Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/143

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��HIES.

invaluable notices. He had a great deal to bear, and considering the secrecy and imperiousness which Beethoven often threw into his intercourse with every one, there was probably much un- pleasantness in the relationship. Meantime of course Hies must have become saturated with the music of his great master ; a thing which could hardly tend to foster any little originality he may ever have possessed.

As a citizen of Bonn he was amenable to the French conscription, and in 1805 was summoned to appear there in person. He left in Sept. 1805, made the journey on foot via Prague, Dresden, and Leipzig, reached Coblentz within the prescribed limit of time, and was then dismissed on account of the loss of his eye. He then went on to Paris, and existed in misery for apparently at least two years, at the end of which time he was advised to try Russia. On Aug. 27, 1808, he was again in Vienna, and soon afterwards received from Reichardt an offer of the post of Kapellmeister to Jerome Bonaparte, King of Westphalia, at Cassel, which Reichardt alleged had been re- fused by Beethoven. Ries behaved with perfect loyalty and straightforwardness in the matter. Before replying, he endeavoured to find out from Beethoven himself the real state of the case; but Beethoven having adopted the idea that Ries was trying to get the post over his head, would not see him, and for three weeks behaved to him with an incredible degree of cruelty and insolence. When he could be made to listen to the facts he was sorry enough, but the opportunity was gone.

The occupation of Vienna (May 12, 1809) by the French was not favourable to artistic life. Ries however, as a French subject, was free to wander. He accordingly went to Cassel, pos- sibly with some lingering hopes, played at Court, and remained till the end of February 1810, very much applauded and feted, and making money but had no offer of a post. From Cassel he went by Hamburg and Copenhagen to Stockholm, where we find him in Sept. 1810, making both money and reputation. He had still his eye on Russia, but between Stockholm and Petersburg the ship was taken by an English man-of-war, and all the passengers were turned out upon an island in the Baltic. In Petersburg he found Bernhard Romberg, and the two made a successful tournte, embracing places as wide apart as Kieff, Reval and Riga. The burning of Moscow (Sept. 1812) put a stop to his progress in that direction, and we next find him again at Stockholm in April 1813, en route to England. By the end of the month he was in London.

Here he found his countryman and his father's friend, Salomon, who received him cordially and introduced him to the Philharmonic Concerts. His first appearance there was March 14, 1814, in his own PF. Sestet. His symphonies, over- tures, and chamber works frequently occur in the programmes, and he himself appears from time to time as a PF. player, but rarely if ever with works of Beethoven's. ' Mr. Ries,' says a writer in the 'Harmonicon' of March 1824, 'is justly

��RIES.

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�� ��celebrated as one of the finest pianoforte per- formers of the day ; his hand is powerful and his execution certain, often surprising ; but his playing is most distinguished from that of all others by its romantic wildness.' Shortly after his arrival he married an English lady of great attractions, and he remained in London till 1824, one of the most conspicuous figures of the musical world.

His sojourn here was a time of herculean labour. His compositions numbered at their close nearly 1 80, including 6 fine symphonies; 4 overtures; 6 string quintets, and 14 do. quartets; 9 con- certos for PF. and orchestra ; an octet, a septet,

2 sextuors, and a quintet, for various instruments ;

3 PF. quartets, and 5 do. trios; 20 duets for PF. and violin ; 10 sonatas for PF. solo ; besides a vast number of rondos, variations, fantasias, etc:, for the PF. solo and a 4 mains. Of these 38 are attributable to the time of his residence here, and they embrace 2 symphonies, 4 concertos, a sonata, and many smaller pieces. As a pianist and teacher he was very much in request. He was an active member of the Philharmonic Society. His correspondence with Beethoven during the whole period is highly creditable to him, proving his gratitude towards his master, and the energy with which he laboured to promote Beethoven's interests. That Beethoven profited so little therefrom was no fault of Ries's.

Having accumulated a fortune adequate to the demands of a life of comfort, he gave a farewell concert in London, April 8, 1824, and removed with his wife to Godesberg, near his native town, where he had purchased a property. Though a loser by the failure of a London Bank in 1825-6, he was able to live independently. About 1830 he removed to Frankfort. His residence on the Rhine brought him into close contact with the Lower Rhine Festivals, and he directed the performances of the years 1825, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 37, as well as those of 1826 and 28 in con- junction with Spohr and Klein respectively. [See the list, vol. ii. p. 457.] In 1834 he was appointed head of the town orchestra and Singakademie at Aix-la-Chapelle. But he was too independent to keep any post, and in 1836 he gave this up and returned to Frankfort. In 1837 he assumed the direction of the Cecilian Society there on the death of Schelble, but this lasted a few months only, for on Jan. 13, 1838, he died after a short illness.

The principal works which he composed after his return to Germany are ' Die Rauberbraut ' (the Robber's bride), which was first performed in Frankfort probably in 1829, then in Leipzig, July 4, and London, July 15, of the same year, and often afterwards in Germany ; another opera, known in Germany as 'Liska,' but pro- duced at the Adelphi, London, in English, as ' The Sorcerer,' by Arnold's Company, Aug. 4, 1831 ; an oratorio, 'Der Sieg des Glaubens' (the Triumph of the Faith), Berlin, 1835 ; and a second oratorio, ' Die Konige Israels ' (the Kings of Israel), Aix-la-Chapelle, 1837. All these works however are dead. Beethoven once said of his compositions, ' he imitates me too much/

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