Life and career
A talented violinist from a young age, he was known for his extraordinary ability to play complex pieces from memory after only briefly viewing them. He would alternate his virtuoso performances with lighthearted showmanship, with such intermission antics as playing a sonata on one string with the violin upside-down. A critic in 1805 described his unique style as follows:
"His is not the marked, bold, strong playing, the moving, forceful Adagio, the powerful bow and tone which characterise the Rode-Viotti School; rather, his playing is indescribably delicate, neat and elegant; it has an extremely delightful tenderness and cleanness that undoubtedly secures him a place among the most perfect violinists. At the same time, he has a wholly individual lightness, which makes it seem as if he merely toys with the most incredible difficulties, and a sureness that never deserts him for a moment, even in the most daring passages."
Beethoven became acquainted with Clement in 1794 when he attended a performance in Vienna by the prodigy, then just 14.
It was at Theater an der Wien's benefit concert of April 7, 1805 that Beethoven first publicly conducted his Eroica symphony. At the same performance, Clement premiered his own violin concerto in D Major, one of Clement's six known violin concertos.
Clement went on to commission Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major from his friend for the next benefit concert, given on December 23, 1806. It is said that Beethoven worked on it up until shortly before the performance, and that Clement played the piece without rehearsing.
- Violin Concerto in D major by Franz Clement. Paired with the Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61, by Ludwig van Beethoven. Rachel Barton Pine (violin), José Serebrier (conductor), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Cedille Records: CDR 90000 106 (info)
- "LAF based on New Grove 2nd Ed.". Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- Bathia Churgin, Transcendent Mastery: Studies in the Music of Beethoven, 3.
- Brown, Clive (2008). "The Violin Concertos of Franz Clement and Ludwig van Beethoven". RachelBartonPine.Com. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- Short bio by Betsy Schwarm
- Discussion of the origins of Beethoven's concerto by Jonathan Kramer at the Wayback Machine (archived October 5, 2007) (See final page.)
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