Bernhard Heinrich Romberg (November 13, 1767, Dinklage ? August 13, 1841, Hamburg) was a German cellist and composer. His father played the bassoon and cello and gave Bernhard his first cello lessons. He first performed in public at the age of seven. In addition to touring Europe with his cousin Andreas Romberg, Bernhard Romberg also joined the Münster Court Orchestra.
Together with his cousin, he later joined the court orchestra of the Prince Elector Archbishop of Cologne in Bonn (conducted by the Kapellmeister Andrea Luchesi) in 1790, where they met the young Beethoven. Beethoven admired and respected Bernhard Romberg as a musician. However, Romberg had difficulty understanding some of Beethoven's musical ideas, and rejected Beethoven's offer of a cello concerto for him, saying that he primarily performed his own compositions
Romberg is notable for several innovations in cello design and performance. He lengthened the cello's fingerboard and flattened the side under the C string, thus giving it more freedom to vibrate. He suggested that half-size and 3/4 size cellos should be designed to make it easier for young children to play the instrument. Romberg is responsible for simplifying cello notation to only three clefs, the bass clef, the tenor clef and the treble clef. Until his time, it was common to use many clefs for multiple uses - the 18th century cellist-composer Luigi Boccherini used as many as six clefs in his compositions. Romberg is thought to be among the first cellists to perform from memory, which was a skill praised highly in his day.
It has been suggested (by several of the authors quoted as references to the article in that link) that Romberg's cello sonata in E minor was a strong influence on the first cello sonata in E minor by Johannes Brahms.
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