Track of the Month: August 2020
You are listening to the third movement, Allegro con Brio, of the Concerto for String Quartet and Wind Orchestra, by
This performance is by the Hawthorne String Quartet and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie conducted by Andreas Delfs. The HSQ performed the American premiere of this piece with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Boston's Symphony Hall. The world premiere took place on November 9, 1932 with the Ondricek Quartet and the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Václav Talich.
Erwin Schulhoff was born in June 1894 in Prague, to German-Jewish parents and perished in 1942 in the Wülzburg concentration camp. He studied in Prague, Vienna, Leipzig, and Cologne, where his teachers included Claude Debussy and Max Reger. He was in the first generation of classical composers to find inspiration in jazz and the avant-garde Dada movement. Schulhoff wrote, "Absolute art is revolution," and he cherished music as "the complete escape from imperialistic tonality and rhythm, the climb to an ecstatic change for the better."
Towards the middle of this movement, a “slow-foxtrot” emerges from the lighthearted interplay of the strings' pizzicati and wind’s short articulations, and a Gershwin-like strut follows in the brass. Indeed, Schulhoff's compositions were influenced by a remarkably wide range of musical styles. Impressionism, late German Romanticism, Czech and Slavic folk music, Expressionism, and even jazz can all be discerned in a very personal and eclectic body of work.
More music by Schulhoff is here.
More music in our Track of the Month series is here.