Loeffler, Charles Martin


Violinist and composer, who has been called the modern Berlioz. He was born in Mühlhausen, Alsatia, and at the age of fourteen, deciding that music should be his life-work, placed himself under Leonard and Massart in Paris and Joachim in Berlin to study violin. He also studied composition under Guiraud in Paris and Kiel  in Berlin, though his work under the last-named was very brief and much interrupted. He played in the Pasdeloup Orchestra in Paris and with other European orchestras, which gave him a practical knowledge of orchestration. He came to New York; but in 1883 went to Boston to become second concertmaster and soloist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which position he held until 1903, when he resigned that he might devote more time to composition. He has never toured alone, but has been heard in most of the large cities of the country with the Boston Symphony. Playing with exquisite grace and largeness of style, he brings out contrasts with masterful ability. Very few can cope with him in perfection of technique. Most of Loeffler's compositions are still in manuscript, though nearly all have been performed. Nearly all of those published have appeared in Paris, and are songs, and a berceuse for violin and piano. Among his latest are four quite remarkable songs, published in New York, and have French text, T?U p e tfy bein ? b y Gustave Kahn. Ihe bulk of his compositions are orchestral and his chamber-music is particularly effective. He employs Russian and French subjects largely and portrays the morbidness that is characteristic of the ultra-modern school. He has a vivid imagination and great descriptive powers. Among his compositions are a suite for violin and orchestra, entitled, Les Veillees de l'Ukraine; a fantastic concerto for violoncello and orchestra; a divertimento in A minor for violin and orchestra; a symphonic poem, The Death of Tintagiles, from Maeterlinck; a quartet for strings in A minor; a sextet for strings, which has a distinctly Russian tendency; an octet for two violins, viola, violoncello, two clarinets, harp, and doublebass; and the symphonic poems, Avant pue tu ne t'en ailles, Villanelle du diable, and La bonne chanson. He has composed a psalm for female voices, accompanied by a harp, organ, two flutes and a solo violoncello, also several works for oboe, viola and piano, and his most recent composition is for piano, orchesra and trumpets behind the scenes.