Katharina Uhde: Two newly discovered Virtuoso Fantasies by Joseph Joachim (last performed 1853)

April 17, 2018 @ 7:30 pm
PianoForte Studios
1335 S Michigan Ave
IL 60605

First chance in 100 years to hear Joseph Joachim’s Irish Fantasy

Katharina Uhde, violin
Katharina Uhde, born in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, began playing the violin at the age of six. She is Assistant Professor in Violin and Musicology at Valparaiso University, IN. She holds Masters and Dr.Mus. degrees from the University of Michigan and an Artistic Diploma from the University of Music, Karlsruhe, where she studied with Ulf Hoelscher. She has finished her PhD at Duke University in historical musicology under Prof. R. Larry Todd in 2014 with a dissertation titled ‘Joseph Joachim, Psychologische Musik and the Search for a New Music Aesthetic in the 1850s’. Dr. Uhde just finished her monograph The Music of Joseph Joachim (2018), which is the first to treat the compositions of Joseph Joachim. She has received a 2017 Delma Coovert Peterson Faculty Award (Valparaiso University), a 2016 Newberry Fellowship (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), a 2013 Richard Wagner Stipendium, a Karl Geiringer Award by the American Brahms Society (2013), and a Brahms House fellowship in 2013 and 2016.

She founded the Viktor Ullmann Quartet in 1998, which won 1st prize at the International Competition Concertino Praga, 1st prize in the International Competition Verfemte Musik, and 2nd prize in the International Competition Charles Hennen. She has appeared as a soloist with the Sinfonia Varsovia, the Baden-Baden Philharmonic, the Göttinger Musikfreunde Orchestra, the Marburg University Orchestra, and the Belgrade University Orchestra and has toured as a soloist and chamber musician through Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Montenegro, Israel and Brazil. In May 2013 her first CD appeared featuring romantic Brazilian piano trio repertory. Uhde is currently engaged in a recording of the Beethoven Sonatas with R. Larry Todd. In March 2017 Uhde performed the Beethoven Cycle Part I with world-renowned pianist Bruno Canino. In the spring of 2018 Uhde will appear as a soloist with two recently discovered virtuoso fantasias by Joachim, of which she is currently creating a Bärenreiter Urtext edition. Her article on these two fantasies appeared in December 2017 in The Musical Times. She was the first to record both fantasies with piano (see youtube).

Dr. Uhde’s work on Joachim, Brahms, and Beethoven has earned her invitations to lecture and give lecture recitals in several European and American settings, including the American Musicological Society (2017 and 2015), the International Joseph Joachim Conference (2016), the 19th-Century Salon Conference Ireland (2015), the Beethoven New Research Conference Bonn (2014 and 2016), the Maison Heinrich Heine, Paris, the Schumann House, and the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe, from which she earned her BM, performance and pedagogy diplomas.

Her current research projects involve a cultural history on ciphers and various projects related to Artistic Research.

Joseph Bognar, piano
Joseph Bognar is chair of the music department at Valparaiso University, where he teaches piano, harpsichord, and music theory. He has served on the faculties of the Maud Powell Music Festival, Lutheran Summer Music, and the Stamford International Music Festival. As a member of the Castillon Piano Trio, he has performed in the United Kingdom, receiving acclaim for “his superb technique … one could only marvel at this talented performer.” (Evening Telegraph, U.K.) His performances with the trio have aired on BBC radio. He toured China with Windiana, Northwest Indiana’s professional wind ensemble, where he appeared as piano soloist in works of Gershwin and Xian. His live performances from Symphony Center, Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Center have aired on WFMT-FM.

As a proponent of contemporary music, he has premiered piano solo works of composer Stephen Wilcox throughout the United States, including a performance at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and has recorded Wilcox’s work for the Capstone record label. He premiered a new piano work by Wilcox in November 2009 for the Santa Barbara Arts Fund. His most recent campus performances have featured some of the most formidable 20th-century works, including Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated! and Ives’s Sonata no. 2: Concord, Mass.

He has presented lecture-recitals on the works of Fauré and Schubert. His doctoral research explores Schubert’s compositional self-borrowing in the construction of operatic arias, and his article, “J.C. Bach’s Temistocle: Detecting the Reform Spirit in Eighteenth-Century Opera Seria,” appears in volume XIV of the Music Research Forum. His compositions for organ are published by Augsburg Fortress Press.

Bognar completed undergraduate studies in piano and organ at Valparaiso University, where he graduated summa cum laude. Awarded two university fellowships, he studied piano with internationally renowned accompanist John Wustman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned his doctor of musical arts.

Joseph Joachim, composer

Joseph Joachim’s Fantasies on Hungarian and Irish [Scottish] Motives for Violin and Orchestra are his first serious attempts at composing for solo violin and orchestra. Premiered 1850 and 1852, Joachim began composing the works around 1847-1848. The impulse to compose two fantasies came from several directions. On the one hand, his family urged him to create popular works (e.g. “airs variés”). As one letter from 1847 shows, Joachim’s uncle Bernhard encouraged him to write variations on tunes from Donizetti’s opera Lucrezia Borgia. In the middle section of the Irish [Scottish] Fantasy, which begins with an unidentified tune in B minor evoking the “Romanza” from Lucrezia Borgia’s prologue, Joachim fulfilled his uncle’s wish.

On the other hand, the fantasies show evidence of a cosmopolitan Jewish-Hungarian musician who lived in Leipzig and spent his summers in England. Performing Irish [recte: Scottish] motives or tunes for London audiences meant catering to their love for their own tunes. Performing the Fantasy on Hungarian Motives in German cities, such as Weimar (the premiere in 1850 was conducted by Franz Liszt), Hanover, and Hamburg meant sharing part of his identity. Joachim also knew well that the style hongrois was en vogue in the European capitals.

The Hungarian Fantasy, finished first, was likely composed in the context of the Hungarian Uprisings of 1848-49, which Joachim witnessed in Pest. The Irish Fantasy, which was misnamed in the autograph manuscript (by someone other than Joachim), features two Scottish folk songs, “Joe Anderson my Jo John” and “The Blue Bells of Scotland.” The premiere program correctly announced the work as “Scottish.”

The only existing edition of the fantasies is the orchestral autograph score, which after its evacuation from Berlin to the University of Lodz in 1943 had been considered lost. Christoph Wolff noted it’s resurfacing in Lodz in 1989. I was the first to study the manuscript in depth in Lodz (November 2016), and to play the fantasies in the version for violin and piano (reduction by Martin Schelhaas) published in this Bärenreiter edition.