Joachim, Joseph

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Joachim, Joseph

Joachim, Joseph, renowned Hungarian-born violinist, conductor, pedagogue, and composer; b. Kittsee, near Pressburg, June 28, 1831; d. Berlin, Aug. 15, 1907. His family moved to Pest in 1833 and he began to study violin with Szervaczinski in 1836, appearing with him in public at the age of 7. At the age of 10 he was sent to Vienna, where he studied with M. Hauser, G. Hellmes-berger Sr., and his major influence, J. Böhm. He went to Leipzig when he was 12 and was befriended by Mendelssohn; studied composition at the Cons, with Hauptmann and David. He first played in Leipzig on Aug. 19, 1843, in a concert with Pauline Viardot, Clara Schumann, and Mendelssohn, then appeared as soloist with Mendelssohn and the Gewandhaus Orch. (Nov. 16, 1843). In 1844 he made his London debut. His fame was assured with his remarkable performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto at a Phil. Soc. concert there under Mendelssohn (May 27, 1844). During his years in Leipzig, he played in the Gewandhaus Orch., becoming its assoc. concertmaster under David. He was concert-master of the Weimar Court Orch. (1850–53), but did not gain the favor of Liszt, who reigned supreme there. In 1853 he became Royal Music Director in Hannover, where he was active as both concertmaster and conductor. It was there that he met Brahms, who, with A. Dietrich and Schumann, wrote a Violin Sonata, F-A-E, on Joachim’s motto, “Frei aber einsam/’ 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 Ausübende Tonkunst, where aspiring violinists flocked from all over Europe to study with him, including 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 the Univ. of Cambridge (1877), as well as from Oxford and Glasgow. He gave his farewell concert in Berlin on April 6, 1907.

Joachim’s unswerving 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 Dvorak, 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 being the Hungarian 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. Violinschule (3 vols., Berlin, 1902-5; 2nd ed., rev., 1959 by M. Jacobsen).


orch.: overtures:Hamlet; Demetrius; Henry IV; overture inspired by 2 plays of Gozzi; “To the Memory of Kleist”; Scena der Marfa for Contralto. violin and orch. concertos: No. 1 in G minor, op. 3, “in einem Satz” (e. 1855), No. 2 in D minor, op. 11, “in ungarischer Weise” (1857; Hannover, March 24, 1860), and No. 3 in G major (Hannover, Nov. 5, 1864; rev. 1889). OTHER: Andantino and Allegro scherzoso (1850); Notturno; Variations in E minor (Berlin, Feb. 15, 1881). violin and piano: 3 Stücke (Romanze, Fantasiestück, Frühlingsfantasie); 3 Stücke (Lindenrauschen, Abendglocken, Ballade); Romance; Hebrew Melodies. OTHER: Variations on an Original Theme for Viola and Piano; 2 songs.


A. Moser, J. J., Ein Lebensbild (Berlin, 1898; 5th ed., rev., 1910; Eng. tr. from 2nd Ger. ed., 1900); K. Storck, J. J., Eine Studie (Leipzig, 1902); J. Fuller Maitland, J. J. (London and N.Y., 1905); L. Brieger-Wasservogel, /.- Gedenkbüchlein (Dresden, 1907); Johannes Joachim and A. Moser, eds., Briefe von und an J. J. (3 vols., Berlin, 1911-13; abr. Eng. tr., 1913); G. Maas, The Instrumental Music of J. J. (diss., Univ. of N.C., 1973).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

Joachim, Joseph

views updated May 08 2018


JOACHIM, JOSEPH (1831–1907), violinist. Born in Kittsee (Kopczeny), Joachim moved with his family to Budapest where his musical education began at the age of five. He gave his first concert at seven and at nine he was taken to Vienna to study with Hellmesberger and Boehm. At 12 he went on to Leipzig, where his studies were supervised and fostered by Felix *Mendelssohn, Ferdinand *David, and Moritz Hauptmann. From 1849 to 1854 he was concertmaster of Liszt's orchestra at Weimar, and from 1854 to 1864, concertmaster and conductor of the Royal Hanoverian Orchestra. He finally settled in Berlin in 1866 as director of the newly founded Hochschule fuer Musik. There he also founded the Joachim Quartet which became the leading quartet in Europe. His pedagogical talent attracted a great number of pupils, among whom were Leopold *Auer, Jenő Hubay, and Tivadar *Nachez.

Joachim's concert activity in Europe and England continued steadily throughout his career. Although he eschewed the character and role of a "traveling virtuoso," he became, at an early age, the most notable violinist of his generation (and its most distinguished teacher): an artist in whom technique, taste, intellect, and emotion were combined to a rare degree. His interpretation of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, for example, was considered definitive. He also re-edited Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in conformity with the original manuscript; revived the works of Tartini; and established in the repertoire Bach's works for solo violin in their original form, without the accompaniments added by 19th-century "improvers." Joachim's friendships with the great composers and performers of his time are an important factor in the history of music in the 19th century, especially his association with Mendelssohn, Liszt, Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann, and Brahms. Joachim introduced the young Brahms to Liszt, and arranged the fateful meeting between Schumann and Brahms in 1853. Of his own compositions, which include works for violin and orchestra, violin and piano, and songs, only the Violin Concerto op. 11 ("Hungarian") survived. His cadenzas for the Beethoven and Brahms concertos, however, are still performed. He also wrote a violin method with A. Moser. Although Joachim had converted to Protestantism in 1855, his decision to resign from the Hanoverian service was finally brought about in 1864, when the violinist J.M. Gruen was refused tenure as a Jew (a principle which had not been observed in Joachim's case). Joachim tendered his resignation on the grounds that he "would never be able to surmount the purely personal feeling of having been enabled through my earlier conversion… to enjoy worldly advantages in the Royal Hanoverian Orchestra while the members of my race occupy a humiliating position there." His Hebraeische Melodien for viola and piano, op. 9 (1854), were inspired mainly by Schumann's enthusiasm for Byron's poems. Although Wagner thought that Joachim's break from the Liszt-Wagner circle in 1857 was due to the republication at that time of Das Judentum in der Musik in Wagner's name (it had first been published anonymously in 1850), the break was undoubtedly caused by musical considerations.

Hundreds of works were dedicated to Joachim, including the Schumann, Brahms, Dvorak and Bruch (nos. 1 and 3) violin concertos, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody no. 12, and Schumann's Fourth Symphony (second version, 1853).

Joachim's grandnieces, the sisters Adila Fachiri (d'Aranyi, 1888–1962) and Jelly E. d'Aranyi (1895–1966), were well-known violinists.


A. Moser, Joseph Joachim (Ger., 19043); J. Joachim and A. Moser (eds.), Briefe von und an Joseph Joachim, 3 vols. (1911–13); mgg, incl. bibl.; Riemann-Gurlitt, incl. bibl.; Baker, Biog Dict, incl. bibl.; Grove, Dict, incl. bibl.

[Bathja Bayer]

Joachim, Joseph

views updated Jun 08 2018

Joachim, Joseph (b Kitsee, 1831; d Berlin, 1907). Hung. violinist and composer. Gave first concert at age of 7. Studied in Vienna 1839–43 under Hellmesberger and Boehm. Went to Leipzig Cons. 1843, where he was welcomed by the dir., Mendelssohn, playing at Gewandhaus concerts and, in 1844, in London (Beethoven conc.). In 1849 became leader of Weimar court orch., under Liszt, and leader and soloist to the King of Hanover 1853–66. Met and became friend of Brahms. In 1868 went to Berlin as dir. and prof. of vn. at the new Hochschule für ausübende Tonkunst, forming Joachim Quartet following year. Frequent visitor to England (hon. Mus.D., Cambridge, 1887). Superb interpreter of classical conc., especially that by Beethoven (for which he wrote cadenzas). Dedicatee and first player of Brahms's conc., and dedicatee of Dvořák's conc., which he refused to play. Rift in friendship with Brahms when marriage broke up and Brahms sided with Frau Joachim (the singer Amalie Weiss) in the divorce suit. This rift was healed by Brahms's Double Conc., 1887. One of conds., Berlin PO 1882–7. Comp. 3 vn. concs. (incl. Hungarian Concerto), 5 ovs., songs, etc. Orchestrated Schubert's Grand Duo (1855).

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