Joachim Raff (1822–1882) Heralds of Spring op. 55
12 Piano Pieces – Urtext edited by Ulrich Mahlert [pno] Duration: 30'
56 pages | 23 x 30,5 cm | 231 g | ISMN: 979-0-004-18886-6 | Saddle Stitch
Joachim Raff’s 12 piano pieces Frühlingsboten op. 55, originating in 1852/53, mark a new creative start in his compositional oeuvre, in which the composer left behind his previously written and published piano works. The title of the work, translated as “Heralds of Spring,” is multilayered: It refers not only to spring in nature as expressed in the headings of the first two pieces, “Winterruhe [Hibernation]” and “Frühlingsnahen [Spring’s Approach],” but the words “Heralds of Spring” also indicate love’s spring, the blossoming of love for his future wife, the actress Doris Genast. This appears in the headings of the pieces as of no. 3, sketching the path of an imaginary couple approaching union via various annoyances. And ultimately, Raff saw in his new piano work the “harbingers” of his future works, created under “happy circumstances.”
In Frühlingsboten Raff repeatedly demonstrates his ability to adapt idioms and compositional techniques from works by Liszt, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and others. The pieces do nonetheless possess their own thoroughly original diction with a character spectrum just as diverse as their stylistic piano design.