Ries, Ferdinand , noted German pianist and composer, son of Franz (Anton) Ries and brother of (Pieter) Hubert Ries; b. Bonn (baptized), Nov. 28, 1784; d. Frankfurt am Main, Jan. 13, 1838. He studied piano and violin with his father and cello with B.H. Romberg; after further studies with Peter von Winter in Munich (1801), he continued his piano studies with Beethoven in Vienna (1801–04); also had composition lessons with Albrechtsberger. He made his debut in Beethoven’s C-minor Concerto in Vienna on Aug. 1, 1804, and later made successful tours in Germany, Scandinavia, and Russia (1809–13); then went to London, where he made his debut at a Phil. Concert on March 14, 1814. He returned to Germany in 1824, settling in Frankfurt am Main in 1827. He was active as a conductor and composer with the Lower Rhine Music Festivals, and also served as conductor of the municipal orch. and Singakademie in Aachen from 1834. His music reflects the spirit and technique, if not the genius, of Beethoven’s style. With F. Wegeier, he prepared the vol. Biographische Notizen über Ludwig van Beethoven (Koblenz, 1838; Nachtrag by Wegeier, Koblenz, 1845; new ed. by A. Kalischer, Berlin, 1906); although a valuable early source, it must be used with caution, since Ries dictated parts of it to Wegeler late in life.
DRAMATIC: Opera: Die Räuberbraut (Frankfurt am Main, 1828); Liska, oder Die Hexe von Gyllensteen (perf. in London as The Sorceress, 1831); Die Nacht auf dem Libanon (1834). Melodrama : Die Zigeunerin (1835). OTHER : 2 oratorios; a Requiem; 8 syms.; 5 overtures; chamber music; numerous piano sonatas and other pieces for piano; songs.
C. Hill, The Music of F. R.: A Thematic Catalogue (Armidale, New South Wales, 1977).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire
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