28 June 1831
Kittsee, Burgenland, Austria
15 August 1907 (aged 76)
Joseph Joachim (June 28, 1831 – August 15, 1907) (IPA: /ˈjoʊɑːxɪːm/) was a Hungarian violinist, conductor, composer and teacher. He is regarded as one of the most influential violinists of all time.
Joseph Joachim was born in Kittsee (Kopčany / Köpcsény), near Bratislava and Eisenstadt, in today's Burgenland area of Austria. He was the seventh of eight children born to Julius and Fanny Joachim. His father was a wool merchant. Joachim was born Jewish, and spent his infancy as a member of the Kittsee Kehilla (Jewish community), one of Hungary's prominent Sheva Kehillot (Hebrew for Seven Communities) under the protectorate of the Esterházy family.
In 1833 his family moved to Pest, where he studied violin with Stanislaus Serwaczynski, the concertmaster of the opera in Pest. (Serwaczynski later moved to Lublin, Poland, where he taught Wieniawski). In 1839, Joachim continued his studies at the Vienna Conservatory (briefly with Miska Hauser and Georg Hellmesberger, Sr.; finally —and most significantly — with Joseph Böhm). He was taken by his cousin, Fanny Wittgenstein (grandmother of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein) to live and study in Leipzig, where he became a protégé of Felix Mendelssohn. In his début performance in the Leipzig Gewandhaus he played the Otello Fantasy by Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst. The twelve-year-old Joachim's 1844 performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto in London (under Mendelssohn's baton) was a triumph, and helped to establish that work in the repertory. Joachim remained a favorite with the English public for the rest of his career.
Following Mendelssohn's death, Joachim stayed briefly in Leipzig, teaching at the Conservatorium and playing on the first desk of the Gewandhaus Orchestra with Ferdinand David. In 1848, Franz Liszt took up residence in Weimar, determined to re-establish the town's reputation as the Athens of Germany. There, he gathered a circle of young avante-garde disciples, vocally opposed to the conservatism of the Leipzig circle. Joachim was amongst the first of these. He served Liszt as concertmaster, and for several years enthusiastically embraced the new "psychological music", as he called it. In 1852 he moved to Hanover, at the same time dissociating himself from the musical ideals of the 'New German School' (Liszt, Richard Wagner, Hector Berlioz, and their followers, as defined by journalist Franz Brendel) and instead making common cause with Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms. His break with Liszt became final in August of 1857, when Joachim wrote to his former mentor: "I am completely out of sympathy with your music; it contradicts everything which from early youth I have taken as mental nourishment from the spirit of our great masters."
Joseph and Amalie Joachim.
Joachim's time in Hanover was his most prolific period of composition. During this time, he frequently performed with Clara Schumann and with Brahms, both in private and in public. In 1860 Brahms and Joachim jointly wrote a manifesto against the "progressive" music of the 'New German' School, in reaction to the polemics of Brendel's Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. This manifesto met with a mixed reception, being heavily derided by followers of Wagner.
On May 10, 1863 Joachim married the contralto Amalie Schneeweiss (stage name: Amalie Weiss) (1839-99). Amalie gave up her own promising career as an opera singer and gave birth to six children. She did continue to perform in oratorios and to give lieder recitals. In 1865 Joachim quit the service of the King of Hanover in protest, when the Intendant of the Opera refused to advance one of the orchestral players (Jakob Grün) because of the latter's Jewish birth. In 1866, Joachim moved to Berlin, where he became founding director of the Royal Academy of Music. There, he founded an orchestra, and, in 1869, the Joachim String Quartet, which quickly gained a reputation as Europe's finest.
In 1884, Joachim and his wife separated after he became convinced that she was having an affair with the publisher Fritz Simrock. Brahms, certain that Joachim's suspicions were groundless, wrote a sympathetic letter to Amalie, which she later produced as evidence in Joachim's divorce proceeding against her. This led to a cooling of Brahms and Joachim's friendship, which was not restored until some years later, when Brahms composed the Double concerto in A minor for violin and cello, Op. 102, as a peace offering to his old friend.
In Berlin on August 17, 1903, Joachim recorded five sides for The Gramophone & Typewriter Ltd (G&T), which remain a fascinating and valuable source of information about 19th-century styles of violin playing. He is the earliest violinist of distinction known to have recorded.
Joachim's portrait was twice painted by Philip de Laszlo. A portrait of Joachim was painted by John Singer Sargent and presented to him at the Jubilee celebration of his English debut in London in 1904.
Joachim remained in Berlin until his death from actinomycosis in 1907.
• Joachim: Romance in C Major Op. 20 (played by composer). Ref 047906. Matrix 218y.
• Bach: 1st Sonata for Violin in G Minor BWV 1001: Prelude. Ref 047903. Matrix 204y.
• Bach: 1st Partita for Violin B Minor BWV 1022: Bourree. Ref 047904. Matrix 205y.
• Brahms: Hungarian Dance WoO 1: No 1. Ref 037904, Matrix 219i (French pressing).
• Brahms: Hungarian Dance WoO 1: No 2. Ref 037905, Matrix 217i (French pressing).
• Brahms: Hungarian Dance WoO 1: No 1. Ref 047904, Matrix 219y (German pressing).
• Brahms: Hungarian Dance WoO 1: No 2. Ref 047905, Matrix 217y (German pressing).
Original pressings are single-sided and have a flat red G&T label. Later reeditions have a black G&T label (or, from 1909, a label showing the 'His Master's Voice' trade-mark), and those made for the German market are double-sided. They are better in quality.
Among the most notable of Joachim's achievements were the revivals of Bach's Sonatas and partitas for solo violin, BWV 1001-1006, and particularly of Beethoven's Violin concerto in D major, Op. 61. Joachim was among the first to play Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, which he studied with the composer. Joachim played a pivotal role in the career of Brahms, and remained a tireless advocate of Brahms's compositions through all the vicissitudes of their friendship. He conducted the English premiere of Brahms's Symphony No. 1 in C minor.
A number of Joachim's composer colleagues, including Schumann, Brahms, Bruch, and Dvořák composed concerti with Joachim in mind, many of which entered the standard repertory. Nevertheless, Joachim's solo repertoire remained relatively restricted. Despite his close friendship with Brahms, Joachim performed the Brahms Concerto (D major, Op. 77) only six times in his career. He never performed Schumann's Violin Concerto in D minor, which Schumann wrote especially for him, or Dvořák's Violin Concerto in A minor. The most unusual work written for Joachim was the F-A-E Sonata, a collaboration between Schumann, Brahms, and Albert Dietrich, based upon the initials of Joachim's motto, Frei aber Einsam (free but lonely). Although the sonata is rarely performed in its entirety, the third movement, the Scherzo in C minor, composed by Brahms, is still frequently played today.
Joachim's own compositions are less well known. He has a reputation as a composer of a short but distinguished catalogue of works. Among his compositions are various works for the violin (including three concerti) and overtures to Shakespeare's Hamlet and Henry IV. He also wrote cadenzas for a number of other composers' concerti (including the Beethoven and Brahms concerti). His most highly regarded composition is his Hungarian concerto (Violin Concerto No 2 in D minor, Op. 11.
The English poet Robert Bridges wrote a sonnet about Joachim in his first major work of poetry The Growth of Love.
• As a child, Joachim played a Guarneri del Gesù, which he gave to Felix Schumann after he acquired his first Stradivarius.
• In his Hanover years, Joachim played on a Guadagnini made in 1767.
• He later bought a 1714 Stradivarius, which he played until 1885.
• He exchanged this instrument for a 1713 Stradivarius, which was later acquired by Robert von Mendelssohn and lent for life to Joachim's student Karl Klingler.
• A 1714 Stradivarius "de Barreau/Joachim" which he bought in 1881 and sold in 1897, later owned by Richard von Mendelssohn, Baron Knoop, and Karl Klingler..
• A 1698 Joachim Stradivarius is held by the Royal Academy of Music
• A violin, the ex-Joachim Stradivarius of 1715 is currently held by the Collezione Civica del Comune di Cremona. It was presented to Joachim on the occasion of his Jubilee celebration in 1889.
• Another 1715 Stradivarius, the Joachim-Aranyi.
• Another 1715 Stradivarius, later owned by George Eastman
• A 1722 Stradivarius, later owned by Burmester, Mischa Elman and Josef Suk.
• Another 1722 Stradivarius, also owned by the Mendelssohn family.
• A 1723 Stradivarius
• A 1725 Stradivarius, later owned by Norbert Brainin Currently played by Rainer Küchl.
• A 1727 Stradivarius, currently owned by Suntory, Ltd.
• The Ex Joachim, Joseph Vieland Viola by Gasparo da Salo, Brescia, before 1609 is held by the Shrine to Music No. 3368,
• According to the Henley Atlas of Violin Makers, during the time he spent in France, Joachim performed on a violin made by French luthier Charles Jean Baptiste Collin-Mezin.
• A violin by Francesco Ruggeri bearing the label Nicolaus Amati
• Joachim also played a Guarneri del Gesu, loaned by the Wittgenstein family, perhaps a 1737 Guarneri del Gesu?
• A Johannes Theodorus Cuypers anno 1807 was bought by Joachim in the mid 19th century and taken on tour throughout Europe. There is also evidence that the instrument was played by Joachim in a recital in Paris a half century later, in 1895. The same instrument was also played by Fritz Kreisler in a 1955 Carnegie Hall concert.
• A 1747 Pietro Guarneri
• A 1767 Guadagnini
• A 1775 Guadagnini
• A Carlo Testore violin
• Among Joachim's bows was a Tourte, previously owned by Ernst.
He is survived by relatives in the United States, mainly the Bass family.
• Op. 1, Andantino and Allegro scherzoso, for violin and piano (1848, dedicated to Joseph Böhm)
• Op. 2, Three Pieces, (circa 1848-1852), Romanze, Fantasiestück, Eine Frühlingsfantasie.
• Op. 3, Violin Concerto in One Movement, (G minor, dedicated to Franz Liszt) (1851)
• Op. 4, "Hamlet" Overture (1853)
• Op. 5, Three Pieces for Violin and Piano: Lindenrauschen, Abendglocken, Ballade; (dedicated to Gisela von Arnim)
• Op. 6, "Demetrius" Overture (Herman Grimm, dedicated to Franz Liszt)
• Op. 7, "Henry IV" Overture (1854)
• Op. 8, Overture to a Comedy by Gozzi (1854)
• Op. 9, Hebrew Melodies, for Viola and Piano
• Op. 10, Variations, for Viola and Piano (circa 1860)
• Op. 11, Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor "in the Hungarian manner" (1861)
• Op. 12, Notturno for Violin and Orchestra in A Major (1858)
• Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major (1875)
• Op. 13, Elegiac Overture "In Memoriam Heinrich von Kleist" (ca. 1877)
• Op. 14, Szene der Marfa from Friedrich Schiller's unfinished drama "Demetrius" (ca. 1869)
• WoO, Ich hab' im Traum geweinet for voice and piano, pub. Wigand, 1854.
• Scene from Schiller's Demetrius (1878)
• WoO, Rain, rain and sun, Merlin's Song (Tennyson), pub. C. Kegan & Co., 1880.
• Melodrama zu einer Schillergedenkfeier (unpublished, autograph in Hamburg Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek)
• Overture in C major (Konzertouvertüre zum Geburtstag des Kaisers) (1896)
• Two Marches for orchestra
• Andantino in A minor, for violin and orchestra (also for violin and piano)
• Romance in B flat Major, for violin and piano
• Romance in C major, for violin and piano
• Variationen über ein irisches Elfenlied for piano
• Variations for Violin and Orchestra in E minor (dedicated to Pablo Sarasate, ca. 1879)
Joachim also composed cadenzas for Beethoven, Concerto in D Major, op. 61; Brahms, Concerto in D Major, op. 77; Kreutzer, Concerto No. 19 in d minor; Mozart, Aria from Il re pastore, Concerto in D Major, K. 218, and Concerto in A Major, K 219; Rode, Concerto No. 10 in b minor, and Concerto No. 11 in D Major; Spohr, Concerto in a minor, op. 47 (Gesangsszene); Tartini, Sonata in g minor (Devil's Trill); and Viotti, Concerto No 22 in a minor. He also made a virtuosic transcription for violin and piano of all 21 of Brahms's Hungarian Dances. In addition, in 1855 he made a version for full orchestra of Schubert's Grand Duo in C major for piano duet (D. 812), which many scholars at that time considered (probably incorrectly) to be a draft or piano reduction of a lost symphony.
He produced numerous editions of music, many in collaboration with Andreas Moser.
Joseph Joachim at age 53.
Recordings by Joseph Joachim (1903)
• J. S. Bach: Partita for Violin solo no 1 in B minor, BWV 1002: 7th movement, Tempo di Bourée, Joseph Joachim (Violin), Pearl Catalog: 9851 (also on Testament (749677132323)).
• Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dances (21) for Piano 4 hands, WoO 1: no 1 in g minor (arr. Joachim), Joseph Joachim (Violin), Opal Recordings (also on Testament (749677132323)).
• Johannes Brahms Hungarian Dance no. 2 in d minor (arr. Joachim), Joseph Joachim (Violin), Grammophon Catalogue # 047905; HMV, D88.
• J. Joachim: Romance in C Major, Joseph Joachim (Violin), Pearl Catalog: 9851
Recordings of Joachim's Compositions
• Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 11 "In the Hungarian Style" Rachel Barton Pine (Violin), Carlos Kalmar (Conductor), Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cedille Records: CDR 90000 068 (liner notes)
• Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 11 "In the Hungarian Style": Elmar Oliviera (Violin), Leon Botstein (Conductor), London Philharmonic, IMP
• Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 11 "In the Hungarian Style": Aaron Rosand (Violin), Louis de Froment (Conductor), Luxembourg Radio/Television Symphony Orchestra, Vox Catalog #: 5102
• Violin Concerto No. 3, Takako Nishizaki (Violin), Meir Minsky (Conductor), Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Naxos #: 8554733
• Hamlet Overture, Op. 4, Meir Minsky (Conductor), Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Naxos #: 8554733
• Elegische Ouvertüre, Op. 13, Meir Minsky (Conductor), Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Naxos #: 8554733
• Andantino and Allegro scherzoso, Op. 1: Andantino, Marat Bisengaliev (Violin), John Lenehan (Piano), Naxos #: 553026
• Romance in B flat major, Marat Bisengaliev (Violin), John Lenehan (Piano), Naxos #: 553026
• Hebrew melodies, Op. 9, Anna Barbara Dütschler (Viola), Marc Pantillon (Piano), Claves #: 9905
• Heinrich IV Overture, Op. 7 (2 pianos, arr. Johannes Brahms), Duo Egri-Pertis, Hungaroton #: 32003
• Variations for Viola and Piano, Op. 10 (Numerous recordings)
• Variations for Violin and Orchestra in E minor, Vilmos Szabadi (Violin), László Kovács (Conductor), North Hungarian Symphony Orchestra, Hungaroton #: 32185
Joseph Joachim and the young Franz von Vecsey. Note the strongly incurving, arthritic first finger of his left hand. The chair in which he is sitting was a special present to him. He willed it to Donald Francis Tovey, and it is now owned by the University of Edinburgh Museum.
• Leopold Auer, (1845—1930) Violinist and teacher, studied with Joachim in Hanover.
• Willy Burmester
• Will Marion Cook
• Carl Courvoisier (1846-1908), author of Technics of Violin Playing on Joachim's Method, London: The Strad Library, No. I, 1894.
• Sam Franko
• Karol Haliř (1859-1909), Bohemian violinist, member of the Joachim Quartet.
• Gustav Hille
• Willy Hess
• Jenő Hubay Violinist, composer.
• Bronisław Huberman, (1882-1947)
• Karl Klingler Violinist of the Klingler Quartet and Joachim's successor at the Berlin Hochschule. Klingler was the teacher of Shinichi Suzuki.
• Joseph Kotek - Yosif / Josef. Russian violinist. (1855-1885)
• Pietro Melani
• W. J. Meyer (1853-1940)
• Andreas Moser (1859-1925) Violinist and assistant to Joachim. Moser wrote the first biography of Joachim. He helped recover original scores of J.S. Bach's Sonate e Partite per violino solo, and collaborated with him on numerous editions.
• Tivadar Nachèz, (Budapest 1859 - Lausanne 1930)
• Enrico Polo, (1868 - 1953).
• Maud Powell, (1867-1920), American violinist
• Willibald Richter, (1860-1929), German-born English pianist, organist and teacher. Student, friend and accompanist of Joachim. Student of Haupt, Lebert, Liszt, Mischalek and Oscar. Founded College of Music at Leicester.
• Camillo Ritter, teacher of William Primrose
• Ossip Schnirlin, (? - 1937)
• Maria Soldat-Röger (1863-1955)
• Theodore Spiering, (1871-1925) American violinist. Born in St. Louis, lived in Chicago. Concertmaster (1909-1911), New York Philharmonic.
• Franz von Vecsey, ( Budapest,1893-1935 ) Studied with Hubay, then Joachim. Dedicatee of the Sibelius violin concerto.
• Alfred Wittenberg
• Adolph Kohut, Josef Joachim. Ein Lebens- und Künstlerbild. Festschrift zu seinem 60. Geburtstage, am 28. Juni 1891, Berlin: A. Glas, 1891.
• Johannes Joachim and Andreas Moser (eds.), Briefe von und an Joseph Joachim, 3 vols., Berlin: Julius Bard, 1911-1913
• Andreas Moser (ed.), Johannes Brahms im Briefwechsel mit Joseph Joachim, 2nd ed., Berlin: Deutsche Brahms-Gesellschaft, 1912.
• Letters From and To Joseph Joachim, selected and translated by Nora Bickley with a preface by J. A. Fuller-Maitland, New York: Vienna House, 1972.
• Andreas Moser, Joseph Joachim: Ein Lebensbild, 2 vols. Berlin: Verlag der Deutschen Brahms-Gesellschaft, vol. 1: 1908; vol. 2: 1910.
• Andreas Moser, Joseph Joachim: A Biography, translated by Lilla Durham, introduction by J. A. Fuller Maitland, London: Philip Wellby, 1901.
• J. A. Fuller-Maitland, Joseph Joachim, London & New York: John Lane, 1905.
• F. G. E., Joseph Joachim, Musical Times, 48/775 (September 1, 1907): 577-583.
• Hans Joachim Moser, Joseph Joachim, Sechsundneunzigstes Neujahrsblatt der Allgemeinen Musikgesellschaft in Zürich, Zürich & Leipzig: Hug & Co., 1908
• Karl Storck, Joseph Joachim: Eine Studie, Leipzig: Hermann Seemann Nachfolger, n.d.
• Anne Russell, Joachim, The Etude, (December, 1932) 884-885.
• Siegfried Borris, Joseph Joachim zum 65. Todestag, Oesterreichische Musikzeitschrift XXVII (June 1972): 352-355.
• Barrett Stoll, Joseph Joachim: Violinist, Pedagogue, and Composer, Ph.D. Diss., Univ. of Iowa, 1978.
• Brigitte Massin, Les Joachim: Une Famille de Musiciens, Paris: Fayard, 1999. ISBN 2-213-60418-5
• Otto Biba, "Ihr Sie hochachtender, dankbarer Schüler Peppi" Joseph Joachims Jugend im Spiegel bislang unveröffentlicher Briefe, Die Tonkunst, Jg. 1, Nr. 3, Juli 2007, 200-204.
• Beatrix Borchard, Stimme und Geige: Amalie und Joseph Joachim, Biographie und Interpretationsgeschichte, Wien, Köln, Weimar: Böhlau Verlag, 2005.
• Beatrix Borchard, Groß-männlich-deutsch? Zur Rolle Joseph Joachims für das deutsche Musikleben in der Wilhelminischen Zeit, Die Tonkunst, Jg. 1, Nr. 3, Juli 2007, 218-231.
• Dietmar Shenk, Aus einer Gründerzeit: Joseph Joachim, die Berliner Hochschule für Musik und der deutsch-französische Krieg, Die Tonkunst, Jg. 1, Nr. 3, Juli 2007, 232-246.
• Ute Bär, Sie wissen ja, wie gerne ich, selbst öffentlich, mit Ihnen musicire! Clara Schumann und Joseph Joachim, Die Tonkunst, Jg. 1, Nr. 3, Juli 2007, 247-257.
• Gerhard Winkler (ed.) Geigen-Spiel-Kunst: Joseph Joachim und der "Wahre" Fortschritt, Burgenländische Heimatblätter, Jg. 69, Nr. 2, 2007.
• Robert W. Eshbach, Der Geigerkönig: Joseph Joachim as Performer, Die Tonkunst, Jg. 1, Nr. 3, Juli 2007, 205-217.
• Robert W. Eshbach, Verehrter Freund! Liebes Kind! Liebster Jo! Mein einzig Licht. Intimate letters in Brahms's Freundeskreis, Die Tonkunst, Jg. 2, Nr. 2, April 2008, 178-193.
• Robert W. Eshbach, Free but Lonely: The Education of Joseph Joachim 1831-1866; forthcoming.
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