Composer: Erwin Schulhoff (b. 1894 - d. 1942)
Performance date: 29/06/2014
Venue: St. Brendan’s Church
Composition Year: 1925
Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTE
Instrumentation Other: vn, vc
Gergana Gergova -
Alban Gerhardt - [cello]
was one of the many composers murdered by the Nazis in the concentration camps.
He was both Jewish and Marxist as well as a jazz pianist and a composer of Entartete Musik so he stood no chance
though he earned a temporary reprieve by becoming a Soviet citizen. This saved
him when the Germans occupied Prague in 1938, but cost him his life when the
Soviet Union was attacked in 1941. He came from a family of Prague musicians
and was a prodigious pianist as well as a self-taught composer. As a virtuoso
player he promoted music written by his contemporaries, overcoming Czech-German
differences in Prague and through his brilliance at improvisation making contact
with jazz. The rise of the Nazis led him to become a Marxist.
meditative Duo was dedicated to Maestro Leoš
Janá?ek in deep respect, whom he
had recently met after writing several articles on his music. However it is Ravel
that comes to mind on hearing the sinuous theme, which both dominates the opening
movement and recurs throughout the work. Its calm progress is punctuated by
brief distractions, such as a short rhythmic episode and a ferocious wild
outburst. The coda achieves an impressive calm as it climbs out of hearing into
exhilarating gypsy movement was inspired by his study of Janá?ek. Schulhoff
creates a brilliantly exotic and virtuoso dance. The gentle muted song of the
Andantino is played against a pizzicato accompaniment, the song a reminder of
the opening moderato. This is again recalled in the closing movement along with
the harmonics. The final hectic gallop is heralded by a series of powerful
chords before the race to the finish.
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