Johann Benjamin (Jean Baptiste) Groß / Gross (1809-1849, German)

Born in Elbing, in what was then Prussia (now Elblag in Poland), Johann Benjamin Groß or Gross (his Christian name was Frenchified to Jean Baptiste in many publications, including those made in Germany) had a short life: born in 1809, he died of cholera in 1848, which makes him the near-exact contemporary, both in birth and death, of Mendelssohn (1809-1847) and Chopin (1810-1849). He was known mainly as a cellist (and a close friend of violinist Ferdinand David, with whom he played in the Quartet of Baron Carl Eduard von Liphardt), and spent the end of his short life as a Court musician in Saint Petersburg, but as many instrumentalists in those times (it was the case also with David), he composed, especially for his own instrument: he left four Cello Concertos, many duets for two cellos and for cello and piano, cello and double-bass or cello and guitar, but also four string quartets. He was acquainted with the Schumanns and Mendelssohn, and Clara Wieck was the pianist with whom he premiered his Cello-Piano Sonata opus 7.

I discovered his music through the CD of chamber works and Lieder played by Christophe Coin, Quatuor Mosaïques and partners, on the minuscule French label Laborie. Based on it, a rediscovery of Gross is well-deserved. Unfortunately the label disappaeared in 2013/2015, see my discography for more details on that.

Comments are welcome