excerpt from 'Thirty Years of Musical Life in London, 1870-1900' pp. 32-34 (317 words)

excerpt from 'Thirty Years of Musical Life in London, 1870-1900' pp. 32-34 (317 words)

part of

Thirty Years of Musical Life in London

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urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

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32-34

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It was during...[1870s]...that the unique powers of Joseph Joachim reached their prime. I had now become a regular attendant at the "Pops," and it was often my privilege to sit there beside my lamented friend James W. Davison, the critic of the "Times" and proprietor of the "Musical World"; the man who helped Arthur Chappell to establish those famous concerts, and who for twenty years or more wrote the analytical programmes which constituted one of their most important educational features. One Saturday afternoon I was sitting by Davison's side as a glorious treat was nearing its close. Joachim had with marvelous fire led one of the "Rasoumowsky" quartets; he had played the Bach "Chaconne" as he alone in the world could play it; and now he was taking part in Schumann's noble pianoforte quintet, with Mme. Schumann, Louis Kies, Ludwig Straus, and Piatti for his companions. Just before the finale, the old critic turned to me and said in his abrupt, characteristic way: "My boy, mind you mark this day with a red letter! I have known Joachim ever since he made his debut here as a lad of thirteen, under Mendelssohn, at the Philharmonic in '44 [about thirty years previous], but never have I heard him play as he has played this afternoon. From first to last he has been like one inspired." The writer of these recollections took up the record for the five and twenty years that were to follow. Still the grand old violinist came regularly to London, after his former associates one by one had dropped "out of the running"; and still he continued to play season after season, with all the supreme art of yore. Yet never again at any given moment did the absolute inspiration of that afternoon seem to return to him in its full glory. Davison was right. It marked the very apex of Joachim's career.

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excerpt from 'Thirty Years of Musical Life in London, 1870-1900' pp. 32-34 (317 words)

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