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Joseph Joachim’s “Fantasies on Hungarian and Irish [Scottish] Themes” was his first virtuoso music for the violin with orchestral accompaniment. Joachim was intent on creating popular works, not least at the urging of his family, but they also bore witness to his urbanity: the young Jewish-Hungarian musician spent many summers in England and its familiar, Irish melodies held great appeal for English audiences. Performances of the “Fantasy on Hungarian Themes” in German cities met his need for self-display as the “Hungarian lad”, to use Mendelssohn’s jocular epithet. Joachim was well aware that the style hongrois was all the rage in European capitals.

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