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Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
TODAY IS
February 22
Can You Guess? Below we read about Johannes Brahms.  He wrote a melody (yawn)  almost everybody knows.  (yawn)  Can You Guess what that song might be?  Pardon me, it's time for ny nap.

Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer
.
What Else
Happened
Today?
1878 - First performance of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony in St. Petersburg.

1890
- First performance of Johannes Brahms's revised Piano Trio No. 1 in Bb, Op. 8. Rosé Chamber Concerts, with the composer at the piano

1908 -
Claude "Fiddler" Williams, jazz violinist, was born.

1930 - Marni Nixon, US soprano, was born.   Known for her film over-dubbing for voices of Natalie Wood in West Side Story, Deborah Kerr in The King and I and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady and as the voice of Grandmother Fa in Mulan.

1961 - Lowell Liebermann, US composer, was born in NYC.

1964 -
Fun, Fun, Fun by the Beach Boys, was released.

1973
- Dueling Banjos, by Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandell, was released.  Click HERE to hear a midi version of the piece in which a banjo and a guitar try to imitate and outdo one another.
Joseph Joachim
1831 – 1907
Bruch's Scottish Fantasy
Played by Jascha Heifetz

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The first performance of Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy Op. 46 in Liverpool, England, February 22, 1881.  Bruch, himself, was the conductor.  The soloist was the famous violinist Joseph Joachim.

Joseph Joachim was born on June 28, 1831, in Kittsee, near Pressburg (Austria-Hungary) , the son of a Jewish merchant family.

In 1833, the family moved to Budapest, where Joseph child was given his first violin lessons by the Polish concert master of the Pest Royal Opera. His talents were immediately apparent and it became clear that music was to be his future.
At the age of seven, Joachim was sent to Vienna, where he studied violin with Joseph Böhm and Georg Hellmesberger Senor -- concertmaster of the royal court opera. He played in Joseph Hellmesberger’s Children’s Quartet, attended the Vienna Conservatory, finishing his studies there when he was 12.

Moving to Leipzig, Joachim studied under Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, who would become his role model.  Mendelssohn made sure that Joachim studied violin, but he was equally adamant that Joachim should study composition as well as the humanities. He took Joachim to London, where Joachim performed Beethoven’s violin concerto to wide critical acclaim. As Joachim studied Mendelssohn’s concepts of art, music and the artistic personality, he began to develop a deep admiration for Mendelssohn and his ideals.

But when Joachim was 16 years old Mendelssohn suddenly died. The loss of his friend and mentor was extremely difficult for Joachim. In 1849 he went to Weimar, where he met Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner. Joachim became concertmaster and composed. More importantly, here he determined to dedicate himself to his mentor's ideals.

In the fall of 1852, Joachim moved to Hannover.  It was in Hannover that he formed his friendships with Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann. Brahms consulted him extensively as he composed his violin concerto.  Joachim was at the baton when Brahms's First Symphony was introduced in London.  At this time Joachim also championed Beethoven's violin concerto to the extent that the Beethoven became cornerstone in the standard violin repertoire. He served in Hannover as concertmaster, musical director, and soloist.  He became such a good friend of King George V, that the King became Joachim's godfather.  He also met and married the famous opera singer Amalie Schneeweiss.  He composed.  He performed the works of the famous composers of years before as well as those of his contemporaries.  And his virtuosity on the violin grew.  It was said that Joachim was in service to no man, but was in service to his art . . . to music itself.

In 1866 Joachim left Hannover.  In 1868 he became the founding director of the Royal Academy of Music, in Berlin.  There he established the legendary Joachim Quartet.

When Joseph Joachim died on August 15, 1907 he had been active as a performer and teacher for almost 40 years.  Among his compositions are various works for the violin (including three concertos) and overtures to Shakespeare's
Hamlet and Henry IV. He also wrote cadenzas for a number of other composers' concertos (including the Beethoven and Brahms).  

In 1991, the Hannover International Violin Competition of the Foundation of Lower Saxony was "Dedicated to Joseph Joachim."
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Did You Guess?
Perhaps the most famous piece written by Johannes Brahms was his Lullaby.  Click here to hear a midi version of the lullaby.