David Popper (1843-1913), a leading cello virtuoso of his day, was born in Prague, studied cello at the Prague Conservatoire with Julius Goltermann, subsequently toured throughout Europe as a soloist and became principal cellist of the Vienna Court Opera. He also performed as a chamber musician with Johannes Brahms, Jenő Hubay, Emil Sauret and Clara Schumann amongst others.
Popper was a prolific composer of cello music and his High School of Cello Playing Op.73, comprising forty etudes have remained essential study repertoire for more than a century and Pablo Casals declared that “no other composer wrote better for the instrument”.
Music publishers are rarely heaped with praise by composers, usually the exact opposite, so it is nice to discover a piece which commemorates the death of a publisher who was obviously also a good friend.
Daniel Rahter (1828-1891) initially managed the A. Büttner music publishing house in St. Petersburg before setting up his own publishing company in his native Hamburg in 1879. He was a great admirer of Tchaikovsky’s music and in 1888