This is why I love to blog about music! This is how I like this blog to work. On Monday I started into the week with Julius Röntgen’s wonderful Violin Concerto in A Minor and mentioned it in tweets and Facebook post. Seconds later a follower from Japan, the pianist Maya Asano, shared her enthusiasm for Röntgen, a not-so-well-known composer of the late 19th century. Here is what she wrote: “Nowadays it seems nobody knows him or his compositions eventhough his music has rich harmony and expressive description. I’m happy to see his name again in your blog. Thank you so much!”
Here is the truth: I can’t remember how I came across this guy. Röntgen. Conrad Röntgen? The guy who discovered the X rays? What has he got to do with music? Nothing. I mean Julius Röntgen. The composer. Oh! Röntgen was a Dutch-German composer (1855-1932) and wrote some 600 works that are mostly forgotten. What better reason could I have to present him here? He was born in Leipzig and soon proved to very gifted. He began to compose when he was still a young boy. His mother was a good pianist, his father led the orchestra of the Leipzig concert hall, the Gewandhaus, and both had taught him before he started the real thing: studying music in Leipzig and Munich. He became a music teacher and professional pianist when he moved to Amsterdam at 22. He taught there until 1925, when he turned 70, and he was heavily involved in convincing the Dutch to build a new concert hall in Amsterdam, the actual Concertgebouw. So far for his biography.