Joachim Raff.
  • Joachim Raff.
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Joachim Raff - Symphony No. 7 "In The Alps" (1875)

Joachim Raff was one of the most popular and influential composers of the Romantic era. Sadly, he is also the esoteric pick of the week.

Raff "balled out" during the 19th Century with eleven symphonies, three operas, and a multitude of sonatas, concertos, and songs, bringing his complete oeuvre to over 300 pieces.

Why have we not heard much of him? He was socially progressive and founded a school of composition for women, but that's no reason to hate on him. Maybe it's because he was Swiss, and you know how much people hate the Swiss.

Raff’ss family moved from Germany to Switzerland so his father could avoid conscription by Napoleon for the ill-fated campaign to Russia. Smart move.

All of his symphonies are available on Spotify, so he's not impossible to find. I've listened to a few of them and they're quality pieces. However, now and then a few cliche Romantic devices show up. I can't describe what those are, I just know 'em when I hear 'em.

Raff seems to have simply fallen out of style in a way that Schumann, Brahms, and other Romantic German composers did not. Maybe this is a case of popular versus timeless, which makes me wonder who is writing the timeless music of today, or even of the last 70 years.

Of Raff’s symphonies, the Seventh tends to get some attention because it presumably influenced Richard Strauss and his Alpine Symphony.

  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it


Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader