Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is revered as one of the most famous and influential composers of all time and was a key figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic periods of western music.
Beethoven was born into a musical family in the city of Bonn, Germany. His father Johann was an instrumentalist at the electoral court and was Beethoven’s piano teacher. Ludwig was the eldest of three sons and Johann was determined to have him follow in Mozart’s footsteps as a child prodigy.
At the age of ten, Beethoven received outside instruction from the electoral court composer and organist, Christian Gottlob Neefe. Neefe was responsible for the publication of Beethoven’s first composition, which was a set of keyboard variations.
At the age of twenty one Beethoven moved to Vienna to study with Josef Haydn, and it was around this time that he began to make a name for himself as a virtuoso pianist. By the age of thirty Beethoven had started to lose his hearing. It caused him great misery and by his early forties he decided to give up conducting and performing in public. It did not prevent him, however, from continuing to compose music until his death in 1872.
Beethoven wrote two Romances for violin and orchestra, Romance No. 1 in G Major and Romance No. 2 in F major. Although Romance no. 1 was written in 1802 and published in 1803, it had actually been written four years after Romance no. 2 which was not published until 1805. Beethoven's Romanzen do not follow the typical classical Romance form of a triple rhythm with three beats to the bar but rather begin with a theme and are followed by variations.
Below is a performance of Beethoven's Romance No. 1 In G Major by Rinaud Capuçon and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.