Bernhard Romberg, 3

By 1643 Bernhard had already played for the Munster public with his cousin Andreas Romberg (1767-1821), who later became an illustrious violinist. The boys were then both seven years old. For several years afterwards, the young musicians toured together successfully in different European countries. In 1776 they visited Holland, in 1782 Frankfurt am Main, and in the 1784-1785 season, Paris. Their successful performance in one of the salons brought about an invitation to the "Concerts Spirituels."

Bernhard and Andreas made so great an impression on the famous French musician Francois Philidor that he introduced them to Jean Battist Viotti, thus enabling them to listen to this outstanding violinist. In Paris they heard Gluck's operas, Haydn's oratorios etc. One can imagine how greatly the 16-year old Romberg was impressed by the art of Duport and other French virtuosi, and it is very probable that the French influences which later manifested themselves in Romberg's creative work were, to a certain extent, connected with his youthful impressions.

Back in Munster, Romberg devoted himself assiduously to studying the cello. For several years, Bernhard and Andreas played in the Munster court orchestra. The Archbishop of Cologne, who in 1790 passed through Munster and happened to hear them play, invited the young performers to the Bonn Chapel. There they made friends with such musicians as Christian Neefe, Ludwig van Beethoven (who played organ and viola there), the Ries family, the leading Czech cellist Joseph Reicha (1752-1795), who might have also taught Romberg, and some others. Franz Ries, Andreas Romberg, Ludwig van Beethoven and Bernhard Romberg formed a quartet.

There is also information about a trio formed by Beethoven, Ries and Romberg. If we add that by that time Romberg performed solo cello quite often and played his own compositions, it is clear that the atmosphere in Bonn was extremely partial to the young musician.

Very significant for Romberg's intellectual development was the fact that Bonn, situated not far from the Rhine and a university town, was especially influenced at that time by the progressive ideas of the French revolution.

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