Boise Philharmonic Blog

Mar 19

Written by: Bphil
3/19/2012 11:25 AM 

Johannes Brahms's Requiem has been done ample justice by Mr. Meier.
An interesting tidbit.
Will Marion Cook was an Afro American violinist and composer. He was a student of Antonin Dvorak and performed for King George V, among others.
Dvorak was a great admirer of Afro American music, he developed quite a friendship with the young singer and composer Harry T. Burleigh, who began writing an opera based on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Mr. Cook was accepted into Oberlin. His skill as a violinist was noticed by one of his professors who advised him to study with Joseph Joachim at the Hochschule fur Musik in Berlin. Joachim, who was a very good friend of Brahms, took the young American under his wing, expressing a liking for his passionate playing and his untamed personality. I have read that Mr. Cook met Brahms in 1889 when Brahms attended Joachim's 50th anniversary as a performer.
It is interesting to note that Joachim performed the premiere of Brahms's violin concerto in Leipzig in 1879. Joachim insisted on opening the concert with Beethoven's violin concerto, also written in the key of D major, prompting Brahms to utter :"It is a lot of D major on the program, and not much else."
Brahms conducted.
During 1829 and 1836, Mendelssohn wrote his Symphony number 5, The Reformation, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Lutheran Church.
It is interesting to note that although of Jewish ancestry, his family raised him without a religion (He was never circumcised) and he was baptized a Lutheran.
He led a pretty conventional life, as compared to his contemporaries Wagner, Berlioz and Scumann except for his relationship with the Swedish soprano Jenny Lind.
When she was still single, in 1847 (he married in 1837), he asked her to elope with him to America.
After his death, she wrote: "He was the only person who brought fulfillment to my spirit and almost as soon as I found him, I lost him again."
She established the Mendelssohn Scholarship in his memory. The first winner was Arthur Sullivan.
The Reformation was not published till 21 years after his death.

Treat yourself, it is a great program.
Andre Moncheur


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