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Ferdinand Ries

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Ferdinand Ries (Bonn, baptised November 28, 1784 – January 13, 1838), from a musical family of Bonn,[1] was a friend and pupil of Beethoven who published in 1838 a collection of reminiscences of his teacher, co-written with Franz Wegeler. He was also a composer who left eight symphonies, a violin concerto and nine piano concertos, and numerous other works in many genres. Of these the symphonies, some chamber works — most of them with piano — and his piano concertos have been recorded, demonstrating a style which is not surprisingly somewhere between that of the Classic and early Romantic eras.

The French dissolved the Electoral court of Bonn and disbanded its orchestra, but in the early months of 1803 the penniless Ries managed to reach Vienna, with a letter of introduction to Beethoven, who had received some early instruction at Bonn from Ries’ father, Franz Anton. Beethoven took great care of the young man, teaching him piano, sending him to Albrechtsberger for harmony and composition and securing for him positions as piano tutor in aristocratic households in Baden and Silesia. Ries made his public debut as a pianist in July 1804, playing Beethoven’s C minor concerto, Op. 37, with his own cadenza, to glowing reviews.

Ries worked for Beethoven as secretary and copyist, winning Beethoven’s confidence in negotiations with publishers and becoming a fast friend. But he feared conscription in the French occupying army, though he was blind in one eye and fled Vienna (September 1805), then spent two years in Paris before returning to Vienna, then concertized his way about Europe, landing in London in 1813.

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