The Joachim Raff site is updated regularly with news and more features.
Vol.5 of Tra Nguyen's magisterial survey of Raff's piano music has been issued, and it features two large scale works: the late Piano Sonata Op.14 and, a recording première, the delightful set of twelve Blätter und Blüten Op.135. This new CD is reviewed.
The Mannheim String Quartet are the performers on a new double CD album from cpo with four of Raff's string quartets: Nos.2, 3, 4 and 8, the final three of which are all recording premières. This exciting new release is reviewed.
There is a review of Neeme Järvi's second Raff recording with L'Orchestra de la Suisse Romande for Chandos. This packed SACD pairs the Symphony No.5 Lenore with the König Alfred, Dame Kobold and Die Eifersüchtigen overtures, the Prelude to Dornröschen and the Abends-Rhapsodie in ground-breaking performances.
Tra Nguyen's acclaimed series for Grand Piano surveying Raff's works for piano reaches volume 4, which is reviewed. It features the early Douze Romances en forme d'Études, together with the Allegro Agitato, La Cicerenella, and the Idylle & Valse Champêtre which comprise Op.166, all in sensitive and sparkling performances by Nguyen..
The listing of upcoming concerts featuring Raff's music has been updated with news of nine exciting forthcoming events.
Raff's third opera Die Parole is a mischievous comedy, set in the 18th century. It was never published and only the overture has been performed. A new page in the Music in Detail section describes the work.
By the time Raff came to write his final opera, Die Eifersüchtigen, he had given up any hope of seeing it performed, and this sparkling comedy of misunderstanding has remained unperformed an in manuscript since he put down his pen. A new page in the Music in Detail section describes the work.
The American music critic Philip Hale was a trenchant commentator on the turn of the century music scene. No lover of Brahms' works, he was more even handed towards Raff. A new page in the Raff's Life section reprints Hale's survey of Raff's achievements and failures.
More scans of the title pages of Raff scores have ben added to the Gallery pages: Violin Concerto No.2, Abends-Rhapsodie, Festival overture for Winds, Cachoucha-Caprice, Five Songs by Emanuel Geibel Op.51, Maria Stuart Op.172 and Drei Salon-Etüden aus Richard Wagner's Opern Op.62.
The exciting new recording from Chandos of the Symphony No.2 and the four Preludes to Shakespeare Plays, played by L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and conducted by Neeme Järvi is reviewed. The review is illustrated with streaming mp3 extracts.
Raff's first stage work, the four act grand opera König Alfred, is examined in depth in a new page in the Works in Detail section. A full synopsis of the plot, together with a streaming audio example of its music is included.
There is a review of the new CD from Sterling of Raff's religious choral music, featuring a major work for chorus and orchestra, his setting of De Profundis, together with the early Te Deum and six shorter a capella pieces. The review features streaming mp3 extracts from the CD.
The three act comedy Dame Kobold, an adaptation of a famous Spanish farce, was Raff's last opera to be staged. A new page in the Works in Detail section charts its complicated plot and includes a streaming audio extract from its overture.
A new page has been added to the Galleries section, which has good quality scans of ten fascinating playbills advertising concerts of Raff's music in Weimar and Leipzig in the years 1851-1883. Several are for the premiere performances of important works.
The recommended recordings pages for Symphonies and Vocal works have been updated.
Details of seven new concerts in Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, all featuring Raff's music, have been added to the Concert News page. Information about a further two concerts has been updated.
The CD News page has details of two more upcoming recordings of orchestral musk from Chandos and Sterling, together with details of the current new releases from each label.
IMSLP, the site for free downloadable PDF scans of Public Domain scores has added the manuscript of the full score of Raff's third opera, Die Parole, to its catalogue.
The US music publisher Bisel Classics has recently published five new editions of Raff piano scores.
A newly found picture of Raff has been added to the Portraits page in Gallery section.
Grand Piano's Raff Piano Music vol.3, the final CD in Tra Nguyen's ground breaking survey, has now been released. All the works in this disc, which include the Album Lyrique and the Cinq Eglogues sets, are world premiere recordings. The review of the CD in the Recordings section is illustrated with three streaming mp3 extract.
The Recommended Recordings page for piano music CDs has been updated.
Raff's birthplace, the Swiss lakeside town of Lachen, recently held a celebration concert featuring two of his major works and also staged a substantial exhibition about his life and music. There is a review of the concert and the exhibition in the Concert News section.
Edition Nordstern, the publisher of new critical editions of Raff scores, will shortly be publishing the first ever edition of the Cantata Die Sterne. Volker Tosta has written an extensive and interesting foreword to the score, which is now available in the Musical Analysis section..
There is exciting news that Chandos will record a second Raff symphony with Neeme Järvi and L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
IMSLP, the site for free downloadable PDF scans of Public Domain scores, has added a further Raff piano piece to their already huge collection.
There is news that The Symphony No.5 Lenore will be played in two concerts in Saxony, Germany in May 2013. Full details on the Concert News page.
Links to three reviews at MusicWeb International of recently Raff piano music CDs have been added to the Other Internet Reviews page.
A new scan of the title page of the Notturno after a Romance by Franz Liszt has been added to the Gallery pages.
One of Raff's early successes was the set of twelve Frühlingsboten piano pieces which he wrote in Weimar in 1852. There is a brief description of the set in the Music in Brief section which is illustrated by a streaming mp3 extract from one of the numbers in the set.
Chandos has confirmed that it has recorded in Geneva a new CD of major Raff orchestral works with Neeme Järvi and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Full details of this exciting development are to found on the CD News page.
There is exciting news that the Swedish label Sterling has recorded two more CDs of previously unrecorded music with the young German conductor Henrik Schaefer. Full details of the two CDs, one of religious choral music and the other of orchestral works, are at the CD News page.
A rare opportunity to hear Raff's only work for organ occurs at a recital to be held in Pfäffikon, Switzerland at the end of September. The organist is Walter Artho. More details the Concert News page.
An exciting exhibition about Raff and his music is being mounted in his birthplace of Lachen, Switzerland in September and October, in conjunction with a jubilee concert which will feature major works by him.
Major German radio station SWR2 is broadcasting a programme in September which will examine how and why enthusiasts become committed to the music of relatively unknown composers such as Raff.
A new scan of the title page of the Two Marches from Bernhard von Weimar has been added to the Gallery pages.
Raff wrote several sets of descriptive piano pieces, amongst which is Vom Rhein (From the Rhine) op.134, a set of six "Fantasy Pieces" lasting over half an hour, which illustrates various aspects of a visit to the great river. A new detailed description of the complete set has been added to the Music in Detail pages and is complete with a streaming mp3 performance of each piece.
The Concert News page has been updated with details of eight new concerts featuring Raff's music in Europe and the USA later this year and in 2013. Amongst the works programmed are excerpts for the Welt Ende Oratorio, the Symphony No.9, Sinfonietta, Piano Quintet and the Eight Songs op.173.
There is news of two exciting new recordings due out soon. Grand Piano has confirmed that the third CD in Tra Nguyen's survey of Raff's paino music is due out later this year and Divox have announced that they will be releasing a double CD set of Raff lieder. Full details on the CD News page.
A much improved scan of the score title page of the Symphony No.5 Lenore has been added to the Gallery pages .
A new scan of the title page of an edition of the Symphony No.3 Im Walde has been added to the Gallery pages.
Hard on the heels of volume 1, Grand Piano, Naxos' new premium CD label, has issued Raff Piano Music volume 2, played once again by Tra Nguyen. It features the Fantasie-Sonate, the Variations on an Original Theme and the four pieces from the op.196 collection. This new CD is reviewed in the Recordings section.
The Recommended Piano Recordings page has been updated with the addition of this new CD..
Frankfurt's Dr Hoch Conservatory recently held two concerts to celebrate Raff, it's founding director. Amongst the major works featured in the Raff weekend were the Piano Concerto, the cantata Die Sterne and the Fantasie-Sonata for piano. The concerts are reviewed in the News section..
A video of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra under Christopher Hogwood giving an impressive performance of the orchestral arrangement of JS Bach's Chaconne has been added to the Raff on YouTube pages..
Erakko Ippolitov's performance of one of Raff's arrangements of Movements from JS Bach's Violin Sonatas has been added to the Raff on YouTube pages..
The full date of the death of Raff's daughter Helene has ben added to the family trees of the Raff and Genast families.