Né le 27 mai 1822 à Lachen, sur les rives du Lac de Zurich, le petit Joachim ébahit ses proches par son intelligence et ses talents: ses traductions du latin, sa lecture de Platon, sa maîtrise à l’orgue pendant les services liturgiques à 10 years !
During his high school years with the Jesuits in Schwyz, the fascination with music overtook school subjects with impressive results. Raff sends the first volume of piano compositions to Schott Editions in Germany, including a Souvenir of Lake Zurich, a piece referring to the waves crashing at the foot of his hometown. A fan and imitator of Mendelssohn, the young man holding a teacher position at Rappersweil sent his works 2-7 to Leipzig. Mendelssohn diagnoses the talents there and recommends these pieces for Breitkopf und Härtel editions and Schumann dedicates an article to them in his review “Zeitschrift für Musik”. After being given leave at school, Raff went to Zurich where he lived as best he could as a piano teacher and transcribed scores.
Franz Liszt’s June 1845 concert in Basel would bring about a decisive turning point in the life of the young Raff: he managed to get close to his idol, all after his walk in the rain from Zurich. Liszt allocates him a spot near the piano before he gives his concert. The interview that followed the ceremony led to El-Sayed’s suggestion to follow him to Germany as an assistant. Thus, along with working as a piano salesman in Cologne, the livelihood that Liszt provided him, Raff would have to develop certain Liszt drawings and coordinate pieces for piano, and manage the versions, while refining his own technique. decomposition. In 1846, Mendelssohn offered to come and study with him in Leipzig, but Raff refused the offer, not wanting to part with his boss.
However, his heat-resistant personality aspires to more independence, and guardianship seems to weigh him down more and more. Why not go and try his luck in Stuttgart, one of the strongholds of musical culture in southern Germany, a place that gave him access to great people, like Hans von Bülow, the greatest maestro of the time. Raff can always count on his friend, thanks to which his symphonies, concertos and speeches are often programmed into the high places for music. However, the two-year period in Stuttgart required material sacrifices. Concerned about instability, Raff expresses his connection to Switzerland through piano pieces and pieces that talk about folklore and mountains, such as Sehnsucht nach dem Rigi (Nostalgia for Rigi), the innocent pieces that partly remember Leader on War by Mendelson.
Repenting of abandoning Liszt, he decided to join him in Weimar to return to his duties there. Note that Raff’s signatures are calligraphic pearls. Echo his years as a teacher?
The Weimar period gave him many benefits: first of all, he met his future wife Doris Gennast, who came from Wiesbaden. Then the success of his opera Alfred Koenig At the city’s Hoftheater, finally contacting Joseph Joachim, the greatest violinist at the time and friend of Johannes Brahms. Raff’s numerous publications in numerous newspapers and reviews will provoke the growing discontent of Liz’s entourage, especially his article die wagnerfrag (Wagner’s question) which is judged to be an anti-Wagnerian polemic. Despite stimuli in Goethe (who died a few years earlier), relations with Liszt deteriorated. Raff decided to join his fiancée in Wiesbaden in 1856 where he would live out his most fruitful period as a composer. The spa attracts an interesting audience, concerts and a theater where his wife Doris works as an actress, which gives it a cosmopolitan vibe, and a “modern” city allows Ruff to flourish. With his first symphony An das VaterlandIn honor of Germany, the country who adopted it, he received a prestigious award (his father, originally from Württemberg, had taken refuge in Switzerland in 1810 for political reasons). Wagner, whose opera Raff admires – despite his reservations – is currently undergoing treatment here. Their discussions focus on the role of music in general and on Sid Bayreuth’s future opera, but these discussions end in a disagreement after a disparaging remark about Tristanafter which Wagner denounced in Raff “his exhausted genius and imbued with his intelligence.”
with Third Symphony Ref. 153 “I’m My Father” (Into the Woods), Joachim Raff has succeeded in conquering the world. Here’s a real hack: publishers are squabbling over the composer’s scripts. Even the distant Tchaikovsky would highlight the beauty of this symphony in his 1879 letter to his patron, especially appreciating the sound of the four centuries, these messengers of passion in romantics like Schumann or Brahms. After the construction in Vienna in 1870, Hans von Bülow spoke of “enormous success”. The symphony in America is considered “the best symphony of the day”. This is the time when we love robotics. Here are some of the highlights of the symphony:
The first movement looks like an extension of pastoral Beethoven: The rustle of foliage and the flutter of birds. The author himself describes the music path as a walk through the woods, with its changing atmosphere: the calm of the morning with the meanders of graceful melodies and the distant trumpet calls. Note the dialogue improvements between records to break up the topic. The arabesque of the clarinet dominates the dark aura of the twilight part, and the very long cantellina carried by the violin and the horn in unison emphasize the depth of space. The last march with resounding strings and a dotted rhythm announces the chase, before the horns appeared in the DP From afar, they impose themselves in a major specialty with their subject in long natural colors (memorial of Alvorn?):
Future publications published at an accelerated pace will enhance Raff’s reputation and ensure his unfettered life. However, a prestigious position at a world-famous institute will be the culmination of his career. Now the city of Frankfurt is looking for a director to head the new Hoch’sches Konservatorium. Raff, 56, got the job. How does your institute award famous professors?
It wasn’t long before Clara Schumann, “Argerich” at the time asked for the collaboration. At first she was somewhat hesitant, emphasizing in her diary: “Can I work at this institute with Raff, who does not love me at all?” But a letter from her friend Brahms managed to convince her, and the 59-year-old pianist came to live in Frankfurt to teach there for 14 years. Additionally, the conservatory will see an influx of stars such as Bülow, Liszt, and Brahms; Their concerts contribute to the impact of the institute. Despite the multiple administrative tasks that require a lot of energy from his manager (he doesn’t know how to delegate the smallest of tasks), Raff will produce important new works: Cycle of Symphonies in Seasons, New Opera, or Cantata. stars On texts written by his daughter Helen, and finally public speaking Welt-Ende – Gericht – Neue Welt (Apocalypse / Last Judgment / New World), his greatest authorship based on the text of the Revelation of St. John. It is possible that his heart attack at age 60 was due to the overload of his activities, but also due to a disagreement with the conservatory’s advisors (“curators”) over a conceptual disagreement. Raf’s funeral in Frankfurt cemetery attracts the great world of culture, and the city will erect a majestic memorial on his grave.
The small town of Lachen is the headquarters of the Joachim Raff Association, an organization that has devoted 50 years to the dissemination of the work, by organizing seminars and concerts and by publishing articles and essays. On the occasion of this year’s bicentennial, these events have taken on impressive proportions. Recently we are witnessing a real renaissance of Ruff in the media and global websites. The local press launched a “Raffgier” (German term for “greedy”) joke that had just invaded the Lachen region. We celebrate this Swiss author of more than 200 works, previously little known in his homeland, but much more appreciated on the international scene of his day.
to go further
Reese Marty, Joachim Raff, Leben und Werk, MP Verlag, Altendorf CH 2014: A massive, highly detailed and richly documented biography of the composer and his time. Reiss Marti is the president of the “Joachim Raff Association” Lachin.
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