Romberg, Bernhard



German composer and cellist; came of a musical family; and was born at Dincklage, Oldenburg. His father, Anton Romberg, was a celebrated bassoon-player (1742-1814), as was his youngest brother, Anton. Bernhard made a successful public appearance in Paris at the age of fourteen, where he had gone in company with his father, and was for several years a member of the Electoral Orchestra at Bonn, where Reicha, Ferdinand Ries and Beethoven were also members at that time. For a number of years he traveled in concert with his cousin, Andreas, but in 1799 began an independent tour. He was offered the post of professor of cello at the Conservatory, where he remained till 1803, then resigned and removed to Hamburg. He lived there only until 1805, when he was called to Berlin as solo cellist of the Court Orchestra. In 1807 Romberg began another series of concert tours, which embraced Austria, Russia and Sweden. About 1815 he returned to Berlin, and for four years was Court conductor, after which he retired to private life at Hamburg. His last tour, at the age of seventytwo, included Paris and London. He died at Hamburg. As a virtuoso he is said to have excelled in ease of execution, and to have enlarged the scope of his instrument. This is apparent also in his compositions, his concertos being considered especially valuable for developing cello technique, and used to a certain extent as repertory numbers; also their style scarcely meets the modern demand for emotional possibilities and rich effects in tone. There are nine of these concertos in all by Romberg; also a fantasia, four sets of Russian melodies, and three concertinos for cello and orchestra; caprices and fantasias on melodies from Sweden, Spain and Roumania; polonaises, other solos and duets for the instrument; sonatas for cello and doublebass, two trios and eleven quartets for strings, contertante for two horns and orchestra; quartets for piano and strings; three operas, Die wiedergefundene Statue, Der Schiffbruch, Don Mendoce; incidental music to various plays; a funeral symphony for Queen Louise of Prussia. Romberg's son, Karl, born 1811, was for ten years a cellist in the Court Orchestra at St. Petersburg.