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

Sold at Sotheby’s on December 13, 2022:

Joachim. Collection of printed and manuscript music belonging to Joachim and his family.

Collection of printed and manuscript music belonging to Joachim and his family, WITH A MANUSCRIPT FULL SCORE OF JOACHIM’S OVERTURE DEMETRIUS, REVISED BY JOACHIM

the printed scores including by Bach (including a Breitkopf edition of six violin sonatas with piano accompaniments by Schumann, INSCRIBED BY SCHUMANN TO JOACHIM), Beethoven (Peters editions of the quartets op.18, arranged for piano four hands, inscribed “Joh. Joachim Pforta, d. 12 Sept. 1883”, and the violin concerto op.61), Gluck (a Peters edition of Iphigénie en Aulide, belonging to Marie Joachim), Mozart (a Peters vocal score of La clemenza di Tito inscribed by Marie Joachim), Tartini, Leclair, Spohr, Schubert, Mendelssohn (including a Peters edition of overtures arranged for piano four hands belonging to Johannes Joachim), Joachim (op.2 no.1, Romance), Schumann (first editions of Bunte Blätter, op.99, and Albumblätter, op.124), Ernst Rudorff (Variations op.24, inscribed by the composer), Brahms (including Ungarische Tänze, arranged for violin and piano, vols.1-3, vol. 3 without the violin part), and Heinrich von Herzogenberg (full score of Symphony no.2, inscribed by the composer “Seinem lieben Freunden Joseph Joachim Weihnacht 1890 HH”)

the manuscript comprising a scribal full score of Joachim’s orchestral overture Demetrius, op.6, notated in brown ink on one 16-stave system per page, dated by the scribe at the end (“Berlin, den 28sten August 1854″), WITH EXTENSIVE PENCIL ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS IN JOACHIM’S HAND, the title-page annotated by Joachim (“Umarbeitung einer frühern Ouverture”), 79 pages, oblong 4to (25.5 x 33.5cm), contemporary cloth, no place, [1854 and later]

33 volumes in all, various sizes, bound in with the volume containing Beethoven’s op.61 some manuscript items, including a sonata by Tartini, possibly marked up by Joachim, mostly cloth, nineteenth century, the inscription by Schumann on one edition cropped

A remarkable collection of volumes from the library of arguably the greatest violinist of the nineteenth century. Of particular interest is the score of Joachim’s Demetrius overture, composed 1853-1854 and later revised – a fine example of what the composer himself termed ‘psychological music’.

I would be delighted to hear from the buyer of this collection. The manuscript copy of the Demetrius Overture is of great historical importance, and should not be lost to scholarship. Please contact me at: reshbach(at)unh.edu. Thank you!

Now available from Boydell & Brewer: The Creative Worlds of Joseph Joachim, Valerie Woodring Goertzen and Robert Whitehouse Eshbach, editors


Introduction: The Creative Worlds of Joseph Joachim
Robert Whitehouse Eshbach

PART ONE: Identity

1. “Of the Highest Good”: Joachim’s Relationship to Mendelssohn
R. Larry Todd
2. Joseph Joachim and His Jewish Dilemma
Styra Avins
3. Joachim and Romani Musicians: Their Relationship and Common Features in Performance Practice
Mineo Ota

PART TWO: Joachim as Performer

4. Joachim’s Violins: Spotlights on Some of Them
Ruprecht Kamlah
5. (Re-)Enchanting Performance: Joachim and the Spirit of Beethoven
Karen Leistra-Jones
6. “Thou That Hast Been in England Many a Year”: The British Joachim
Ian Maxwell
7. Joachim at the Crystal Palace
Michael Musgrave
8. “Music Was Poured by Perfect Ministrants”: Joseph Joachim at the Monday Popular Concerts, London
Therese Ellsworth
9. “Das Quartett-Spiel ist doch wohl mein eigentliches Fach”: Joseph Joachim and the String
Robert Riggs
10. Professor Joachim and His Pupils
Sanna Pederson
11. Performers as Authors of Music History: Joseph and Amalie Joachim
Beatrix Borchard
12. At the Intersection of Performance and Composition: Joseph Joachim and Brahms’s Piano
Quartet in A Major, Op. 26, Movement III
William P. Horne

PART THREE: Joachim as Composer

13. Re-considering the Young Composer-Performer Joseph Joachim, 1841-53
Katharina Uhde
14. “Franz Liszt gewidmet”: Joseph Joachim’s G-minor Violin Concerto, Op. 3
Vasiliki Papadopoulou
15. Drama and Music in Joachim’s Overture to Shakespeare’s Henry IV
Valerie Woodring Goertzen
16. “So Gleams the Past, the Light of Other Days”: Joachim’s Hebräische Melodien for Viola and Piano, Op. 9 (1853)
Marie Sumner Lott
17. Tovey’s View of Joachim’s “Hungarian” Violin Concerto
Robert Riggs


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 like to find Margaret Alsager Ayrton’s unpublished diary.

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

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



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


  1. Ich versuche, die Korrespondenz zwischen Joseph Joachim und Bettina von Arnim zu finden, die 1929 von der Auktionsfirma Henrici versteigert wurde. [Karl Ernst Henrici, Versteigerungskatalog 155, Berlin: am 5. Juli 1929.] Für jede Information, die zum Aufenthaltsort führt, wäre ich sehr dankbar.
  2. Ich interessiere mich für Geburtsregister aus der Kehilla von Kittsee aus den späten 1820er bis frühen 1830er Jahren. Soweit ich weiß, existieren Geburtsregister erst ab Mitte der 1830er Jahre – zu spät, um Joachim einzuschließen.
  3. Ich würde gerne das unveröffentlichte Tagebuch von Margaret Alsager Ayrton finden.
  4. Ich interessiere mich immer für Briefe, Fotos, Erinnerungsstücke usw., die mit Joachim in Verbindung stehen. Bitte schreiben Sie mir eine E-Mail an die oben angegebene Adresse.
  5. Ich interessiere mich für den Aufenthaltsort des Gemäldes von Felix Possart vom Joachim Quartett in der Singakademie zu Berlin (1903).
  6. Joseph Joachim zur Zeit seines Debüts im Adelskasino (siehe oben): Dieses unschätzbar wertvolle historische Artefakt wurde irrtümlicherweise von Stair Galleries am 13. September 2008 als “Joseph Joachim Guernier – Der junge Geiger” verkauft, “Öl auf Holztafel, 8 3/4 x 6 3/4 Zoll. Herkunft: Eigentum der New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox und Tilden Foundations.” Der derzeitige Aufenthaltsort ist unbekannt.

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