Kruse compared to other Joachim students also active in London

Did Johann Kruse really stand out that much among the other violinists Joachim taught, making him the obvious choice for preferential treatment?1Yes, this is a rhetorical question.While he was giving in concerts in London, a number of other Joachim students were also making a living in the biggest city in the world. Several were exactly his age and had been classmates in Berlin. All of those listed below (except for Jackson, Nachèz, and Meyer) had a turn leading the quartet at the Popular Concerts during the same period as Kruse. Let’s see how they measure up compared to him.2These lists are almost certainly incomplete for the repertoire of Arbós, Nachèz, and Gompertz.

Johann Kruse (1859-1927)

Johann Kruse (1895), by Tom Roberts, National Gallery of Australia
  • Concertmaster: Berlin Philharmonic 1883-85; Bremen Philharmonic 1892-95.
  • Teacher: Berlin Hochschule 1889-92.
  • Quartet: in Berlin 1889-92, in London 1899-1908.
  • Soloist: with Berlin Philharmonic 1889, 1891; two concert tours in Australia, London.
  • Repertoire: Beethoven Concerto, Romanze; Mendelssohn Concerto; Bruch Concerto no. 1; Spohr Concertos no. 7-8; Bach a minor concerto; shorter works by Paganini, Wieniawski, Joachim, Tartini.

The Women

Emily Shinner (1862-1901)

  • Teacher: Ladies’ Department of King’s College London, Ladies’ College Cheltenham
  • Quartet: 1886-97
  • Soloist: London, Birmingham, Leeds, Cheltenham, Huddersfield
  • Repertoire: Mendelssohn, Bach, Romances by Bruch, Beethoven, Joachim
  • Led a Popular Concert in 1884 as a substitute for Wilma Norman-Neruda.

Gabriele Wietrowetz (1866-1937)

  • Teacher: At Berlin Hochschule, 1901-12.
  • Quartet: 1905-ca. 1923.
  • Soloist: with Berlin Philharmonic 9 times, Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Philharmonic Society, Frankfurt Museum.
  • Repertoire: Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bruch 1-3, Spohr 8-9, Brahms, Joachim Hungarian, Joachim G major.
  • Led Popular Concerts in 1892-93.

Marie Soldat (1863-1955)

  • Quartet: 1887-88, 1894-1914.
  • Soloist: Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Society, Manchester.
  • Repertoire: Beethoven, Spohr No.8- 9, Bruch No. 1 and Scottish Fantasy, Bach a minor concerto, Brahms (3x in London), Vieuxtemps No. 1, Wieniawski, Mozart D major and A major.
  • Led Popular Concerts in 1896.

Leonora Jackson (1878-1969)

  • Soloist: Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Society, New York Philharmonic, Frankfurt Museum, Munich Kaim, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg.
  • Repertoire: Brahms Concerto, Bruch No. 1, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Spohr No. 8-9, Bach E major Concerto, Vieuxtemps d minor Concerto, Ernst, Wieniawski d minor Concerto.

Former male classmates

Enrique Fernandez Arbós (1863-1939)

  • Concertmaster, Berlin Philharmonic; conductor, Madrid Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Glasgow.
  • Repertoire: Wieniawski d minor, Saint-Saëns…
  • Teacher: Royal College of Music, London 1890-1914.
  • Led Popular Concerts 1892, 1899, 1900.

Tividar Nachèz (1859-1930)

  • Teacher: London, Santa Barbara, CA.
  • Soloist: Twice with Berlin Philharmonic, three times with the London Philharmonic Society, Frankfurt Museum.
  • Repertoire: Mendelssohn, Bruch, Wieniawski, Ernst f# concerto…
  • Also composer.

Richard Gompertz (1859-1921)

  • Soloist: Gürzenich Concerts, Cologne
  • Quartet: in Cambridge and London
  • Teacher: Cambridge University, Professor at the Royal College of Music in London
  • Also composer

Willy Hess (1859-1939)

  • Concertmaster: Cologne, Hallé Orchestra Manchester, Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Quartet in Cologne, Manchester, Boston, and Berlin
  • Teacher: Royal College of Music, London, and the Berlin Hochschule
  • Soloist: with Berlin Philharmonic, Boston SO, Frankfurt Museum, Hallé Orchestra Manchester
  • Repertoire: Joachim Hungarian, Molique, Ernst f#, Bruch No. 3
  • Led Popular Concerts in 1891

Waldemar Meyer (1853-1940)

  • Concertmaster: Königliche Kapelle 1873-1881
  • Teacher: Berlin, Stern Conservatory
  • Quartet: Berlin, 1898-ca.1910
  • Soloist: in London, with Berlin Philharmonic ca. 20 times, last in 1918
  • Repertoire: Beethoven, Bruch 1-2, Spohr, Paganini, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Joachim Hungarian, Viotti, Goldmark, Gernsheim, Moszkowski, Taubert, Strauss, Wieniawski Faust Fantasy, Mozart D major, Ernst f#, Vieuxtemps d minor.

Carl Halir (1859-1909)

  • Teacher: Berlin Hochschule (1893-1909)
  • Concertmaster: Weimar, Berlin Königliche Kapelle, 1892-1904
  • Quartet: Joachim, Halir Quartets in Berlin, and Halir Trio
  • Soloist: Berlin Philharmonic, Frankfurt Museum, Leipzig Gewandhaus, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Repertoire: premiered Lassen and Sibelius Concertos, Beethoven, Spohr nos. 8-9, Bruch, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Joachim Hungarian, Joachim G major, Gernsheim, Lalo, Saint-Saëns, C.M. Loeffler.
  • Led Popular Concerts in 1900.

Kruse as a soloist, in comparison

As a soloist, Kruse was limited in venues and in repertoire compared to the women, who in addition to the pieces he played, performed the Brahms Concerto multiple times on the main European concert circuit. Waldemar Meyer and Karl Halir had vast repertoires in comparison to Kruse, who kept to the same pieces he set out with in the 1880s, and only toured in Australia.

…as concertmaster

Kruse’s concertmaster role in Berlin was only for three years, at the beginning of the Philharmonic’s existence, when there were no regular conductors or a subscription series. In contrast, Halir was concertmaster for over ten years at the Königliche Oper under Weingartner, Strauss, Muck, and others. Willy Hess was concertmaster in three different countries with important orchestras in Cologne, Manchester, and Boston. Arbós went from concertmaster to conductor and had a 35-year tenure at the Madrid Symphony Orchestra.

…as a leader in chamber music

Kruse shines most in this category, with his quartet work in Berlin and London, and his five years with the Joachim Quartet. However, Halir’s quartet in Berlin started with Kruse’s players, and kept going for fifteen more years with a longstanding subscription series, concurrently with Halir taking over Kruse’s place in the Joachim Quartet for its last and most famous ten years. Marie Soldat’s pioneering all-women quartet got started before Kruse’s and they traveled more. Wietrowetz’s all-women group lasted a long time and had a subscription series in Berlin.

…as a teacher

Gompertz, Arbós, and Nachèz had careers at the Royal College of Music in London. Hess, Halir, and Wietrowetz ended up at the Berlin Hochschule. Kruse is listed as having students at the Hochschule for about three years; I haven’t found him on the roster of any of the London music schools. He did teach the English violinist Marie Hall as a private student.

The next post will be my last about Kruse!

MUSIC IN BERLIN, 1870-1910 (October 5, 2022) Kruse compared to other Joachim students also active in London. Retrieved from
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