Joseph Joachim Raff

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Raff, (Joseph) Joachim

Raff, (Joseph) Joachim , greatly renowned Swiss pedagogue and composer; b. Lachen, near Zürich, May 27, 1822; d. Frankfurt am Main, June 24, 1882. He was educated at the Jesuit Gymnasium in Schwyz. He was a schoolteacher in Rapperswill (1840–44), but pursued an interest in music. He sent some of his piano pieces to Mendelssohn (1843), who recommended them for publication; having met Liszt in Basel (1845), he received his encouragement and assistance in finding employment; later was his assistant in Weimar (1850–56), where he became an ardent propagandist of the new German school of composition, He then went to Wiesbaden as a piano teacher and composer, where he married the actress Doris Genast. He subsequently was director of the Hoch Cons. in Frankfurt (1877–82), where he also taught composition; students flocked from many countries to study with him, including Edward MacDowell. Raff was a composer of prodigious fecundity, and a master of all technical aspects of composition. He wrote 214 opus numbers that were pubi., and many more that remained in MS. In spite of his fame, his music fell into lamentable desuetude after his death. He publ. Die Wagnerfrage: Wagners letzte künstlerische Kundgebung im Lohengrin (Braunschweig, 1854).

Works

DRAMATIC: Opera: König Alfred (1848–50; Weimar, March 9, 1851; rev. 1852; Weimar, 1853); Samson (1853–57); Die Parole (1868); Dame Kobold, comic opera (1869; Weimar, April 9, 1870); Benedetto Marcello (1877–78); Die Eifersüchtigen, comic opera (1881–82). ORCH.: Grosse Symphonie (1854; not extant); 11 numbered syms.: No. 1, An das Vaterland (1859–61), No. 2 (1866), No. 3, Im Walde (1869), No. 4 (1871), No. 5, Leonore (1872), No. 6 (1873), No. 7, In den Alpen (1875), No. 8, Frühlingsklänge (1876), No. 9, Im Sommer (1878), No. 10, Zur Herbstzeit (1879), and No. 11, Der Winter (1876; unfinished; completed by M. Erdmannsdörfer); Fest- Ouvertüre (1851–52; not extant); Konzert-Ouvertüre (1862); Jubel-Ouvertüre (1864); Fest-Ouvertüre (1864); overtures to Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Othello (1879); 2 violin concertos (1870–71; 1877); Piano Concerto (1873); 2 cello concertos (1874, 1876); 4 suites (1863, 1871, 1874, 1877). CHAMBER: 9 string quartets (1849–74); 5 piano trios (1849–70); 5 violin sonatas (1853–68); Piano Quintet (1862); Octet (1872); Sextet (1872); Cello Sonata (1873); Sinfonietta for 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, and 2 Horns (1873); 2 piano quartets. Piano: Solo pieces; pieces for Piano, 4 -Hands; arrangements. VOCAL: Various choral works with orch. and many unaccompanied choral works.

Bibliography

A. Schäfer, Chronologisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der Werke J. R.s (Wiesbaden, 1888); H. Raff, J. R.: Ein Lebensbild (Regensburg, 1925); J. Kälin and A. Marty, Leben und Werk des Komponisten J. R. (Zürich, 1972); M. Römer, J. J. R. (1822–1882) (Wiesbaden, 1982); M. Wiegandt, Vergessene Symphonik?: Studien zu J. R., Carl Reinecke und zum Problem der Epigonalität in der Musik (Sinzig, 1997).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Raff, (Joseph) Joachim (b Lachen, Switz., 1822; d Frankfurt, 1882). Ger. composer. School-teacher who taught himself pf., vn., and comp. Orchestrated some of Liszt's works at Weimar. Espoused cause of ‘music of the future’. Pf. teacher, Wiesbaden, from 1856. Dir., Hoch Cons., Frankfurt, 1877–82. Taught Amer. composer MacDowell. Prolific and attractive composer whose mus. has enjoyed a modest revival after being almost forgotten except for celebrated Cavatina for vn. and pf. Comps. incl. 6 operas; oratorio; 11 syms., incl. No.3 Im Walde (In the Forest), No.5 Lenore, No.7 In den Alpen (In the Alps), No.9 Im Sommer (In Summer); pf. conc.; 2 vn. concs.; 2 vc. concs.; 9 str. qts.; 5 vn. sonatas; pf. quintet; octet; sectet; vc. sonata; songs, transcrs., etc.

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