Thursday, May 14, 2009

Friedebald Gräfe, 1840-1880; Gräfe, Friedebald, 1840-1880; Friedebald Graefe, 1840-1880; Graefe, Friedebald,1840-1880

I provide these hard-won birth and death dates in the hope that a persistent Google search will turn them up. (Much of the little that is out there on Gräfe and his trombone concerto appears to be misinformation.)

May 22, 1840-June 22, 1880

Source: Schnebel, Hanns-Helmut. "Auch Militärmusiker litten Hunger: Friedebald Gräfe (1840 bis 1880) und sein 'Konzert für Posaune.'" Bayerische Blasmusik 55, no. 11 (2004): 4-6.

For my translation of this, see 
Schnebel, Hanns-Helmut.  "'Even the military musicians went hungry:  Friedebald Gräfe (1840-1880) and his 'Concerto for trombone.'"  Trans. Steve Perisho.  International Trombone journal 46, no. 3 (July 2018):  32-33.

Cf. Robert Reifsnyder, "The Romantic trombone concerto and its place in the German solo tradition, part II," ITA journal 15, no. 3 (Summer 1987): 35, which states that "Gräfe may have been a violist employed by the Gewandhaus orchestra from 1853 to 1859. If so, etc." (italics mine). By the time the identical claim appears in Noël Lopez, "La épopée du trombone," écoutervoir no. 136 (avril 2003): 20, the subjunctive has disappeared. Yet if Schnebel is right (and his article is based on archival research), the real Friedebald Gräfe would have been about 13 years old in 1853. (One sees also references to 1875-1920. And so forth. Misinformation, apparently, abounds.) 


Unknown said...

*Fast forward eight years later*

This is some really great information. I've been researching Graefe for a while now - no one really seems to know who he is. This is a really great find.

Out of curiosity (if you even end up seeing this) - have you managed to get this published, or have you revised this post to end up with a more accurate translation? I'd love to see more work done on this.

Steve Perisho said...

No, I never got round to pursuing publication seriously, so this is still it. I think I'm (though not a native speaker) a reasonably decent translator of German. The only caution I would offer is that there were some fairly obscure technical terms in this article arising out of the local 19th-century German military and musical culture, and these I couldn't always find dictionary definitions for, so my renditions of some of those may be slightly off. But I retain the original German should you have any questions about my renditions of one or more of them.

I know information about Mr. Gräfe and his concerto is hard to find. That's why I posted this. If memory serves, I also tried to contact the author, but to no avail. It was because the concerto was being performed at my University that the Music Department asked me to see what I could find with its program notes in mind. This article was the best I could come up with at the time, so I posted a translation, hoping that someone like you might find it useful one day.

Steve Perisho said...

Ethan Pister: just in case you're still on, note that I've taken this translation down because a modified version of it has now been published in the International Trombone Association journal.