Joachim Raff


Romance No.1 for Cello & Piano, Op.182 No.1

Joachim Raff's Romance No.1 for Cello and Piano, Op.182 No.1 was the first of two that Raff composed in 1873. Raff could not make up his mind whether to they should be for horn and piano, which he thought of originally or for cello and piano. In the end, he published two versions. Needless to say, the one for cello was performed far more often and became more popular. It is an Andante, well suited to the cello, and showcases Raff’s gift for lovely melody. It makes a superb encore or shorter recital pieces allowing the cello to beautifully sing.


During the last ten years of his life and for the three decades following it, Joachim Raff (1822-1882) was regularly mentioned in the same breath as Wagner, Liszt, and Brahms as one of Germany's leading composers. The experts and the public judged him to be the  equal to such past masters as Mendelssohn, Schumann and Tchaikovsky.  Incredibly, by the 1920's his music had all but disappeared from the concert stage. It seems virtually unimaginable that a composer whose talent was recognized and whose music was admired by Mendelssohn and Liszt, could become a mere footnote, yet this is what became of Raff and his music for most of the 20th century. Only now is he being rediscovered to the delight of those fortunate enough to hear his music. Joachim Raff (1822-1882) was born near Zurich and his family had hoped he would be come a school teacher, but music was his first love. Basically self-taught, Raff sent some of his early compositions to Mendelssohn who immediately recognized his talent and arranged for their publication. Unfortunately, Mendelssohn died before he could help Raff much more. The young composer then approached Liszt who also took an interest in him and took him on as his personal secretary and copyist. During the six years he spent with Liszt, Raff became a member of the so-called "New German School" led by Wagner and Liszt. Although he broke from them in 1856, he was still regarded as a Wagnerite by the supporters of Brahms and the other classicists. In short, Raff was in neither camp, but attacked by both. Isolated, he went his own way, paying little attention to the musical politics of late 19th century Germany.


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