"What We're Listening To" Ludwig van Beethoven's Romance No. 2 in F Major
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 eras 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 first teacher 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, but it did not prevent him from continuing to compose music. His inner turmoil was apparent 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.
Below is a video of Beethoven's Romance No. 2 in F Major performed by violinist Renaud Capuçon with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, conducted by Kurt Masur.