Raff, Joachim


Raff, Joachim

Orchestral Suite in F, Op. 101

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Joachim Raff – Orchestral Suite op. 101

(b. Lachen near Zürich, 27. May 1822 — d. Frankfurt on the Main, 24. June 1882)

Introduction und Fuge p.2
Menuett p.36
Adagietto p.57
Scherzo p.77
Marsch p.108

Between Progressive Thinking and ‘Restoration’ –
Joachim Raff’s Orchestral Suite op. 101

After Joachim Raff gave up his steady teaching post in the Swiss town of Rapperswil, he cannot have imagined that this decision would bring him a whole fifteen years of poverty.1 At first he scraped a living in a number of German towns and then, beginning in 1850, he spent six years in Weimar as the assistant of Franz Liszt. After his relations with the Liszt circle had increasingly deteriorated, he moved to join his fiancée Doris Genast in Wiesbaden. Raff laid the basis for his international breakthrough primarily with his chamber music, which, thanks to the Weimar virtuosi, who travelled widely, achieved at least some degree of recognition in many towns. It finally came in 1862 with the award of a prize to his Symphony No. 1 ‘To the Fatherland’ op. 96 in a competition organised by the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna.

However, Raff was soon forced to the conclusion that this challenging and large-scale symphony was too demanding for either the orchestra or the public. At the same time, it was not just with Richard Wagner and his successors that scepticism about the viability of the symphony as a genre seemed to have gained a hold: even composers who opposed his ‘music of the future’ were looking for new solutions to the question how one might create orchestral works that were appropriate to the age. Among these was Vincenz Lachner, kapellmeister at the National Theatre in Mannheim, who wrote in a letter to the publisher Franz Schott on April 24, 1863, ‘The newer symphonies won’t survive (and I prophesy no better fate for Raff’s prize-winning symphony), … for we have come to the end with symphonies.’2 His brother Franz Lachner, kapellmeister at the Munich Opera House, had found an alternative, he said: ‘Living as we do in an age obsessed with innovation, my brother had the good idea of reaching back to the forms of the past and presenting the suite as one that is ageing but viable clothed in the new art of instrumentation.’3 Franz Lachner’s first two suites did indeed have great success and were soon to be numbered among the most frequently played orchestral works between 1850 und 1875.4 It seems at first sight opportunistic that in 1863 Raff, with his First Orchestral Suite op. 101, should be in competition with a ‘Restoration composer’ in whom a good ten years earlier in ‘Die Wagnerfrage’ (The Wagner Question) he had claimed to discover ‘negative progress towards characterlessness’5. But Raff saw himself as rediscovering this old genre. After his visit to Leipzig in January 1865 the choirmaster of St Thomas’, Moritz Hauptmann, wrote to his friend Franz Hauser, ‘Raff was actually the first person to pick up the form of the suite again, initially for the piano and then for the orchestra – before Franz Lachner, as he says. …


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Score No.



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160 x 240 mm