Robert Haussmann (1852-1909) was widely renowned as a soloist, quartet musician and teacher in the second half of the last and beginning of our current century. A pupil of the famous German cellist Theodor and Wilhelm Muller (Haussmann studied with the latter in the Higher Music School in Berlin), he took advanced studies of the cello from Alfredo Piatti in London and in Italy. In 1872-1876, he played in the Dresden Quartet, and later taught at the Higher Music School in Berlin.
For many years (1879-1907), Haussmann was a member of the celebrated Joseph Joachim Quartet. In 1887, he and this illustrious violinist played in the first performance of the Brahms Double Concerto, which was composed specially for them. When the work was played in Vienna in 1889, Hanslick wrote about the exceptional triumph of Joachim, "the king of all violinists," and Haussmann "a virtuoso cellist of hardly lower standing," who played with their usual mastery and nobility."
As far back as 1885, after hearing in Vienna the beautiful performanc.e of his E Minor Sonata by Haussmann and Baumeier, Brahms promised to compose a new work for the cellist. Initially, he thought of a concerto, but later, in 1886, he wrote the Sonata in F Major. It was first performed by Haussmann and the composer himself from manuscript on November 14 of that same year in Berlin.
Though Haussmann was far better known as an excellent chamber musician and teacher, he appeared with remarkable success in solo recitals, playing works from the classical and romantic repertoire. His close artistic contacts with Joachim and Brahms enabled Haussmann to grasp their esthetic concepts; this had a fruitful effect on his taste, performing style and repertoire.
In 1883, Robert Hussmann arrived to play in St. Petersburg, and on January 22 he played the concerto by Schumann with Anton Rubinstein conducting the orchestra. Speaking of the German cellist's great success, a critic praised his good tone and technical perfection, but reproached him for insufficiently vivid phrasing. Several days later, the cellist played the A Major Sonata by Beethoven, the Larghetto by Mozart, At the Fountain by Davydov, and the Adagio and Allegro by Boccherini. Karl Davydov had a very high opinion of Haussmann, and dedicated the first piece of the series, Silhouettes Op. 41 -Morning, to him.
Among Haussmann's editions of classical music, his edition of the Bach suites for solo cello (1898) deserves special notice, as it is distinguished for its closeness to the original text. He also compiled an edition of the Mendelssohn sonatas and variations, and an arrangement of his viola pieces, Marchenbilder.