English-language reports on the Joachim Quartet and Berlin concert life

The recently endowed Königliche Hochschule für Musik, over which Herr Joachim presides, is famous for its concerts and exercises great influence upon musical opinion in the most cultivated circles of Berlin society. It is here that symphony and quartet, Germany’s uncontested property, are in their highest perfection. Joachim’s chamber concerts are in fact beyond all praise….

Henry Vizetelly, Berlin under the New Empire.

These quartets evenings brought the cream of Berlin society together, and deservedly so, for it evidently appears a duty of the highest ten (sic) to be seen at these concerts.

Xaver Scharwenka, “Music in Berlin,” Monthly Musical Record, December 1878: 182.

Every seat was occupied within the four walls of the Singacademie. The most unmistakable utterance was given on this occasion to the close and warm feeling of reciprocity which has from the first existed at these gatherings between the performers and their audience. With ready hands and full hearts did the latter express their gratitude, and after every movement, jubilant delight re-echoed from auditorium to platform. Increasing from one piece to another, the voice of approbation culminated at last in a tempestuous fortissimo the like of which was never heard before in the same locality.

JOACHIM’S QUARTET-SOIREES AT BERLIN. The Musical World 59.8 (1881): 114.

[The Joachim Quartet] have commenced their Quartet Soirées for the season to the intense delight of lovers of what is highest and best in music….The applause which rolled and surged within the hall of the Singakademie was, like the playing which evoked it, something to be remembered.

Hospadar, The Musical World, October 28, 1882.

I am about giving the readers of the Courier a summary of Berlin’s musical life, and to omit the Joachim Quartet concerts would be equal to a description of Venice without mention of the Grand Canal, or a visit to Yellowstone Park without a view of the geysers; for, despite the brilliancy of the Bülow concerts and the innumerable artist recitals of the highest order, the Joachim Quartet concerts stand foremost in the estimation of musical Berlin.

F.X. Arens, “Music in Berlin,” The Musical Courier (1891): 541.

On the whole this city is an excellent place for the general development of the musical student, and although other countries and cities, may boast of celebrated composers, teachers, and performers yet it is a hard matter to find a city other than that of Berlin that may more justly be called the musical capital of the world.

F. W. Merriman, “A Berlin Letter,” Music 8 (1895): 415.

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