Swiss-German composer Joachim Raff, born at Lachen in Switzerland on 27 May 1822, mostly taught himself music whilst working as a school teacher. He sent compositions to Mendelssohn, who recommended them to Breitkopf & Härtel, and they were accepted by the publishing house and given favourable reviews, so Raff moved to Zürich and worked full-time as a composer.
Raff's opera König Alfred was staged in Weimar in 1851. He was, from 1850 until 1853, Franz Liszt's assistant at Weimar, working on the orchestration of several Liszt works, and from 1878 he was the first director of Frankfurt's Hoch Conservatory, where he created a class especially for female composers and employed well-known musicians (including Clara Schumann) as teachers.
Raff died during the night on either 24 or 25 June 1882, aged sixty.
CD Spotlight. Cogently Structured - Orchestral music by Joachim Raff, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... very well portrayed by Järvi ... and the Suisse Romande Orchestra ...'
CD Spotlight. Finely Displayed - Alfred Brendel plays Liszt, recommended by Robert Anderson. 'Michael Gielen backs Brendel's eloquence with unobtrusive skill.'
CD Spotlight. Truly Invigorating - Opera fantasies for violin, reviewed by Howard Smith. '... engaging musical finesse.'
CD Spotlight - Here lies the essence of rediscovery. '... fresh and stimulating ... musical pointers come alive as they occur ...' Symphonies Nos 3 and 4 by Joachim Raff, with Bill Newman