Violin History & Timeline
The Roots of Famous Violinists
Joseph, renowned Hungarian-born violinist, doctor, pedagogue, and
composer; b. Kittsee, near Presst June 28, 1831; d. Berlin, Aug. 15, 1907.
His family move Pest in 1833 and he began to study violin with Szervaczi
in 1836, appearing with him in public at the age of 7. Ai age of 10 he was
sent to Vienna, where he studied witl Hauser, G. Hellmesberger, Sr., and
his major influenc Böhm. He went to Leipzig when he was 12 and was befriei
by Mendelssohn; studied composition at the Cons. with Ha mann and David.
He 1st played in Leipzig on Aug. 19, 1 in a concert with Pauline Viardot,
Clara Schumann, and I delssohn, then appeared as soloist with Mendelssohn
anc Gewandhaus Orch. (Nov. 16, 1843). In 1844 he made London debut. His
fame was assured with his remarkable formance of the Beethoven Violin
Concerto at a Phil. concert there under Mendelssohn (May 27, 1844). Durin~
years in Leipzig, he played in the Gewandhaus Orch., becor its associate
concertmaster under David. He was concertm~ of the Weimar Court Orch.
(1850—53), but did not gain favor of Liszt, who reigned supreme there. In
1853 he bee Royal Music Director in Hannover, where he was activ both
concertmaster and conductor. It was there that he Brahms, who, with A.
Dietrich and Schumann, wrote a Violin Sonata, F-A-E, on Joachim’s motto,
“Frei aber einsam” (Free but alone). His solitude ended in 1863 when he
married the mezzo-soprano Amalie Weiss; they were divorced in 1884,
following an acrimonious lawsuit brought by the overly jealous Joachim,
charging her with infidelity with the publisher Fritz Simrock. A letter
written by Brahms in support and defense of Mrs. Joachim was used in the
trial, causing an estrangement between Joachim and Brahms, which was
subsequently healed by the Double Concerto written by Brahms for Joachim,
who gave its premiere (Cologne, Oct. 18,1887). Joachim had previously
assisted Brahms with the composition of the Violin Concerto, which they
premiered (Leipzig, Jan. 1,1879). In 1865 Joachim resigned from his
Hannover duties in protest over anti-Jewish discrimination against J. Grun.
He settled in Berlin in 1868 as director and prof. of violin at the
Hochschule für Ausubende Tonkunst, where aspiring violinists flocked fmm
all over Europe to study with him; they included Auer, Hubay, and Huberman,
who influenced subsequent generations of violinists in the Joachim
tradition of excellence and faithful interpretation. From 1882 to 1887 he
also was one of the principal conductors of the Berlin Phil. Joachim never
abandoned his career as a virtuoso; he was particularly popular in
England, which he visited annually from 1862; he received an honorary
doctorate from Cambridge Univ. (1877), as well as from Oxford and Glasgow.
He gave his farewell concert in Berlin on April
determination to interpret music in accordance with the intentions of the
composer made him an outstanding exponent of the masterworks of the violin
literature. Many composers, including Dvotak, Gade, Schumann, and Brahms,
wrote large-scale concertos for him, consulting with him on the solo
parts. As a player of chamber music, he was unexcelled in his day; in 1869
he organized the Joachim Quartet, which attained merited celebrity in
Europe. His own compositions for the violin are virtuoso pieces that still
attract performers; the most famous is the Hun garian Concerto. He
also prepared cadenzas for violin concertos by Mozart (K. 218 and K. 219),
Viotti (No. 22), Beethoven, and Brahms. With A. Moser, he publ.
Viohnschule (3 vols., Berlin, 1902-5; 2nd ed., rev., 1959 by M.
Works: ORCH.: 5
overtures: Hamlet; Demetrius; Henry IV;
overture inspired by 2
plays of Gozzi; “To the Memory of Kleist’;
der Marfa for Contralto. VIOLIN
AND ORCH.: 3 concertos:
No. 1 in G minor, op. 3,
“in einem Satz” (c.1855); No. 2 in
D minor, op. 11, “in
ungarischer Weise” (1857; Hannover,
March 24, 1860); No. 3
in G major (Hannover, Nov. 5,1864;
rev. 1889); Andantino
and Allegro scherzoso (1850); Notturno;
Variations in E minor (Berlin,
Feb. 15,1881). vIOLIN AND PIANO:
3 Stucke (Romanze,
Fantasiestuck, Frtihlingsfantasie); 3 Stücke
Abendglocken, Ballade); Romance; Hebrew
Melodies; also Variations on
an Original Theme for Viola and
Piano; 2 songs.