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Play it again Mr Bridgetower - Beethoven and Vienna

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Beethoven   Kreutzer Sonata music MSS
Beethoven, with whom Bridgetower shared a moment of musical triumph
British Library Hirsch IV.364
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  First edition of the Kreutzer Sonata, initially dedicated to Bridgetower
British Library Hirsch IV.287

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The tuning fork    

Tuning fork, a present to Bridgetower from Beethoven. It has a much higher pitch than normal
British Library Add. MS 71148A and B

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In 1802 Bridgetower obtained leave to visit his mother in Dresden. He gave concerts there on 24 July 1802 and 18 March 1803. They were so successful that, having obtained an extension of leave, he went to Vienna in April 1803.

In Vienna, supported by stylish performances and his Royal connections, he was welcomed into the 'highest musical circles'. Prince Lichnowsky, a Polish aristocrat and Beethoven's patron, introduced him to the great composer, who had already begun sketching the first two movements of what was to become the Sonata for Pianoforte and Violin in A (Op.47), the 'Kreutzer' sonata. Listen to the Kreutzer Sonata, performed by Bronislaw Huberman in the 1930s. It was first performed at a concert given by Bridgetower at the Augarten-Halle in Vienna on 24 May 1803, Beethoven himself playing the piano part. The sonata was copied out from Beethoven's original hurried notation, and was barely finished in time. The piano part of the first movement was only sketched, and Bridgetower was required to read the violin part of the second movement from Beethoven's manuscript. He did this with aplomb, delighting an audience which included Prince Esterházy, Count Razumovsky (the Russian admiral turned diplomat and friend of Beethoven) and the British ambassador.

Bridgetower's own memorandum of the event, written on a copy of the manuscript, records an alteration he introduced in the violin part (imitating the passage-work of the piano in the first movement). This pleased Beethoven so much that "he jumped up exclaiming, 'Noch einmal, mein lieber Bursch!' ('Once more, my dear fellow!')". He also presented Bridgetower with his tuning fork, which is now in the British Library. Listen to the sound of Beethoven's tuning fork.

Guest-curated for the British Library by Mike Phillips

Life as a professional musician Next - 'Life as a professional musician'

Introduction Introduction
Alexander Pushkin Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Dumas Alexandre Dumas
George Polgreen Bridgetower
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
John Archer John Archer
 
 
 
Discover more:
Introduction
Introduction
Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Pushkin
Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas
George Polgreen Bridgetower
Background and early years
Background and early years
Arrival in England and GPB's debut in Bath
Arrival in England and debut in Bath
First successes in London
First successes in London
GPB, Brighton and the Prince of Wales
Bridgetower, Brighton and the Prince of Wales
Play it again Mr Bridgetower - Beethoven and Vienna
Life as a professional musician
Life as a professional musician
The final years
The final years
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
John Archer
John Archer
 
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