In 1791, Romberg and other court musicians (Beethoven was with them also) visited Marhentheim, where he performed his concerto. Here is what Karl Ludwig Junker wrote about him at that time:
"Romberg, the younger, combines in his violoncello playing extraordinary rapidity with charming rendering. This rendering is the more marked and decided when he is heard in connection with the greater number of violoncellists. The tone which he produces from his instrument is, moreover-especially in the expressive parts-extremely clear, firm, and penetrating. Taking into consideration the difficulty of the instrument, a thoroughly marked purity of tone in the extraordinarily quick rendering of the Allegro, must be attributed to him in the highest degree. Yet this after all is mere mechanical readiness. The connoisseur has another standard by which he measures the greatness of artists and this is the manner of playing, the perfection of expression or the spiritual interpretation. Once on this point, the connoisseur will pronounce in favor of the expressive Adagio. It is impossible more deeply to penetrate into the more delicate hues of feeling-impossible to color them with more variety-to enhance them, moreover, by greater light and shade-impossible to hit more exactly the very tones through which this feeling has utterance, tones which appeal more directly to the heart than Romberg succeeds in doing in his Adagio."
Influenced by the advancing French revolutionary army, the situation in Cologne changed quickly, resulting in disbanding of the Chapel in 1793. Bernhard and Andreas Romberg left Bonn, to settle in Hamburg, where for several years they combined concert performances with playing in a theatre orchestra.
In 1796 the two musicians made a tour of Italy, and were invariably successfiil in Rome, Naples and other cities. In autumn of that year, on their way back to Hamburg, they stayed for a period in Vienna where they were introduced to Joseph Haydn. He treated them affably, and cordially helped out so that Viennese art patrons gave the musicians a hearty welcome. Here Romberg met Beethoven, who took part in his concert. Together they played two of Beethoven's Sonatas, Op. 5, which had been composed not long before.
After about two years in Hamburg, Romberg journeyed to England, Portugal and Spain in 1799, parting with Andreas for the first time. Romberg cherished especially rich memories of his visits to Madrid. Spanish influences are often felt in his works, for example, "Fandango" in the finale of the Second Concerto or "Capricho y Rondo en elgusto espanol con una misceliana de Bolero, Gitato, Cachirulo y Zorongo."
After returning to Hamburg for a while (he had married by then), Romberg again visited Paris in 1800 and played with dazzling success in the concerts "de la rue de Clery", "du theatre des Victoires", and others. Romberg's exceptional mastery immediately indicated that he was a cellist with the same standing as the French virtuosos Duport and Lamare. "His glorious talent was at the zenith of its power at that time," wrote Francois-Joseph Fetis. "Romberg was in no way inferior to Duport and Lamarre in force and power of the performance, though Duport's tone was rounder and softer and Lamarre's style more delicate and elegant.
At the beginning of 1801, Romberg was offered a professorship at the Paris Conservatoire, and he taught there until the end of 1802. Romberg's first four Concertos Op. 2, 3, 6, and 7 were also published in Paris. On the title pages of the final three, he was cited as a "membre du Conservatoire de musique" but apparently this educational mission held little attraction for him, and he returned to Hamburg.
Cello Heaven Home