top of page

From Autograph to String Quartet: The Relationship Between Joseph Joachim and Charles Villiers Stanford




While Joachim’s close association with leading contemporaries including Mendelsohn, Liszt, Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann and Brahms is well documented, his influence on the career and music of Irish-born composer Charles Villiers Stanford is also noteworthy. Stanford first met Joachim as a young boy growing up as part of a vibrant music scene in Dublin. Joachim signed the young boy’s autograph book in 1868 and so began a close friendship between the two musicians. Over twenty years Stanford’s senior, Joachim became a mentor and close friend of Stanford supporting his musical training in Germany and the development of his career in England. Joachim’s network of acquaintances was useful to Stanford as he established himself in musical circles. Joachim was a frequent exponent of Stanford’s music and they both shared similar views on composition in the late nineteenth century. In response to Joachim’s death in 1907, Stanford dedicated his String Quartet no.5 to Joachim, subtitled In Memoriam Joseph Joachim. Fittingly Stanford included a reference to Joachim’s Romance op.2 no.1 for violin and piano, demonstrating the respect Stanford had for his friend. An article written by Stanford in 1907 about Joachim gives further insight into the reverence which Stanford had for Joachim noting that ‘great as was his genius, sincere as was his modesty, and loyal as was his friendship, he had one gift more rare than all,-a large, true heart.’ This paper critically considers the nature of Joachim’s relationship with Stanford as friend and mentor and examines Stanford’s String Quartet no. 5.





Adèle Commins is Head of Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music at Dundalk Institute of Technology. Her main research interests lie in nineteenth and twentieth century English and Irish music, with a particular focus on the solo piano music of Charles Villiers Stanford. Other research interests include music editing and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has presented her work in Ireland, England, Norway, America and Australia. A council member of the Society for Musicology in Ireland and a national committee member of the Society of Music Education in Ireland, she is also a member of the Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale (RILM) Ireland committee and the Council of Heads of Music in Higher Education in Ireland.

bottom of page