music out there. I think it's important to put the great composers in the context of their time. That makes them even greater somehow. And at the same time, you find this or that other piece that deserves to be played. This is not about discovering a new Beethoven. It's about experiencing the context of his music."

Christian Gottlob Neefe, known as Ludwig van Beethoven's teacher, may be a footnote in music history, but his piano music shows astonishing verve. Reminding us of the fact that the young Beethoven played the organ too, we have an organ piece by Neefe: variations on the Priests' March from Mozart's "Magic Flute," written when that music was just a couple of years old and a hit all across Europe.

Andreas Romberg (gemeinfrei)

Andreas Romberg (1767-1821)

Felice Giardini
Piano quintet in G Major, op. 11, No. 1

Andreas Romberg / Bernhard Romberg 
Quintet in C Major for flute, violin, two violas and cello, op. 1

performed by:
Elisabeth Weber, violin
Petar Mancev, violin 
Priscila Rodriguez-Cabaleiro, viola
Linda Mantcheva, cello
Verena Fischer, flute
Christine Schornsheim, fortepiano

Recorded by Radio Deutschlandfunk (DLF) in the Little Beethoven Hall, Bonn on September 4, 2018

Christian Gottlob Neefe
Variations on the priests' march theme from The Magic Flute by Mozart 

performed by:
Johannes Geffert, organ 
on Motette 13841 

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