Meester – leerling

Some of Ludwig van Beethoven’s music teachers

Even Beethoven had music lessons. His father was the first of several of Beethoven’s music instructors, and others were to follow. Here are some who stayed better-known than others…

Franz RIES (1755-1846)

Ries was the young Beethoven’s music violin teacher at Bonn.

His son, Ferdinand (1784-1838) was a student of Beethoven at Vienna , then he helped him until he left Vienna in 1805.

Christian Gottlob NEEFE (1748-1798)

This composer was one of Beethoven’s first teachers, notably of the organ and of composition.

It is difficult to know exactly when Neefe taught Beethoven. He arrived at Bonn in 1779.

But in 1783, Neefe wrote of Beethoven in the “Magazine of music”, “If he continues like this he will, without doubt, become the next Mozart”.

Beethoven always recognised how much he owed to Neefe.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)

Famous composer who taught Beethoven from 1792 to 1794, which was when Haydn returned to London.

Haydn taught Beethoven counterpoint, amongst other things.

The relationship between the two men was variable, but Beethoven remained very attatched to “Papa Haydn”.

Johann Georg ALBRECHTSBERGER (1736-1809)

Beethoven’s music teacher for about a year and a half in 1794 and 1795.

Albrechtsberger was renouwned for his mastery of counterpoint.

He followed on from Haydn, even Beethoven followed two lessons from two masters at the same time.

Antonio SALIERI (1750-1825)

Beethoven studied with Salieri from 1800 to 1802. Salieri taught him singing, essentially for the opera.

There was little contact between the two composers afterwards.


220px-Bridgetower2George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower (11 October 1778 – 29 February 1860) was an Afro-European born in Poland. He grew to be a virtuoso violinist, living in England for much of his life. He was born in Biała in Galicia, where his father worked for Hieronim Wincenty Radziwiłł, in 1778. He was baptised Hieronimo Hyppolito de Augusto on 11 October 1778.

He was given leave to visit his mother and brother (a cellist) in Dresden in 1802, giving concerts there. He visited Vienna later in 1803, where he performed with Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven was impressed, and dedicated his great Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major (Op.47) to Bridgetower, with the goodheartedly mocking dedication Sonata per un mulattico lunatico. Barely finished, the piece received its first public performance at the Augarten Theatre on 24 May 1803, with Beethoven on pianoforte and Bridgetower on violin. Bridgetower had to read the violin part of the second movement from Beethoven’s copy, over his shoulder. He made a slight amendment to his part, which Beethoven gratefully accepted, jumping up to say “Noch einmal, mein lieber Bursch!” (“Once more, my dear fellow!”). Beethoven also presented Bridgetower with his tuning fork, now held by the British Library. The pair fell out soon afterwards, Bridgetower having insulted a woman who turned out to be Beethoven’s friend; Beethoven broke off all relations with Bridgetower and changed the dedication of the new violin sonata to the violin virtuoso Rudolphe Kreutzer, who never played it, saying that it had already been performed once and was too difficult — the piece is now known as the Kreutzer Sonata. The Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Rita Dove dramatized the relationship between Beethoven and Bridgetower in the book-length lyric narrative Sonata Mulattica.

PortraitertmannDorothea von Ertmann (born Dorothea Graumann, 3 May 1781 – 16 March 1849) was a German pianist.


Dorothea Graumann was born in Frankfurt and married Stephan von Ertmann, an Austrian infantry officer, in 1798. The couple moved to Vienna, where Dorothea Ertmann began taking lessons with Ludwig van Beethoven; he called her his “Dorothea-Cecilia”. He dedicated his Piano Sonata No. 28 to her, and she may also have been the intended recipient of his Immortal Beloved letters. Her only child, Franz Carl, died at a young age in March 1804. While she was in mourning, Beethoven invited her to his home and improvised on the piano for her for an hour in order to comfort her, saying “We will now talk to each other in tones”. Ertmann premiered his Cello Sonata No. 3 on 5 March 1809 with Nikolaus Kraft. She and her husband moved to Milan in 1820, where she was visited by Felix Mendelssohn, but after her husband’s death in 1835 she returned to Vienna where she died.

Ertmann gave a number of public concerts and was most noted for her performance of Beethoven’s compositions: Alexander Thayer said that “all contemporary authorities agree, [she was] if not the greatest player of these works at least the greatest of her sex”. Anton Schindler suggested that “she grasped intuitively even the most hidden subtleties of Beethoven’s works with as much certainty as if they had been written out before her eyes”. He also said that “without Frau von Ertmann, Beethoven’s music would have disappeared even sooner from the repertory” because she created a musical salon dedicating to preserving his style against the rise of newer, more “fashionable” composers.

The German opera singer and teacher Mathilde Marchesi, née Graumann, was her niece.

The biography of Beethoven shows that he didn’t take on many music pupils.
Those few who had this honor remained faithful and very attached to him. This page presents a few of them..

Ferdinand RIES (1784-1838)

Ferdinand Ries, son of Franz Ries, was born at Bonn. Beethoven knew his father, who taught him music, and always remained very close to the Ries family, notably due to Ries’ help at the death of Beethoven’s mother.

When Ferdinand arrived at Vienne in 1803, he was 18 and already a good musician.

He presented himself at Beethoven’s house with a letter of recommendation from his father. Beethoven took on Ferdinand Ries three times a week for an hour and a half each lesson until 1805.

Ferdinand Ries


Beethoven helped him to find work at Vienna, at the residence of Count Browne, and then for Prince Lichnowsky. Ferdinand Ries also worked as Beethoven’s scribe and copier.

In 1805, Ries left Vienna, but he never forgot his master. He dedicated to him his Two Sonatas for Piano, Opus 1.

In 1813, he went to London and became a member of the Philharmonic Society in 1815. The Society, through Ries, invited Beethoven to London. Beethoven never went, although he spoke about it often.

Having become rich, thanks to his music and to the lessons he gave, Ries settled definitively at Frankfurt.

In 1938, Ferdinand Ries and Gerhard Wegeler published their meetings with Beethoven, entitled “Biographical Notices”.

Ries composed operas, oratorios, several symphonies and other works, notably for piano. It is difficult to get hold of them today. Having become rich, thanks to his music and to the lessons he gave, Ries settled definitively at Frankfurt.

In 1938, Ferdinand Ries and Gerhard Wegeler published their meetings with Beethoven, entitled “Biographical Notices”.

Ries composed operas, oratorios, several symphonies and other works, notably for piano. It is difficult to get hold of them today.

Arrangements of Beethoven’s works by Ferdinand Ries:

– the 2nd, 3rd and 4th String Trios, Opus 9, arranged for Trio for Piano;
– the 7th Sonata for piano, Opus 10 n°3, arranged for string quartet;
– the first six String Quartets, Opus 18, arranged for Trio for Piano;
– the 15th Sonata for piano, named Pastorale, Opus 28, arranged for String Quartet;
– the 7th Sonata for Violin,Opus 30 n°2, arranged for string quartet;
– the 18th Sonata for piano, named La Chasse, Opus 31 n°3, arranged for String Quartet;
– the Second Symphony, Opus 36, arranged for a String Qintet, two double basses, a flute and two horns…

Carl CZERNY (1791-1857)

Beethoven biography information indicates that another of Beethoven’s pupils was Carl Czerny, the son of Wensel Czerny, who was piano master at Vienna from 1786. By the age of ten he knew how to play most of Mozarts works for piano, along with the works of many other renowned artists of the era.

Beethoven, after having heard him, proposed giving him piano lessons. This went on from 1801 to 1803, twice a week, but irregularly.

Czerny had an astonishing gift of memory. Later he played all of Beethoven’s sonatas for piano by heart, notably for Prince Linchnowski.

On Beethoven’s recommendation, Czerny became one of Vienna’s most reputable teachers. He taught Franz Liszt and Queen Victoria, for example. He taught also Karl, Beethoven’s nephew, between 1816 and 1818.

Czerny stayed on good terms with Beethoven and worked on several transcriptions for him.

Carl Czerny wrote many studies for piano. He also published fingerings for Beethoven’s sonatas.

He wrote his memoires in 1842: “Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben”. And, in 1852, he gave his memories to Otto Jahn who published “Anekdoten et notices sur Beethoven”…

Arrangements of Beethoven’s works by Carl Czerny:

– the second version of Leonore, Opus 72, arranged for piano;
– the eigth symphony, Opus 93, arranged for two pianos (and revised the version for two hands by Tobias Haslinger);
– the overture “The Consecration of the House”, Opus 124, arranged for one and two pianos.

After Beethoven’s death, Czerny published an arrangement for two pianos of the nine symphonies.

Johann Joseph Ranier Rudolph (1788-1831) – Archduke Rudolph

Rudolph was the youngest son of Leopold II (emperor from 1790 to 1792). His brother, François became emperor.

He became one of Beethoven’s pupils probably around 1803-1804. He taught him piano and composition. His student was an excellent pianist.

Beethoven taught him daily, for two to three hours, and Beethoven often complained about this constraint; however, often Rudolph was away from Vienna.

In 1809, he became one of Beethoven’s three patrons.

Beethoven dedicated many works to him: the trios “Archiduke”, some sonatas for piano (Les adieux, Hammerklavier), the triple concerto, the Missa Solemnis, the grande Fugue…

The Archduke composed and dedicated to Beethoven 40 variations on Beethoven’s air (WoO 200), and he participated to the Diabelli’s variations as many other composers.

The collection of the first edition of Beethoven’s works, and the letters which the Archduke received from him, are housed at Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna.

Beethoven’s Contemporaries

Anton Reicha (1770-1836)

One of Beethoven’s more famous contemporaries, Anton Reicha was born on February 26th 1770 in Prague. Before his first birthday he lost his father, Simon. From the age of ten, he lived with his uncle Josef Reicha, a prominent cellist and composer at the court of the Öttingen-Wallersteins at Castle Harburg near Ansbach. In 1785, Josef Reicha and his family moved to the Court of the Elector of Cologne in Bonn where Josef took up the prestigious appointment of Kapellmeister (the Elector Maximilian Franz Habsburg was the brother of the Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph II). Antonín was given the second flute position in his uncle’s orchestra, where he met Ludwig van Beethoven (who sat at the back of the viola section) with whom he became lifelong friends.

Following the French invasion of Bonn in 1794, Anton moved to Hamburg. Here he taught the piano, harmony, and composition, while he was trying his hand in composing, and studying. In 1799, he tried his luck with his operas in Paris and in 1801 he moved on to Vienna. Here he went to visit Haydn, with whom he formed a close friendship. He renewed his friendship with Beethoven and took lessons from Albrechtsberger and Salieri. It was there that he read mathematics and philosophy and began to reflect seriously upon pedagogy. Giacomo Meyerbeer, Robert Schumann and Bedrich Smetana are all known to been influenced by Reicha’s treatises.

In 1808 he was back in Paris. Despite still not being very successful with his operas, his fame was rising. Reicha was appointed professor of counterpoint and fugue at the Conservatoire in 1818. The same year, he married Virginie Enaust, with whom he had two daughters.

Although not the first to compose for the wind quintet, he was undeniably the man responsible for its unique popularity during the early years of the nineteenth century. He became one of the Paris Conservatoire’s most respected professors. Among his students were Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz, Henri Brod (oboe virtuoso and composer), Georges Onslow, Charles Gounod, Louise Farrenc (the first woman to be appointed professor of piano at the Paris Conservatoire) and Cesar Franck. He taught several generations of composers who responded to his massive output (he composed at least 28 wind quintets during his lifetime) by adding to the repertoire themselves.

In 1801, he traveled to Vienna, where he was reunited with his friends Beethoven and Haydn. During his stay, Reicha came under the influence of the Mannheim School, and also that of Gluck, Haydn, and Mozart. He studied with both Albrechtsberger and Salieri. By 1808, Reicha had moved permanently to Paris where he remained until his death.

Reicha’s great cycle of 24 quintets were written for five professors at the Paris Conservatoire – all outstanding musicians, renowned for their virtuosity. Reicha obviously had a high level of performance in mind when writing his quintets, which are amongst the most difficult pieces in the early repertoire.

The 24 published wind quintets were composed between the years 1811 and 1820. In 1815, a group was formed for the singular purpose of performing Reicha’s Quintets at a series of subscription concerts. These were held in the foyer of the Théâtre Italien until 1819.

These concerts were massively popular. Attracting a cult following, they created a sensation, and the whole of Parisian society longed to be at the first performances of the newest Reicha quintet. Reicha held a place of great honor in French society. He was welcome in the most important artistic and literary salons, and contemporary French novelists mention the performance of Reicha’s wind quintets in their books.

As a composer, Reicha was obsessed with fugue, especially double fugue. He preferred to work with old-fashioned forms, but pushed them to their very limits; he layered polytonality, polyrhythm and the leitmotiv over the musical forms of the previous century, combining eastern European folk melodies with eighteenth century hardcore counterpoint on a symphonic scale to produce something very modern, a phenomenon which grabbed the attention of the Parisian public as well as that of its aspiring composers.

Reicha’s two most famous students Liszt and Berlioz, studied with him from 1826. In 1831, he was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur.

Reicha died in Paris on May 28th 1836. His incredible achievements show that he’s much more than just one of Beethoven’s contemporaries.

Henri Bertini (1798-1876)

HenriBertiniHenri J. Bertini was born in London in 1798 and died in Meylan (near Grenoble) in 1876. His brother, a pupil of Clementi, gave him his first piano lessons and he very quickly became a recognised virtuoso. On April 20th 1828 he performed his own transcription of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony for eight hands with Franz Liszt (the other two pianists being Sowinsky and Schunke). His position as an important virtuoso was therefore clearly evident at that time.
In one of his letters Hector Berlioz professed himself to be a great admirer of Henri Bertini and that his music “made his heart beat fast”. What a compliment! Bertini later returned the favour, dedicating his last sextet to the French composer.

Even though Franz Liszt and Frédéric Chopin have left us an unmatched legacy in terms of piano études, we must not forget those other lesser masters that worked in the same field with talent, if not genius; here I am thinking of Ignaz Moscheles, Giuseppe Concone, Stephen Heller and Johann Nepomuk Hummel, to name but a few.

That said, Bertini strikes me as being of a higher order; his études are perfectly written for the instrument and almost all have that personal touch, demonstrating a vivid imagination as well as a certain charm that has always intrigued me. They are a pleasure to play, even if some of them are rather difficult technically speaking. Bertini’s études are perfect gems of conciseness, very “utilitarian” but still, nevertheless, highly musical.

This should not surprise us : Bertini was also an undisputed master in chamber music. When, we may ask, will we hear recordings of his six sextets with piano and double bass that are fine examples of this genre ? As far as I know, only the third sextet has been recorded by the Sestetto Classico.

Henri Bertini also wrote a four-hand transcription of Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier”, though this is of no particular interest (Théodore Dubois has also produced his own version).

Bertini’s complete études are hard to come by these days. Given the quality of this music we can only hope that a new critical version may one day be published. There is no doubt that such an edition would be of great interest to all those who love the piano.

The classification of Bertini’s études is problematic : not all bear opus numbers and some sets are grouped in various “cahiers” that are either numbered in sequence or starting afresh each time. In addition, some cahiers bear letters instead of numbers. We have letter L, letter K, but no letter A ! As an example of the confusion that reigns, in the old Lemoine edition the 4th cahier is designated as opus 134, the 5th has no opus number and the 6th is designated as opus 66 ; furthermore, opus 178 has been assigned letter F whereas 122 bears letter G ! Another odd example is opus 134 that serves as the introduction to opus 66. All in all it is very difficult to find one’s way with such contradictory references. Even worse is the fact that some of Bertini’s scores are not in France’s Bibliothèque Nationale !

Franz Liszt composed his “Cantata for the inauguration of the Beethoven Monument at Bonn”, on May 12th 1845.

The words were written by Bernhardt Wolff.

I. What draws the multitude together?
What business summons you here?
To judge by the throng,
today is a day of celebration.You who come from hill and dale,
tell me what brings you here?
You who rest on the steps,
say, who summoned you here?Come and give of your best,
come, whether high-born or lowly,
with the richest, most beautiful songs,
today is truly a day of celebration.It is the day devoted to genius.
II. Like the waves of the sea,
all nations rush past
on the river of time.
Above them, eternally unchanging,
is heaven’s dome alone!
But beneath them
in unceasingly circling motion
the incessantly changing earth.Today there comes what is gone tomorrow,
today there labours what dies tomorrow,
destined to perish,
never acquiring permanence.Rapidly vanishing even as it happens,
scarcely appeared, already escaping,
always fleeing, never staying:
only in death is there permanence.III. The nations who passed by
sank into the night of nights:
only their rulers’ names tell
a later generation of their actions.In the book of world history
and at the Last Judgement,
as though spellbound,
the prince speaks up for his country.

But shall humankind’s aspirations
flood away with us when we die?
Will nothing that they achieved
be preserved till the end of time?

If a prince represents his people
in the annals of history,
who then will tell of their torments
and proclaim what they have suffered?

Who will stand up for them
in the book of world history?
Who will make their name
shine through the ages?

Poor humankind, a heavy fate!
Who will be sent out by you
at the end of time?
The genius!
In his actions eternally true and great.

IV. He whom no night enshrouded,
he who is not led astray by everyday scorn;
he who unites humankind with God;
he whose brow is crowned by God
has boldly placated fate.
He lends to the brief span of time
the reflection of brightest eternity.As he reveals his work,
so what he offered is divine;
never is he bowed down by the weight of years,
but like a hero he overcomes death.Holy! Holy! Holy
is the genius’s sway on earth.
He lent us a foretaste of heaven,
immortality’s surest pledge.This celebration has united us!
Set foot within the circle;
let us devote these varied hours
to his memory,
to him who gazes down, transfigured.
And even unto the end of time
his image shall tell posterity
that his contemporaries all revered him.Hail! Hail! Beethoven, hail!
Liszt_AvecCadreDeBeethoven Liszt at his desk.

Look at the portrait of Beethoven behind him…

Johann Simon Mayr (1763-1845) was a Bavarian composer, but quickly established himself in Italy. His main successes were his operas. In 1827, hearing of Beethoven’s death, he composed, and had played, this cantata.

It would seem that it hasn’t been played since…

Cantata per la morte di Beethoven

Giovanni Simone MAYR


Weep, weep, harmony,
weeping souls hear
the mournful lament;
your beloved is gone:
Beethoven is no more.

Recitative for Bass

You disciples of the lonian virgins, with a pure heart
compose a sad harmony
to lament him.
That swan, the lover of Euterpe,
fell prey to the stygian arrow;
an envious tomb already devours
his fragile remains;
and with solemn example of the proud Danube
the wave sounds great mourning,
echoing his praises.

Trio for Soprano, Tenor, and Bass

Divine poet, your profound genius
wrote notes that astonished the world.
Because of your hymns, now a worthier place and theme
you shall have at the zenith of the firmament.
The Thracian poet, with his sweet incantation
at the first age conquered the cruel King of Averno.
Now the blessed ones of eternal Olympus
will interrupt their song to listen to you.

Recitative for tenor

But even if the excellent spirit returned to heaven,
the light which emanated from him
is not extinguished down here.
The returning notes, with which he so magnificently
glorified Cantabria and Britain,
whose liberty in the camps of Victoria
surrounded lost arms and envied laurels, disdain the shame of death.

Recitative for soprano

Again sounds on the ear, speaks to the ravished senses,
the sweet chords of the soft melodies,
in which he painted the peace and innocence
of the hills and the forests.

Recitative for Bass

And in the solemn harmonies,
from which he fashioned the chorus
to the holy sacrifice
that the grateful people of Christ adore,
you hear all the arcane majesty
of the purest religion.
And the following generations will
follow in the proud footsteps of [his] immortal genius
to these founts of celestial harmony.
They spur the generous heart of Pimplea’s disciples
and illuminate the arduous path with their shining lights.

Final Chorus

In majestic canticles
let the sound of the divine cithara
be lifted up to heaven;
recall its power!
And upon the eternal vortices
of those harmonious threads
learn to enjoy
the unequaled sound.
To the giver of beautiful delights
we offer a grateful heart;
And he shall live in our hearts
And be forever immortal.
ln majestic canticles
let the sound be lifted up to heaven.

English translation of the cantata by Lawrence SISK.
On the 17th of December, 1850, for the 80th anniversary of Beethoven’s birthday, a cantata was played on the honour of Beethoven, in Köln. Ferdinand Hiller had composed the music and had written the words.

The young Ferdinand Hiller (1811-1885) had met Beethoven, at the end of his life, with his master Johann Nepomuk Hummel. He was very impress by Beethoven.

When Beethoven died, he cut some of Beethoven’s hair. These have become famous since the book about Beethoven’s hair…



This CD partners the Piano Concertos of Carl Czerny and Ferdinand Ries, both of whom were pupils of the great master, Beethoven. “Both concertos do everything with good humour, and the dashings of glittering figuration has its own flavour.” Music&Vision. Link

GTIN13: 0821158100523
Verschijningsdatum: 01. juli 2002
Product Type: CD



2001 – Koch International Classics – 7521

Beethoven / Ries / Archduke Rudolph / Kagan
Release Date: 03/27/2001
Label:  Koch International Classics Catalog #: 7521   Spars Code: DDD
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Archduke Rudolph,  Ferdinand Ries, Archduke Rudolf of Austri
Performer:  Susan Kagan
Number of Discs: 1
Recorded in: Stereo

The title of this CD is Beethoven and His Students, which, in a broadly spiritual way, includes all who came after him, both practitioners and listeners. Susan Kagan limits her survey to the only two musicians who actually took lessons from the master. Ferdinand Ries, the son of Beethoven’s violin teacher, studied piano with the great man, while Archduke Rudolph, the youngest brother of the Hapsburg emperor and the dedicatee of the “Archduke” Trio and the Missa solemnis, studied both composition and piano. Both men maintained lifelong relationships with Beethoven, Rudolph extending the financial and political support of the Imperial family, and Ries acting as a personal secretary at times as well as writing an early biographical Read more

Works on This Recording

1. Bagatelles (11) for Piano, Op. 119 by Ludwig van Beethoven 
Performer:  Susan Kagan (Piano)
Period: Classical
Written: 1820-1822; Vienna, Austria
2. Variations (40) on a theme of Beethoven, Op. 1 by Archduke Rudolph 
Performer:  Susan Kagan (Piano)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1818-1819; Austria
3. The Dream (Le Songe), for piano, Op. 49 by Ferdinand Ries 
Performer:  Susan Kagan (Piano)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1814
Date of Recording: 08/09/2000
Venue:  Master Sound Astoria Studios, Astoria, N
Length: 18 Minutes 14 Secs.
4. Variations (40) for piano on a Theme by Beethoven, WoO200 by Archduke Rudolf of Austri 
Performer:  Susan Kagan (Piano)
Period: Romantic
Date of Recording: 04/20/1993
Venue:  Recital Hall, SUNY, Purchase, NY
Length: 30 Minutes 8 Secs. 



Het leven & de muziek van Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827) op Compact Discs, DVD's en Boeken

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