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Hanslick's Impressions of Famous Violinists. IV. Joseph Joachim.

"The most important  event of the past week,"     writes Hanslick, in 1861,  "was the appearance of Joseph Joachim. It is quite true that Joseph Joachim, the prodigy, was well known to the Viennese public years ago, but Joachim, the full-fledged artist, has been a stranger to us all these years, except by reputation. Despite his youth, Joachim has been considered the greatest living violinist for the past ten years, and the mere fact that he and Vieuxtemps have long been regarded as rivals by many admirers of both players only goes to prove Joachim's exceptional greatness. The artist certainly had no simple task to satisfy the expectations of our intelligent   and experienced public, but there can be no question that he has fulfilled, in the most brilliant manner, all our expectations.
 
"Joachim began with the Beethoven concerto. Even at the end of the first movement of the concerto it was perfectly clear to everybody that Joachim is not only remarkable for his astounding virtuosity, but also for his peculiar and powerful personality. His playing is characterized by great depth, freedom, and nobility. Not a single embellishment smacks of virtuosity. The nobleness of his art impresses one so powerfully that one almost loses sight of his astonishing technic. His tone is impressively broad, his trills are incomparably pure and even; his double-stopping is marvelously welded, yet so clear is the progress of each individual part that one easily fancies this beautiful polyphony the product of two players' skill. We shall have ample opportunity, at his other concerts, more thoroughly to learn the peculiarities of Joachim's technic; but we are inclined to believe, after this first concert, that his natural musical expression is to be found in everything that is grand and noble and pure. In the Beethoven concerto, more especially in his conception of the adagio, Joachim's individuality was striking and unmistakable. Vieuxtemps played this concerto with greater animation, greater brilliancy, but the greater depth and intellectual strength which characterized Joachim's performance created a more profound impression."

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You are reading Hanslick's Impressions of Famous Violinists. IV. Joseph Joachim. from the March, 1904 issue of The Etude Magazine.

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