Alan Krueck
Dr Alan Krueck (1939-2010)

Symphony No.10 Zur Herbstzeit

Part of The Alan Krueck Archive                                    (Download a PDF version)

This article formed part of Alan Krueck's projected book: "Joachim Raff: A biographical documentation and study of his works." The original is the only extant fragment found in Dr Krueck’s surviving papers of his analytical study of the Symphony No.10. It comprises only the narrative introduction and contains no musical analysis. Minor changes have been made to the grammar to produce a finished piece. The text has been preserved in full.

The last of the symphonies in the cycle Die Jahreszeiten is the Symphony No. 10 in F minor, Zur Herbstzeit (At Autumn Time). The work took form in the summer and autumn of 1879 and was given its first performance on the 12th November 1880; as with all the premieres of the symphonies in the cycle, Louis Lüstner led the civic orchestra of Wiesbaden. The reaction to the work was mixed and Raff himself removed the original slow movement played at the first performance, composed a new one and published the old one as Elegie for Orchestra WoO. The new Elegie was completed in the fall of 1881 and the Symphony, in its final form, was performed once again by the Wiesbaden Orchestra under Louis Lüstner, November 18, 1881. The score appeared the following October, technically a posthumous publication since Raff died on the 25th June 1882.

For reasons inexplicable the Tenth Symphony had no champions and, except for the partisan activities of Louis Lüstner who performed the work a half dozen times, Zur Herbstzeit suffered a fate of neglect comparable to the Seventh Symphony In den Alpen. To be sure, Helene Raff records that von Bülow and others performed the scherzo - Gespensterreigen - with relative frequency but the symphony as a whole seems not to have caught the fancy of many. It was, considering the general history of performances of Raff's Jahreszeiten symphonies, passed over in favor of the other three. For the present writer the situation is mystifying for the Tenth Symphony is the best balanced and most sustained in inspiration of the four in the cycle; it is an almost flawless work and certainly the best of Raff's symphonies after the Lenore. There is a depth to the Tenth symphony which gives the work a unique place among the composers works in general. One wonders if Raff, just before his death, was not experiencing some inner change, a change which might have given the world other masterpieces like the Tenth Symphony.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

© 1999-2016 Mark Thomas. All rights reserved.