1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Steibelt, Daniel

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STEIBELT, DANIEL (c. 1764–1823), German pianist and composer, was born at the earliest in 1764 or 1765 in Berlin. He was indebted to the crown prince Frederick William for his musical education. Very little is known of his artistic life before 1790, when he settled in Paris and attained great popu- larity as a virtuoso by means of a pianoforte sonata called La Coquette, which he composed for Queen Marie Antoinette; his dramatic opera entitled Roméo et Juliette, produced at the Th6atre Feydeau in 1793, was equally successful. In 1796 Steibelt removed to London, where his pianoforte-playing attracted great attention. In 1798 he produced his concerto (No. 3, in E flat) containing the famous “Storm Rondo”—a work that ensured his popularity. In the following year Steibelt started on a professional tour in Germany; and, after playing with some success in Hamburg. Dresden, Prague and Berlin, he arrived in May 1800 at Vienna, where he challenged Beethoven to a trial of skill. His discomfiture was complete and he retired to Paris. During the next eight years he lived alternately in that city and in London. In 1808 he was invited by the emperor Alexander to St Petersburg, succeeding Boieldieu as director of the royal opera in 1811. Here he resided in the enjoyment of a lucrative appointment until his death on the 20th of September 1823.

Besides his dramatic music, Steibelt left behind him an enormous number of compositions for the pianoforte. His playing, though brilliant, was wanting in the higher qualities which characterized that of his contemporaries, John Cramer and Muzio Clementi; but he was gifted with talents of a high order; and the reputation he enjoyed was fully deserved.