Georg Abraham Schneider was born in a small village near Darmstadt 19th April 1770. Because of his poor parents, he did not receive a good school education but was soon sent to the town waits of Darmstadt. There he learnt playing a number of instruments. It became obvious that Georg was very talented in playing the horn.
1787 Schneider is registered as a musician of the Court Chapel Darmstadt under the music loving prince Ludwig X. This was the place where the newest music was played. Schneider got to know the whole range of music of his time. Unfortunately, when Ludwig X. got regent of Darmstadt-Hessen, he did not have the time and money to support the music scene of Darmstadt any more.
Schneider moved to the Chapel of Prince Heinrich of Preussen (the brother of Friedrich the Great) in Rheinsberg in 1795. This was a place of only French Art. New music, for instance, in the opera was declined. Schneider was well paid, had only a few times to play and started to write on his large amount of works. He got to know his college F. Boetticher, who played the horn very well. Together, they played many solo concerts and got to know as the horn virtuosi. When 3rd August 1802 the prince died, the court music of Rheinsberg had also to come to an end. The Chapel was winded up.
Schneider and Boetticher had yet contacted the Court Chapel Berlin and played there without any contract in 1802. The following year, they got both a permanent position. In this employment, as well, Schneider had much time to compose. The Court Chapel played only 6 weeks at carnival, one new opera and the Italian opera of the year before as well as some concerti. Schneider spent 3/4 of the year at home in Breslau, where his wife had a permanent position as a singer. (When she got their 3rd child, they moved back to Berlin).
There was a dramatical change in history and financial position in 1806. Napoleon occupied Preussen, Friedrich Wilhelm III fled to the Memel. The Court Chapel was not winded up, but salary was not paid.
At this time, or even a bit earlier, Schneider composed concerti for 2 and 3 horns on the occasion of music travels and subscription concerts. These were performed by the "Firma Schneider & Bötticher" as well as the hornist Marquardt. The following concerti within the subscription concerti are verified:
Schneider together with his wife tried to establish subscription concerts in Berlin. According to concert programs, court musicians as well as amateurs played compositions of Haydn, Mozart, Pleyel and Schneider. Schneider wrote in his curriculum vitae from 1833, that he composed most of his works between 1806 and 1813,
Another possibility as a concert hall was the Nationaltheater, where English opera was performed. However, many musicians regarded the house as beneath their contempt. By the return of Friedrich Wilhelm the theatre conditions changed. The Court Chapel was broken up, the Court musicians were integrated in the orchestra of hte Nationaltheater. The organization of any performance was kept to the king. After some time, it was again possible for private people, among them Schneider, to organize concerts.
In 1813, Schneider was provided with an employment at the theatre of Rival as the leader. Although he moved with his family to Rival, he took leave at the hornist's employment in Berlin. He conducted and composed for that theatre about two years, when his friends persuaded him to go back to Berlin. After his return 1813, Schneider did not want to go back to the boring orchestra work but tried to earn money by composing and teaching. 1817 he took up his job again.
This concerto is one of his most successful compositions and probably the first composed work for valve horn in the world. The chamber musicians Heinrich Stölzel from Berlin and Friedrich Blühmel from Pless/ Oberschlesien had taken out the patent on the valve horn in 1818 for over 10 years. Schneider, always open for experiments, composed with the help of his mate Stoelzel a concerto for this new instrument. He composed three parts for natural horns in order to show the contrast to the new and wonderful valve horn. The competition should prove the superiority of Stoelzel's horn. The premiere performance took place 16th October 1818 in Berlin. The first horn part for the valve horn was played by F. Bode from Schwerin. Schneider's work mates Andreas Schunke, Heinrich Lenss and Pfaffe played the natural horn parts*. The concerto was again played 7th November and 14th December, in the third performance the valve horn was played by Bliesener from Berlin. In the following years the popular concerto was performed over 10 times, often played as the Entre-Act. The last provable performance took place 1825 with the horn players Andreas Schunke (valve horn) and his sons Julius and Carl as well as Heinrich Lenss.
One of his cleverest compositions are the so called "Kombinationskonzerte" from 1818. There the accompaniment was the same, the solo part was composed for five different instruments (horn, violin, clarinet, oboe and fagot). Economically said, there were only one expensive engraving of the orchestra part and five different solo concerti were published. However, many publishers even then did not want to take risk. Hofmeister in Leipzig was the first publisher of the combination concerti.
1819 Schneider began to conduct the choirs of the Gardecorps, in March 1820 he finally received financial support by Bernhard Anselm Webers and was freed from his work in orchestra. He was appointed to the royal music conductor (after Romberg) and led incidental music. There is a remark by earl Bruehl about Schneider that he were said to be also ready to play the solo horn parts in the orchestra if there would be need, he should not loose his talents as Romberg did before ( unbeschadet seiner Würde als Musik-Director, er verpflichtet wäre, im Nothfalle mit seiner ausgezeichneten Kunstfertigkeit auf dem Waldhorne, vorfallende Solo-Partien im Orchester zu übernehmen, damit nicht, wie dies bei dem Kapellmeister Romberg der Fall war, sein schönes Talent als Virtuos ganz für den königlichen Dienst unnütz werde).
(Romberg had been an excellent cello player and had also composed for this instrument, before he got music conductor.)
However, because of his strain at the theatre and orchestra, Schneider did not find time for his compositions or playing the horn anymore. He only composed theatre music or intermezzi.
After 1825, he also conducted performances at the opera as the royal chapel-master.
In 1833, Schneider was elected to a member of the music section of the academy of arts in Berlin (Musiksektion der Akademie der Künste). There he taught free instrumental composition until his retirement 1838.
After long during illness Georg Abraham Schneider died 19 January 1939 in Berlin.