|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
|Did You Guess?|
|Can You Guess?|
|Joseph Joachim Raff was born May 27, 1822 in the small town of Lachen, Switzerland. His father had been organist and music teacher in a monastery in Wettingen, then moved to a monastery in Lucerne. He then set himself up as a schoolmaster in Lachen.
|1819 - Julia Ward Howe, who wrote lyrics Battle Hymn of the Republic, was born.
1840 - Death of master violinist Niccolo Paganini.
(I didn't disregard him, he's coming up in a couple days!)
1906 - First performance of Mahler's Sixth Symphony.
1962 - Bob Dylan released The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan LP, with Blowin' in the Wind and A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall.
1981 - Premiere of Leonard Berstein's Halil for Flute and Orchestra. Israel Philharmonic conducted by the composer, with Jean-Pierre Rampal
2001 - Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink start a 5-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with Lady Marmalade.
|Joseph Joachim Raff
Click Photo to see Raff's Music at Amazon
|His father recognised Joseph's intellectual ability and sought to foster it with a strict study regime, trying to turn him into a child prodigy. At six Joseph could read German, at by age eight could translate Latin. His father was a keen musician and the lad was soon playing the violin and organ and singing in the church choir. By ten years of age he was regularly replacing his frequently ill father as the church's organist.
When Raff had completed his education he became a teacher, but his true love was music and composition, and he was torn between continuing to teach and compose, his friends Abt and Curtis persuaded him to send some of his works to Felix Mendelssohn to seek advice as to whether or not to abandon teaching. Mendelssohn's reply was very encouraging and suggested that Raff should abandon his teaching job and travel to Germany as soon as he could. In the meantime, he sent Raff's pieces to his own publishers, Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig with his recommendation. They eventually published 13 of Raff's earliest piano works.
June 19, 1845 (some sources say June 18, 1844) Raff's idol, Franz Liszt, was giving a concert. Raff had no money, so he walked the 80 km. to the concert arriving just before the concert in a driving rain. Liszt's manager was so moved that even though there were no tickets left he invited Raff to attend the concert and sit on the stage. This began an 11 year relationship between Raff and Liszt.
Finally out from under Liszt's wing Raff became recognized as a good composer in his own right. Raff wrote piano and chamber music with some success, but his operas were not well received.
Hoch Conservatory, in Frankfurt named Raff director in 1877, and he proved to be a good administrator.
In addition to his 216 official opus numbers there are a number of other pieces which he hadn't numbered in his official catalogue at the time of his death. Some of these are substantial - operas, suites, a concerto, orchestral overtures and sets of piano studies. It appears that he actually composed more than 290 works.
Joseph Joachim Raff died the night of June 24/25, 1882.
|Lady Marmalade. This platter has had at least two entries into music fame. The last time was because of Baz Luhrmann's musical Moulin Rouge. (See the sound track here.) Can You Guess who sang the song the first time around?
Go to the bottom of the Page for the Answer.
|The first time around, Lady Marmalade was sung by Patti LaBelle.
Did you see the color clues?
|And for music by Paganini . . .|
|Music by Raff|