Monday, February 16, 2009

Jacques Pierre Rode

Jacques Pierre Joseph Rode was a French violinist and composer born on this day (February 16), 1774 (Mozart was 18 years old.) At age 13, Pierre Rode traveled to Paris to study with Viotti, whose favorite pupil he soon became. Some people say that Viotti charged Rode nothing for his lessons. Together with Kreutzer and Baillot, he wrote the official Violin Method of the Paris Conservatory which came out in 1802. Rode eventually became violin soloist to Napoleon I of France. He also toured Europe extensively as a violin virtuoso. He was in St Petersburg from 1804 until 1809. From 1814 to 1819 he lived in Berlin and there composed the well-known 24 Caprices which every young violinist uses to this day. Axel Strauss has recorded the Rode Caprices (as has Oscar Shumsky) and the recording will soon be issued by the Naxos label. Among his compositions are 13 violin concertos which are now seldom played. Rode died in 1830 (Mozart was long gone and Beethoven had been dead 3 years).

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