The Musical World, Vol. 31, No. 8 (February 19, 1853), p. 110



BERLIN. — JOACHIM’S FIRST APPEARANCE. — The second concert of the Sternsche Verein was rendered remarkable by the first appearance of the young violinist, Joseph Joachim. His name was already well known, but himself, his artistry, had yet to be appreciated. His birth-place is Pesth; he went early to Leipzig, where, as a boy, he was the favourite of Mendelssohn; was afterwards greatly distinguished by Liszt in Weimar, and is now Concert-master in Hanover. But his genius stands not in need of patronage. He came forward as one of those rare artists who in the performance of a few bars manifest the entire greatness of their genius. This it would seem impossible to do in a simple theme, or in some unimportant passages: but yet it is so. Joachim had not played twelve bars when the most joyful astonishment was shewn on every face. His soft, full tone, the charm of his phrasing, the exquisite refinement of his crescendo and decrescendo, in fact, the enchantment that it was to feel the presence of every quality that is desired in an artist, placed him at once in the first rank in our esteem, and proved him to be, perhaps, the greatest living performer on his instrument. The grand cadence that he introduced in the Beethoven concerto seemed to shew that he could also perform all the modern “tours de force” as well as, and better, than the best bravura players of our time. But he had already shewn a gift in which he is unrivalled, and therefore this test of his powers was hardly needed. His external appearance, the awkward, embarrassed way of presenting himself; the half-shy, half-sulky, and yet so winning physiognomy, all shew that the outward world hardly touches him; that it is his art alone which engrosses him entirely. Even his success — and of course he excited a storm of approval, which from the audience of these concerts, the most intelligent in Berlin, is saying a great deal — he received with indifference.  — Suddeutsche Musik Zeitung.

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