Jadassohn, Salomon


Jadassohn, Salomon

Concert Overture No. 2 in D Major for Large Orchestra Op. 37

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Salomon Jadassohn
(b. Breslau, 3rd September 1831 – d. Leipzig, 1st February 1902)

Concert Overture No. 2 in D Major for Large Orchestra Op. 37

Salomon Jadassohn was a composer, music theorist, teacher, pianist and conductor who played an important role in the flowering of Austro-German musical culture during the latter half of the nineteenth century, gaining an international reputation, most notably as a teacher and music theorist. At the time of his birth the city of Breslau (now known as Wrocław and belonging to Poland since 1945) formed part of Prussia and Jadassohn‘s early musical education took place there under Lüstner, Adolph Hesse and Moritz Brosig, all of whom were eminent figures in Breslau‘s musical life, the last two playing a significant role in the nineteenth-century Bach revival in Germany. In 1848 Jadassohn entered the newly-founded Leipzig Conservatory to study the piano with Ignaz Moscheles, leaving that institution the following year to continue his pianistic studies with Liszt in Weimar (1849-1852). In 1850 he attended the premiere of Wagner‘s opera Lohengrin in that city under Liszt‘s direction, and this music greatly impressed him. On the 13th April 1851 Jadassohn was the soloist in the premiere of Liszt‘s concerted arrangement for piano and orchestra of C. M. von Weber‘s Polacca brillante in E Op. 72 which Liszt also conducted. Upon completing his studies with Liszt in 1852 Jadassohn returned to the Leipzig Conservatory to pursue theory and composition studies with Ernst Richter and Julius Reitz, subsequently continuing these studies privately with Moritz Hauptmann.1 At this point it is interesting to observe that Jadassohn‘s studies in both Breslau and Leipzig were guided by musicians with strong links to the Bach and Mendelssohn legacies (Bach: Hesse, Brosig, Richter, Hauptmann; Mendelssohn: Rietz), these studies focusing on allround musicianship as well as a sound grounding in musical theory and composition. However, Jadassohn‘s Weimar experience also opened him up to a very different school of musical ideologies that emanated from the the so-called New German School2 which he selectively assimilated.

Leipzig had long been a centre of great musical importance, its musical culture and activities reflecting the diverse range of musical developments that were current across Europe at this time and Jadassohn settled there to establish himself. Being Jewish, many of the more important musical positions in the city, especially those within the Lutheran Church, were closed to him, so he set up as a private teacher initially, eventually taking up the conductorship of the Leipzig Synagogue Choir (1865), the Psalterion Choral Society which he also founded (1866), and the Musikverein Euterpe concerts (1867-1869). In 1871 he was appointed a teacher of harmony, counterpoint, composition, instrumentation, and piano at the Leipzig Conservatory3 and, whilst there, produced his didactive five-volume Theory of Composition (1883-1889)4 which codified the traditional views of harmony, counterpoint, and form. In addition, he authored various other important critical and analytical books.5 In 1887 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree in music from the University of Leipzig and, six years later, was appointed a Royal Professor. Highly regarded for his scholarly integrity and allround musicianship, Jadassohn subsequently held the chair in the fledgling field of musicology at the University of Strasbourg from 1897 until his death, Strasbourg at that time forming a part of the German Empire.6

Although Jadassohn was successful as a performer, theorist and teacher, he considered himself to be primarily a composer and, in this last capacity, produced over 140 numbered works in addition to various unnumbered works. Also, under the pseudonym H. Ollivier he penned a variety of other compositions. His output embraced a wide variety of genres, including works for solo piano and organ, chamber music, choral works, and orchestral works although, apart from the Balletmusik Op. 58, he produced no works for the theatre. This last fact doubtless underlines the more conservative aspect of Jadassohn‘s musical psyche. A master of counterpoint and harmony as well as a gifted melodist in the Mendelssonian tradition, …


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