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Highly honored sir, you call Joachim only the leading German violinist? I find him to be the leading performing musician altogether — an ideal of perfection. With his incomparable mastery he has terrified me and laid me low — but the feeling of artistic elevation that I owe to him won out in the end.

Hans von Bülow to Franz Wüllner, 1 December, 1866
(Berlin SBPK: Mus. ep. Hans von Bülow 1537)


This website is dedicated to the life and art of Joseph Joachim. The information on the site derives from my ongoing research and writing, which I am publishing here in the JJLesendpsspirit of modern, open-source scholarship. For copyright reasons having to do with source material, some of it remains password protected, and not available to the public. Information on this site is grouped in categories. The detailed Biographical Posts begin here (“Kittsee, 1831”), and continue as a series of linked articles. There are some gaps in the links — this is, as I say, an ongoing project. A Brief Biography begins below (“Joseph Joachim”).

In general, if you wish to use anything you see on this site, especially copyright material, please acknowledge the source. Those few with whom I have shared protected information are requested to keep their password secret, and not to make public any information that is not already in the public domain.

The WordPress blog format does not allow me to organize posts as I wish: it organizes posts by date, which is to say, randomly. I am, however, linking the Biographical Posts in sequence, and organizing all of the material in the INDEX. Content is also searchable using the “search” function.

I wish to acknowledge the invaluable and generous support of the University of New Hampshire, without which this work would not have been possible.

unh_logo_lrgRobert W. Eshbach
Associate Professor of Music Emeritus
University of New Hampshire
reshbach (at) unh.edu


Desiderata: 

bn_joachim1) I am trying to locate the correspondence between Joseph Joachim and Bettina von Arnim that was sold by Henrici auction house in 1929. [Karl Ernst Henrici, Versteigerungskatalog 155, Berlin: am 5. Juli 1929.] I would be very grateful for any information leading to its whereabouts.

2) I am interested in finding birth records from the Kittsee Kehilla from the late 1820s to the early 1830s. As far as I know, birth records exist only from the mid 1830s onward — too late to include Joachim.

3) I would be very grateful to hear from the owner of Joachim’s Hamlet overture, sold at Sotheby’s on June 9, 2010.

4) I would like to find Margaret Alsager Ayrton’s unpublished diary.

5) I am always interested in seeing letters, photographs, memorabilia, etc. connected with Joachim. Please email me at the above address.

6) I am interested in the whereabouts of the painting by Felix Possart of the Joachim Quartet in the Singakademie zu Berlin (1903).

7)

guernier_joseph_joachim-the_young_violinist~OMe00300~10620_20080913_09-13-08_57

Joseph Joachim at the time of his Adelskasino debut

This priceless historical artifact was erroneously sold by Stair Galleries on September 13, 2008 as “Joseph Joachim Guernier — The Young Violinist,” “Oil on panel, 8 3/4 x 6 3/4 in. Provenance: Property from the New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.” It’s whereabouts are currently unknown.

Thank you! RWE


Joachim Before and After copy

Photo: Reutlinger Paris

Photo restoration: Chris Whitehouse
Man Cave Pictures

Nur das Bedeutungslose fährt dahin,
Was einmal tief lebendig ist und war,
Das hat Kraft zu sein für immerdar.

Only the meaningless passes away.
That which is and was once deeply alive
Has the power to be for eternity

Joseph Joachim in Agathe von Siebold Schütte’s Stammbuch, Fall, 1894

Joseph Joachim

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JJHanfstaengelPSCrop copy

JOSEPH JOACHIM

* 28 June 1831 Kittsee (Kopčany/Köpcsény) Hungary (now Austria)

† 15 August 1907 Berlin

Violinist, Composer, Conductor, and Pedagogue. Founding director of the Königlich Akademischen Hochschule für ausübende Tonkunst (now Universität der Künste) Berlin. Joachim studied violin with Stanisław Serwaczyński and Joseph Böhm; composition with Gottfried Preyer and Moritz Hauptmann. He was a protégé of Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann, and, in the early 1850s, Franz Liszt. In adulthood, he became a close friend and collaborator of Johannes Brahms and a celebrated opponent of the New German School of Wagner and Liszt. He is widely regarded as one of the most significant and influential musical personalities of the long 19th century.


LIFE

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 12.01.39 PMoseph Joachim was born in Kittsee (Kopčany/Köpcsény) Hungary, in what is now the Burgenland region of Austria. He was the seventh child of Fanny (Franziska) Figdor Joachim (* ca. 1791 — † 1867), the daughter of a prominent Kittsee wool wholesaler then residing in Vienna, and Julius Friedrich Joachim (* ca. 1791 — † 1865), also a wool merchant, born 20 miles to the south in the town of Frauenkirchen (Boldogasszony). [1] Joachim’s birth date, now commonly accepted as June 28, 1831, has never been authenticated. [2]

Joachim was an Austro-Hungarian Jew, whose ancestors had been banished from SynagogueVienna by Emperor Leopold I in the early 1670s and settled in the Kittsee Kehilla, one of the culturally prominent Sheva Kehillot (“Seven Jewish Communities”) that arose in the late 17th century, and stood under the protectorate of the powerful Esterházy family[3] The Sheva Kehillot were among the wealthiest of the Hungarian Jewish communities, and their members were among the best-educated of Hungary’s Jews. Many were traders, who enjoyed considerably more privileges than the ghetto Jews of nearby Pressburg (Bratislava). As merchants, they travelled freely throughout the region, maintaining close contact with Vienna’s Jewish population, as well as with the large numbers of their co-religionists in Pressburg and Pest. In the early 1820’s Joachim’s maternal grandparents, Isaac (* 1768 — † 1850) and Anna (* 1770 — † 1833) Figdor, left Kittsee and settled in the Viennese Vorstadt of Leopoldstadt, the district along the Danube canal that was home to most of Vienna’s Jewish population. That the Figdors, as Jews, were permitted to live in Vienna at that time, before the loosening of residential restrictions in 1848, is an indication of special status, and suggests affluence. [4] Amongst the Figdors’ other grandchildren was Fanny Figdor Wittgenstein, the mother of the industrialist Karl Wittgenstein and the grandmother of the pianist Paul Wittgenstein and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Fanny Wittgenstein served as a surrogate mother to Joachim throughout much of his youth.

In 1833, the Joachim family settled in Pest, then the capital of Hungary’s thriving wool industry. [5] Joseph’s interest in music was stimulated by hearing his older sister, who studied voice and accompanied herself on the guitar. He became fixated on the violin when his father brought him a toy violin from a fair.

[See More]

© Robert W. Eshbach 2014


[1] The siblings were: Friedrich (*1812 — †1882, m. Regine Just *1825 — †1883), Josephine (*1816 — †1883, m. Thali Ronay), Julie (*1821 — †1901, m. Joseph Singer, *ca. 1818 — †1870), Heinrich (*1825 — †1897, m. Ellen Margaret Smart *ca. 1844 — †1925), Regina (*ca. 1827 — †1862, m. William Östereicher,  *ca. 1817, and later Wilhelm Joachim, *ca. 1812 — †1858), Johanna (*1829 — †1883, m. Lajos György Arányi, *1812 — †1877 and later Johann Rechnitz, *ca. 1812), and Joseph  (*1831 — †1907, m. Amalie Marie Schneeweiss *1839 — †1899). An 1898 interview with Joachim [Musical Times, April 1, 1898, p. 225] claims that Joachim was “the youngest of seven children.” In his authorized biography, however, Andreas Moser claims that Joseph was “the seventh of Julius and Fanny Joachim’s eight children.” The name and fate of the eighth and last sibling is unknown.

[2] Joachim himself was unsure of his birth date. For the first 23 years of his life, he believed he had been born in July — either the 15th or the 24th (Carl Ferdinand Becker, for example, in his Die Tonkünstler des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, (Leipzig, 1849, p. 82), gives Joachim’s birthdate as July 15, 1831. Joachim was living in Leipzig at the time, and was, undoubtedly, the source of this information). Joachim’s boyhood friend Edmund (Ödön) Singer (* 14 October 1831, Totis, Hungary — † 1912) also calls into question the year of Joachim’s birth. “All reference books gave 1831 as Joachim’s birth year, as well as the birth-year of my humble self. […] Joachim himself asked me one day: ‘How does it happen that we are always mentioned as having been born in the same year?  I am at least a year older than you!’ — I, myself, finally established my glorious birth-year after many years, while Joachim tacitly allowed the wrong date to persist.” [Edmund Singer, “Aus meiner Künstlerlaufbahn,” Neue Musik-Zeitung (Stuttgart), Vol. 32, No. 1, (1911), p. 8.]

[3] Deutschkreutz, Eisenstadt, Frauenkirchen, Kittsee, Kobersdorf, Lackenbach and Mattersburg (Hungarian: Német-Keresztur, Kismarton, Boldogasszony, Köpcsény, Kábold, Lakompak and Nagy Marton, respectively). Before 1924, Mattersburg was called Mattersdorf. Principal among these closely cooperating communities was Eisenstadt (Kismarton).

[4] Joseph’s maternal grandparents were Isaac [Israel, Isak] Figdor [Avigdor, Vigdor, Victor] (*1768 — †1850), k.k. priv. Großhändler [Imperial and Royal Wholesaler], and Anna Jafé-Schlesinger Figdor (*1770 — †April 12, 1833). Isaac and Anna had ten children: Regine, Karoline, Ferdinand, Fanny, Michael, Nathan, Bernhard, Wilhelm, Eduard, and Samuel. [E. Randol Schoenberg, GENI website: http://www.geni.com/people/Isak-Figdor/6000000008300436213?through=6000000007800493942 accessed 2/14/2011.]

[5] Wool was one of Hungary’s principal articles of commerce and a major source of capital for the Hungarian economy, primarily because it was one of the few export commodities that the Austrian government did not tax. Due to improved farming methods and the introduction of Spanish merino sheep to the region, Hungarian wool was of exceptional quality and highly prized by English woolen manufacturers. Each year, nearly 9 million pounds of wool were offered for sale at the spring trade fair in Pest, most of it bought by German merchants for resale in England. This trade in wool was largely carried on by strategically networked Jewish families, many of whom, like the Figdors, had relatives placed in each of the wool-trading capitals of Europe. The Figdor family connections extended from Pest and Vienna to Leipzig, London, and Leeds. This network of family and business connections was critical to the establishment, guidance, and promotion of Joachim’s musical career, which in its early years, not coincidentally, was centered in those same cities.

Robert Bridges: To Joseph Joachim

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could not be unframed in S.E.

To Joseph Joachim

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elov’d of all to whom that Muse is dear
Who hid her spirit of rapture from the Greek,
Whereby our art excelleth the antique,
Perfecting formal beauty to the ear;
Thou that hast been in England many a year
The interpreter who left us nought to seek,
Making Beethoven’s inmost passion speak,
Bringing the soul of great Sebastian near.
Their music liveth ever, and ’tis just
That thou, good Joachim, so high thy skill,
Rank (as thou shalt upon the heavenly hill)
Laurel’d with them, for thy ennobling trust
Remember’d when thy loving hand is still
And every ear that heard thee stopt with dust.

Robert Bridges, May 2, 1904
First published in the Times, May 17, 1904, p. 11

Portrait of Joseph Joachim (1904)
John Singer Sargent
American, 1856-1925
Oil on canvas. 87.6 x 73.0 (34 1/2 x 28 3/4 in.).
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank P. Wood 1928 901
©Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto


JJ Conf.

Opera Performances in Weimar During Joachim’s Tenure as Concertmaster

jj-initials1.jpg (300×273)

Opera Performances in Weimar During Joachim’s Tenure as Concertmaster
as Advertised in the Weimarische Zeitung


1850

16. 10. 1850 Donizetti Die Favoritin
22. 10. 1850 Donizetti Lucia von Lammermoor
27. 10. 1850 Mozart Die Zauberflöte (Neu einstudirt)
2. 11. 1850 Flotow Martha
13. 11. 1850 Donizetti Marie, oder: Die Tochter des Regiments
16. 11. 1850 Meyerbeer Robert der Teufel
20. 11. 1850 Donizetti Die Favoritin
24. 11. 1850 Donizetti Marie, oder: Die Tochter des Regiments
26. 11. 1850 Spontini Die Vestalin (Neu einstudirt)
30. 11. 1850 Flotow Stradella
1. 12. 1850 Boieldieu Johann von Paris
7. 12. 1850 Boieldieu Johann von Paris
10. 12. 1850 Boieldieu Johann von Paris
15. 12. 1850 Spontini Die Vestalin
22. 12. 1850 Weber Der Freischütz
26. 12. 1850 Mozart Die Zauberflöte
29. 12. 1850 Kauer Die Saalnixe (Neu einstudirt)

1851

5. 1. 1851 Rossini Othello, der Mohr von Venedig
11. 1. 1851 Bellini Die Familien Capuleti und Montecchi
18. 1. 1851 Rossini Othello, der Mohr von Venedig
25. 1. 1851 Donizetti Marie, oder: Die Tochter des Regiments
1. 2. 1851 Lortzing Czaar und Zimmermann (Zum Erstenmale: Auf höchsten Befehl zum Vortheil der Hinterbliebenen des am 21. Januar 1851 verstorbenen Componisten)
8. 2. 1851 Donizetti Marie, oder: Die Tochter des Regiments
16. 2. 1851 Raff König Alfred (Zum Erstenmale) (not performed)
16. 2. 1851 Wegen Krankheit der Frl. Agthe und Heiserkeit mehrerer Mitglieder anstatt der angekündigten Oper “König Alfred”: Konzert. Unter Direktion und gefälliger Mitwirkung des Hof-Kapellmeisters Dr. F. Liszt (program listed)
2. 3. 1851 Lortzing Czaar und Zimmermann
5. 3. 1851 Donizetti Lukrezia Borgia
9. 3. 1851 Raff König Alfred (Premiere: Raff Cond.)
11. 3. 1851 Raff König Alfred (Wiederholung)
15. 3. 1851 Wagner Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg
19. 3. 1851 Rossini Othello der Mohr von Venedig
23. 3. 1851 Lortzing Zaar und Zimmermann
29. 3. 1851 Donizetti Die Favoritin
1. 4. 1851 Bellini Die Familien Kapuleti und Montecchi
6. 4. 1851 Wagner Lohengrin
12. 4. 1851 Wagner Lohengrin
22. 4. 1851 Mozart Don Juan
30. 4. 1851 Donizetti Die Favoritin
3. 5. 1851 Raff König Alfred [Liszt?]
7. 5. 1851 Beethoven Fidelio
11. 5. 1851 Wagner Lohengrin
18. 5. 1851 Meyerbeer Robert der Teufel
25. 5. 1851 Auber Die Stumme von Portici [Große Oper in fünf Akten]
1. 6. 1851 Auber Fra Diavolo, oder Das Gasthaus in Terracina
9. 6. 1851 Flotow Martha, oder Der Markt von Richmond
14. 6. 1851 Bellini Norma
16. 6. 1851 Auber Die Stumme von Portici
18. 6. 1851 Donizetti Die Favoritin
21. 6. 1851 Mozart Don Juan [Letzte Abonnements-Vorstellung]
28. 6. 1851 Wagner Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg [Zum Schluß der Bühne]

14. 9. 1852 Play: Goethe Clavigo [Zur Wiedereröffnung der Bühne]
20. 9. 1851 Lortzing Zaar und Zimmermann (not performed)
20. 9. 1851Konzert der Fräul. Dulcken
24, 9. 1851 Bellini Die Familien Capuleti und Montecchi
28. 9. 1851 Spontini Ferdinand Cortez oder Die Eroberung von Mexico
4. 10. 1851 Flotow Martha, oder: Der Markt von Richmond
12. 10. 1851 Spontini Ferdinand Cortez oder Die Eroberung von Mexico
18. 10. 1851 Weber Der Freischütz
26. 10. 1851 Mozart Don Juan
30. 10. 1851 Weigel Die Schweizerfamilie
1. 11. 1851 Spontini Ferdinand Cortez oder Die Eroberung von Mexico
5. 11. 1851 Weber Der Freischütz
16. 11. 1851 Flotow Stradella
23. 11. 1851 Herold Zampa, oder Die Marmorbraut
26. 11. 1851 Herold Zampa, oder Die Marmorbraut
30. 11. 1851 Bellini Norma
3. 12. 1851 Bellini Die Familien Kapuleti und Montecchi
7. 12. 1851 Herold Zampa, oder Die Marmorbraut substituted for Donizetti Lukrezia Borgia
10. 12. 1851 Donizetti Lukrezia Borgia
14. 12. 1851 Weber Preziosa
21. 12. 1851 Lortzing Zaar und Zimmermann
25. 12. 1851 Mozart Die Zauberflöte
29. 12. 1851 Mozart Don Juan

1852

4.1.1852 Mozart Die Zauberflöte
11. 1. 1852 Wagner Lohengrin
18. 1. 1852 Boieldieu Johann von Paris
24. 1. 1852 Wagner Lohengrin
26. 1. 1852 Donizetti Marie, oder: Die Tochter des Regiments
28. 1. 1852 Rossini Der Barbier von Sevilla
31. 1. 1852 Flotow Martha, oder: Der Markt von Richmond [Special guest appearance by Henriette Sonntag]
7. 2. 1852 Meyerbeer Die Hugonotten [4th act, together with ballet performance]
15. 2. 1852 Donizetti Der Liebestrank
22. 2. 1852 Donizetti Der Liebestrank
28. 2. 1852 Weber Preciosa
29. 2. 1852 Wagner Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg
7. 3. 1852 Weber Der Freischütz
14. 3. 1852 Flotow Stradella
20. 3. 1852 Berlioz Benvenuto Cellini [Zum Erstenmale]
24. 3. 1852 Berlioz Benvenuto Cellini
28. 3. 1852 Lortzing Zaar und Zimmermann
4. 4. 1852 Konzert der Großherzogl. Hofkapelle im Hoftheater zum Besten des Pensionsfonds für die Witwen und Waisen verstorbener Hofkapellmitglieder.
17. 4. 1852 Berlioz Benvenuto Cellini
25. 4. 1852 Mozart Die Hochzeit des Figaro
2. 5. 1852 Kauer Die Saalnixe 1. Theil
9. 5. 1852 Kauer Die Saalnixe 1. Theil
15. 5. 1852 Wagner Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg
29. 5. 1852 Wagner Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg
31. 5. 1852 Flotow Stradella
1. 6. 1852 Lortzing Zaar und Zimmermann
3. 6. 1852 Wagner Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg
5. 6. 1852 Wagner Lohengrin
13. 6. 1852 Schumann Manfred [Zum Erstenmale]
15. 6. 1852 Wagner Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg
17. 6. 1852 Schumann Manfred
19. 6. 1852 Wagner Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg

12. 9. 1852 Verdi Hernani [Zur Wiedereröffnung der Buhne: Zum Erstenmale]
19. 9. 1852 Verdi Hernani
26. 9. 1852 Mehul Jacob und seine Söhne
2. 10. 1852 Wagner Lohengrin
7. 10. 1852 Mehul Jacob und seine Söhne
13. 10. 1852 Donizetti Die Favoritin
16. 10. 1852 Donizetti Die Favoritin
24. 10. 1852 Spohr Faust [Zum Erstenmale]
27. 10. 1852 Spohr Faust
31. 10. 1852 Bellini Norma
7. 11. 1852 Flotow Martha, oder Der Markt von Richmond
14. 11. 1852 Spohr Faust
17. 11. 1852 Berlioz Benvenuto Cellini


Statistics

Auber Die Stumme von Portici (2)

            Fra Diavolo, oder Das Gasthaus in Terracina

Beethoven Fidelio

Bellini Die Familien Capuleti und Montecchi (4)

Die Nachtwandlerin

Norma (4)

Berlioz Benvenuto Cellini (5)

Boieldieu Johann von Paris (4)

Donizetti Der Liebestrank (2)

Die Favoritin (7)

            Lucia von Lammermoor

            Lukrezia Borgia (2)

            Marie, oder: Die Tochter des Regiments (5)

Flotow Martha, oder Der Markt von Richmond (5)

            Stradella (4)

Herold Zampa, oder Die Marmorbraut (3)

Kauer Die Saalnixe (1) plus 2 x 1. Theil

Lortzing Czaar und Zimmermann (7)

Mehul Jacob und seine Söhne (2)

Meyerbeer Meyerbeer Die Hugonotten [4th act]

Robert der Teufel (2)

Mozart Die Hochzeit des Figaro

Don Juan (4)

Die Zauberflöte (4)

Raff König Alfred 3

Rossini Othello, der Mohr von Venedig (3)

            Der Barbier von Sevilla

Schumann Manfred (2)

Spohr Faust (3)

Spontini Die Vestalin (2)

            Ferdinand Cortez oder Die Eroberung von Mexico (3)

Verdi Hernani (2)

Wagner Lohengrin (8)

Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg (10)

Weber Der Freischütz (4)

            Preziosa (2)

Weigel Die Schweizerfamilie

= 117 performances of 37 different operas between 16. 10. 1850 and 30. 12. 1852.