Lady Macfarren, Recollections of Dr. Joachim, The Musical Times, Vol. 48, No. 776 (October 1, 1907), p. 662.


  Lady Macfarren, Recollections of Dr. Joachim

I first saw Joachim at a vistit Professor Macfarren and I paid to his uncle, Mr. Figdor, residing at Tulse Hill. It was a grey, warm afternoon, and I saw a tall, genial youth, who I was told was a great violin player. I had a long game of ball with him, several times resumed, on the lawn, whilst Professor Macfarren and his uncle walked up and down on the paths at the sides of the garden. There was no music, and I remember no other people.

The song ‘Kleine Blumen, kleine Blätter,’ mentioned in your article, recalls to me that Joachim said he would like to write a song for me, and I looked out several sets of words. I must have told him of my regret that I could not sing Beethoven’s song to the above words, which I was very fond of, as it was too high for me and does not lend itself favourably to transposition. I have a dim remembrance of my surprise and pleasure to see these words set by Joachim for me. The copy was inserted into Professor Macfarren’s album.

We had returned from America in 1850, and in the first days of the Crystal Palace concerts I remember our hearing Joachim play the Beethoven Concerto and his joining us afterwards. We had our (then) little girl with us, and Joachim swung her on his shoulder to take her to look at the bears, pronouncing the word as rhyming with tears, which amused us all.

In 1854 or ’55 we took a small house in a large piece of ground in Alpha Road, St. John’s Wood, and there we saw the most we ever did of Joachim, of whom I treasure a store of delightful recollections. He was fond of the place, its shrubs and trees. He loved every spring to see the lovely blossom of an old medlar tree; took the liveliest interest in all our doings, down to some pigeons in an old shed, where he would go up a ladder to see all about them. He always brought his violin, took our early dinner with us, and if Professor Macfarren was writing anything new he wished to hear it, often playing a voice or solo part from my transcription. In successive years he brought many works to us that were appearing in Germany of Bach and others, his own fine Hungarian Concerto and other things. He played them over and over again with the earnest enthusiasm we all had noted so long. Those were happy, memorable occasions. Many a book I heard of only from him, and he often noted what we were reading in English.

In my memory he stands as one of the dearest of friends, who gave me much invaluable musical advice, for which I shall remain indebted whilst I live.