Event—Public Programming

Joseph Joachim and Beethoven




Katharina Uhde

This lecture recital explores the nineteenth-century Hungarian violinist, conductor, and composer Joseph Joachim in relation to Ludwig van Beethoven. Since Joachim’s debut performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto Op. 61 in 1844, the music of Beethoven assumed a central position in his life. His life-long dedication not only to the concerto but also to the Ten Violin Sonatas, of which he created an edition, manifested in many aspects of his career. For critics like Donald Francis Tovey, Joachim’s performances of Beethoven were "ideal" and evoked an impression as if they were composed in the moment of performance. Joachim had an unusual ability to bring Beethoven’s music to life. Joachim’s special relationship to the "Kreutzer" Sonata Opus 47 can serve as one example of the performer’s deep connection with Beethoven’s music.

The collection of letters by Joseph Joachim at the Newberry Library throws light on the meaning that Beethoven had for Joachim as a composer. Perhaps unexpectedly, Joachim’s veneration of Beethoven was intriguingly intertwined with his personal relationships when his compositional career began taking off in 1852. He was then romantically involved with Gisela von Arnim (1827-1889), to whom a great number of Joachim’s letters in the Newberry collection are addressed. One of the earliest of these, in December 1852, ends with the line: "What music has been to me, that is your being. Your being envelopes her [music] so that I am unable to distinguish between you and my art, […] Gisela and Beethoven!"

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Joseph Joachim (1831-1907)


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Violin Sonata Opus 12 No. 1

I. Allegro con spirito
II. Adagio con molt' espressione
III. Rondo. Allegro molto


Violin Sonata Opus 47

I. Adagio sostenuto—Presto
II. Andante con variazioni
III. Finale. Presto

Performer Biographies

Ling-Ju Lai, a native of Taiwan, has garnered consistently favorable reviews of her creative interpretation of Baroque keyboard music. As a concert pianist, Ms. Lai has performed as a soloist in leading international venues and participated in acclaimed music festivals, such as the Royal Academy of Music in London, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Town Hall in Bruges, The National Theater in Taiwan, The Bach Festival in Leipzig and The William Kapell International Piano Competition in Maryland. Ms. Lai received graduate degrees in Piano and Harpsichord Performance from the University of Michigan and Eastman School of Music, where she was awarded the Performer’s Certificate for her excellence in performance.

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. She holds Masters and Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Michigan (2009), where she studied with Professor Stephen Shipps, and an Artists Diploma from the University of Music (2004), Karlsruhe, where she studied with Ulf Hoelscher. She earned her PhD at Duke University under Professor R. Larry Todd in 2014 with a dissertation on Joseph Joachim, which will be published by Boydell & Brewer Press.

Explore Newberry collections related to Ludwig van Beethoven and Joseph Joachim.

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