Joachim’s role in Robert Hausmann’s life

Joachim was a friend, mentor, teacher, role model, and more. His role in Hausmann’s life was so all-encompassing that is almost seems that Joachim consciously set out to take this youth, a next-generation version of one of his first collaborators, and fast-track his training so that he could serve in various capacities to suit Joachim’s own purposes.

Robert’s great uncle Georg tried going to University before taking up music full time. He studied in at least three places (Cassel, Vienna, and Paris), so that when he finally made his debut he was twenty-three years old. If it hadn’t been for Joachim, it is likely Robert would have taken a similar track. But no opportunities were squandered, and his training was used to introduce him to the venues and colleagues of his future. Robert probably wondered at some point what had happened, since everything fell into place so quickly and with such finality.

The relationship between Joachim and Hausmann coincided almost exactly with the beginning of Joachim’s reign in Berlin, when the Musikhochschule first opened its doors, all the way to the end, with Joachim’s death. Joachim would have required from his protegé  utter fidelity and devotion to himself and his ensemble, with any other musical enterprises restricted to what Joachim would have wanted. (Borchard remarks that Joachim did not tolerate the “worshipping of other gods” in any of his friends.) Hausmann does not come up very often in Joachim’s correspondence with others. When he does, the tone is proprietary, such as the 1873 letter where he seems pleased with his investment in the new Hausmann generation, but he only goes so far as to deem him “competetent” and “unassuming.”

Since he was associated from the beginning with Joachim, the Hochschule, and chamber music, Hausmann never had a chance to establish his own persona. Instead, he excelled at self-effacement. From this perspective, it is not surprising that Hausmann has virtually disappeared from the history books.

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