Concertino for Flute, Viola and Double-bass

Composer: Erwin Schulhoff (b. 1894 - d. 1942)
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Composer: Erwin Schulhoff (b. 1894 - d. 1942)

Performance date: 06/07/2016

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1925

Duration: 00:15:58

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation: T-solo, pf

Instrumentation Category:Trio

Instrumentation Other: fl, va, db

Artists: Olivier Thiery - [bass]
Lilli Maijala - [viola]
Adam Walker - [flute]

Concertino for Flute, Viola and Double-bass [1925]
1. Andante con moto
2. Furiant – Allegro furioso
3. Andante
4. Rondino – Allegro gajo
Schulhoff was born in Prague into a German-speaking musical family – his grandfather was a famous pianist and composer. By the time he was seven he was being celebrated as a child prodigy on the piano. He entered Prague Conservatory at the age of ten and he studied composition for two years with Max Reger. He survived four years in the Austrian army during the First World War and afterwards set up the Workshop of the Times with the painter/printmaker Otto Dix, whose shocking images captured the despair of the post-war Zeitgeist. Under this banner he showcased a series of expressionist concerts, whose revolutionary style appealed to him. He was also friendly with the painter George Grosz whose work so vividly captured the interwar years. The Romanticism of the pre-war years was dissipated in intriguing works like his Sonata erotica for solo mother-trumpet and famous Dadaist statements like the spark of the gods can be present in both a liver sausage and a contra-bassoon. The latter was followed up with a work for contra-bassoon entitled Bassnachtigall.
When Schulhoff returned to Prague in 1923 he pulled all the music that influenced him – Czech music, Russian and eastern music, late romanticism, Dadaism, impressionism, expressionism and jazz – into a compelling style of his own. The Twenties saw him write many of his best-known chamber works – Second Violin Sonata, Sonata for solo violin, Duo Sonata for violin and cello, String Sextet and Concertino for this evening’s unusual combination
The first movement is a struggle between the wayward flute and a mournful theme first heard in the viola and bass. Eventually the flute gives in and concludes the movement with his version of the theme. The Furiant is more the kind of extrovert dancing music that we expect from Schulhoff, where the unusual trio of instruments come into their own. The gentle Andante is based on a folk song from the Carpathian Mountains with the flute entrusted with the melody. The finale is another lively dance with the flute switching to the piccolo for a while to add piquancy to the rhythm.