Raff, Joachim

Italienische Suite for orchestra

SKU: 4477 Category:


Joachim Raff – Italienische Suite, WoO 35

(b. 27 May 1822 — d. 25 June 1882)

(Autumn 1871)

Ouverture p.3
Barcarole p.33
Intermezzo (Pulcinella) p.43
Notturno p.65
Tarantelle p.77

Born in Lachen, Switzerland, Joachim Raff was the son of a teacher and an organist who had fled from Württemburg in the face of French conscription. Raff was a child prodigy who played violin, piano and organ, and was also hugely gifted in linguistic studies; much of his musical accomplishment was achieved without any formal instruction, and as for composition he was entirely self-taught. He initially followed his parents’ wishes for him to become a teacher, but then branched out into writing musical criticism, and pursued his true calling as a composer. He received encouragement from Mendelssohn who arranged for some of his early piano pieces to be published by Breitkopf and Härtel. Mendelssohn invited the young man to come and study with him in Leipzig, a plan that was scuppered by the great composer’s premature death in 1847. Liszt had befriended Raff as early as 1845; the story of their first meeting involved Raff walking from Zürich to Basle on a pilgrimage to hear the virtuoso give a recital. The magnanimous Liszt created many important connections to boost Raff’s struggling musical career; he got him positions in a piano warehouse in Cologne, and with the publisher Schuberth in Hamburg. Eventually Raff arrived at Liszt’s musical court in Weimar in January 1850. He became one of the staunchest supporters of the Weimar School, absorbing Liszt’s thoughts about programme music and becoming an advocate of Wagner. In his turn Liszt was keen to learn from Raff about the art of instrumentation, a field in which he readily acknowledged the younger man’s greater experience; Raff would exaggerate the importance of his work for the older man, but certainly in the early stages of the Weimar phase he was a significant guide and musical assistant. In 1856 Raff’s association with Liszt ended; he married Doris Genast in 1859, and for some years he enjoyed a successful career as a piano teacher in Wiesbaden. …


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Score No.



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210 x 297 mm





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