Monuments to Musicians other than Wagner

Joseph Joachim participated in a staggeringly long list of fund raisers, festivals and memorials over the course of his life. This includes the Haydn-Mozart-Beethoven Denkmal in the Tiergarten that was installed in 1904, a year after the Wagner statue.1This statue also still exists, although it was much more heavily damaged over the years than the Wagner memorial and had to be moved during the construction of the tunnel under the Tiergarten. Joachim had started raising money almost ten years earlier, and when the concert celebrating Joachim’s 60th anniversary as a performer in 1899 made a profit of 5000 M, Joachim donated 3000 M of it to the monument’s fund.2The rest went to the Goethe monument in Strassburg. Musical Courier, July 1 issue (1899): 161.The lack of pomp and circumstance surrounding this statue could seem pointedly in contrast to the Wagner statue’s months of controversy and publicity. The journal Jugend commented:

In Berlin a Haydn Mozart Beethoven Monument has been unveiled without any kind of ceremony, simply through removal of the board fence. There wasn’t even a speech from the great Richard Wagner Commerzienrath, to whom Haydn in any case never paid a dime for face powder and nose wax. The only official personage who had to do with the unveiling of this civilian monument was a watchman; he issued a citation to a singing society for disturbance of the peace, because they serenaded the three musical heroes that evening.3“In Berlin ist ein Haydn-Mozart-Beethoven-Monument enthüllt worden und zwar ohne jede Feierlichkeit, einfach durch Entfernung des Bretterzaunes. Nicht einmal der große Richard Wagner-Commerzienrath, dem Haydn ohnedies nie einen Groschen für Fettschminken und Nasenwachs zu verdienen gegeben, hielt eine Rede. Die einzige offizielle Persönlichkeit, die mit der Enthüllung dieses Civilisten-Denkmals zu Thun hatte, war ein Schutzmann; er schrieb einen Gesangverein wegen nächtlicher Ruhestörung auf, weil jener den drei Tonheroen Abends ein Ständchen brachte.”Hans, “Vierteldutzend-Denkmäler,” Jugend 29 (1904): 595.


Mendelssohn and Schumann

Mendelssohn and Schumann, whom Joachim had known personally and revered, had multiple commemorations. Joachim also lived long enough to memorialize the tenth anniversary of Brahms’s death. And of course he was involved in monuments to the two composers he was associated with more than any others: Bach and Beethoven.

Less than a year after his death, Schumann’s first memorial was arranged by Joachim with a concert on 14 April 1857. There were further festivals for Schumann in Bonn in 1873, 1880, and 1906. In Leipzig on 25 May 1892 Joachim played the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto as part of the dedication of his statue in front of the Gewandhaus.4This is the statue that was dismantled by the Nazis in 1936.

Bach and Brahms

At the festival commemorating the Bach Denkmal in Eisenach on 28-30 September 1884, Joachim conducted the B Minor Mass. In May of 1907 he was honored by being the first ceremonially to enter the new Bach house and museum in Eisenach, which was the occasion for the third Bach festival of the Neue Bach Gesellschaft. This turned out to be his last official function before his death in August.

A memorial to Brahms by the sculptor Adolf Hildebrand located in Meiningen was unveiled on 7 October 1899; on this occasion Joachim played the Beethoven Violin Concerto.

Joachim also helped with fundraising for monuments to Hans von Bülow in Hamburg (1894) and Friedrich Kiel in Berlin (1886), as well as for cultural commemorations that were not specifically musical. He was part of the 1891 dedication of the prominent statue of Hermann von Helmholtz on Unter den Linden in front of the University, and he played a major role in the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Königliche Akademie der Künste in 1896.

Not just Joachim, but also the Joachim Quartet performed at many commemorative events. In fact, the 1905 Grove’s Dictionary claimed that “in Germany no musical festival of importance is considered complete without their presence.”5Grove, p. 545. They were part of the concerts dedicating Berlin’s Bechstein and Beethoven concert halls in 1892 and 1899 respectively. They also played for the dedication of new concert halls in Zurich (1895), Mannheim (1902), and Cologne (1906). Finally, they were part of festivals observing the anniversaries of composers. In Berlin these included Mozart in 1891 (anniversary of his death) and Schubert in 1897 (anniversary of his birth).

Did anyone do more for the “museum culture” of art music than Joseph Joachim?

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4 comments

    1. The Quartet was represented by the Hermann Wolff Agency, but I think Joachim himself made a lot of the arrangements. Judging from the letters I’ve read, he relied on his daughters, students, and his sister-in-law in London to help him with the paper work.

  1. Toward the end of their career, the Joachim Quartet was represented in England by Concert Direction E. L. Robinson, 7 Wigmore Street, Cavendish Square, London. Robinson also represented Fritz Steinbach, Edouard Colonne, Marie Hall, Fritz Kreisler, Paul Kochansky, Marie Soldat, Percy Such, Mark Hamburg, Fanny Davies, Ernst von Dohnanyi, Percy Grainger, Egon Petri, Donald Francis Tovey, and Hamilton Harty, among others…

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