Gernsheim, Friedrich


Gernsheim, Friedrich

Violin Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 86

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Friedrich Gernsheim – Violin Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 86

(b. Worms, 17 July 1839 – d. Berlin, 10 September 1916)


I Allegro risoluto (p. 1) – Tranquillo (p. 2) – Cadenza ad libitum (p. 4) – Tutti, con fuoco (p. 6) – Calmo (p. 19) – Poco a poco più animato (p. 20) – Molto vivo (p. 21) – Tempo primo, as in the beginning (p. 25) – Tranquillo (p. 27) –
II Andante cantabile (p. 29) – Un poco più con passione (p. 38) – Tempo primo (p. 42) – III Allegro giocoso (p. 47) – Più mosso (p. 73) – Stretta (p. 78)

Friedrich Gernsheim first grew up in his native town of Worms as the son of a doctor and an excellent amateur pianist. He learned to play the piano at an early age, and soon tried his hand at his own compositions. His first renowned teacher was the Spohr pupil Louis Liebe (1819-1900) from Magdeburg, who directed the Worms Musikverein from 1846-50 and recognized and encouraged the boy’s great talent. In 1849, on his father’s instructions, his mother fled with the boy from the revolutionary struggles to the safer city of Mainz and in the same year on to Frankfurt. There Friedrich devoted himself intensively to studying music with Eduard Rosenhain (1818-61, piano), Johann Christian Hauff (1811-91, theory and composition), Eduard Eliason (1808-68, violin), and concertmaster Heinrich Wolff (1813-98, violin). As early as May 5, 1850, the eleven-year-old played his first public concert at the Frankfurt Stadttheater, where he appeared as pianist in Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s Piano Concerto in A minor, as violinist in Pierre Rode’s Variations in G major, and as conductor with his own Overture in C minor, written while still in Worms under Liebes’ tutelage. A year and a half later, his second public concert took place in the hall of the Sokrates Masonic Lodge, now with Mozart, Mendelssohn and new compositions of his own. In 1852, he conducted the premiere of his second orchestral Overture in F minor in Karlsruhe. At that time, Beethoven had become his great idol.

In May 1852 he began his training – as the youngest student – at the Leipzig Conservatory, where he studied piano with Ignaz Moscheles (1794-1870) and Louis Plaidy (1810-74), violin with Ferdinand David (1810-73) and Raimund Dreyschock (1824-69), counterpoint and fugue with Moritz Hauptmann (1792-1868) and Ernst Friedrich Richter (1808-79), composition with Julius Rietz (1812-77), and music history with Franz Brendel (1811-68). Here he became acquainted with the music of Johannes Brahms, which became the decisive guide for his own creative work, and became enthusiastic about Richard Wagner’s ‘Tannhäuser’ and ‘Lohengrin’. At the end of June 1854 he completed his studies with a brilliant report in all subjects, although his compositions, for all their obvious skill, did not yet show a recognizably independent profile. He first went back to Worms, where he performed Mendelssohn’s 1st Piano Concerto in G minor, and in 1855 went from there with both parents to Paris, where the Jewish family could count on influential friends. Immediately upon arrival, he witnessed the colossal premiere of Hector Berlioz’s ‘Te Deum’ with 900 performers at St. Eustache on April 30, and the World’s Fair immediately thereafter. He met Camille Saint-Saëns and the great singer and pedagogue Julius Stockhausen (1826-1906), and in the fall conducted a very successful concert of some of his own orchestral works that are now lost. But then his father ran out of money, and Friedrich had to take care of himself and his mother while he continued to perfect himself in piano playing with Antoine François Marmontel (1816-98) and in violin playing with Lambert-Joseph Massart (1811-92), and continued his studies as a composer in strict voice leading on his own, putting a symphony in E-flat major on paper. Most notably, he came into close contact with Gioacchino Rossini and heard for the first time the preeminent pianists of the era Franz Liszt and Anton Rubinstein (1829-94). He became friends with the latter to whom he later dedicated his Piano Concerto, Op. 16. He was enthusiastic about Rubinstein’s music, but could do nothing with Liszt’s compositions. In Paris he also began a friendship with the conductor Hermann Levi (1839-1900) and wrote his first works with opus numbers that he kept in his catalogue. On March 18, 1861, he witnessed the ‘Tannhäuser Scandal’ at the Paris Opera and met Wagner, whom he later shunned. In 1860 he met Max Bruch in Mainz, and in 1861 he moved from Paris to Saarbrücken, where he took up his first position as choral and orchestral director on the recommendation of his predecessor Levi. …



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