Author Topic: Schulhoff's Shuffle (1894–1942)  (Read 1319 times)

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Offline Rinaldo

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Schulhoff's Shuffle (1894–1942)
« on: November 03, 2015, 07:09:10 AM »

ERWIN SCHULHOFF

Born in Prague, died in the Wülzburg concentration camp. Studied under Debussy, Reger and others. An avid nightclub dancer. Served in the First World War. Wrote a piece composed entirely of rests, 30 years before Cage had the same idea. I found out about Schulhoff recently and it looks he's kind of flying under the radar, undeservedly so!

My favourite piece so far are the 5 Jazz Etudes:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/nm-0XONJUTw" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/nm-0XONJUTw</a>

Looking forward to the violin sonatas and his three SQ's. Currently listening to Schulhoff's only opera, Flammen, which is a surrealist take on Don Juan. You can check it out via the fabulous Wellesz Theatre channel.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Schulhoff's Shuffle (1894–1942)
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2015, 07:42:24 AM »
Schulhoff really was going places until he was captured by the Nazis. If I'm not mistaken, the Soviet Union accepted his request for citizenship, but it was not to be. Anyway, like Shostakovich and many of these composers around this time, it's hard not to look at Schulhoff's music without some kind of political context as that history is so intertwined with the music. One work of I really enjoy is the Concerto for Piano and Small Orchestra. A really top-drawer work IMHO. The Violin Sonatas are also quite engaging. I haven't warmed up to any of his symphonies yet. I don't find them to be that compelling. The ballets Ogelala and Die Mondsüchtige are also very good and worth checking out.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Rinaldo

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Re: Schulhoff's Shuffle (1894–1942)
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2015, 08:25:13 AM »
Schulhoff really was going places until he was captured by the Nazis. If I'm not mistaken, the Soviet Union accepted his request for citizenship, but it was not to be.

From what I've read, he was waiting for the visa but didn't get them on time.

Quote
I really enjoy is the Concerto for Piano and Small Orchestra. A really top-drawer work IMHO.

Noted! I just finished the first act of Flammen and really loved the mysterious orchestral passages so I can't wait to hear more of his orchestral writing. Can't believe he's absent from Czech textbooks, especially given his communist leanings - the previous regime usually rushed to get even lesser artists on a pedestal just because they were avid communists.. I presume his Jewishness was what 'saved' him from this dubious appraisal.

Offline Todd

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Re: Schulhoff's Shuffle (1894–1942)
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2015, 08:31:11 AM »
Schulhoff is at his best in chamber music.  His orchestral music is entertaining, but I don't really listen to it much at all.  It's been years since I listened to Flammen, so I may have to revisit it soon-ish.  I remember the Decca sonics really flattering the music.  I also sort of keep meaning to listen to his setting of The Communist Manifesto, but I've yet to get around to it.

As to chamber works, the violin sonatas are excellent, and the Hot Sonata for Saxophone and Piano is great good fun, and one his better chamber music pieces I've heard.  The string quartets, though, are where it's at.  I've heard three complete sets, and a couple other recordings of the first, and the Petersen Quartet is the way to go if you want but one recording.  I believe they are OOP, but they are top flight.   






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Offline The new erato

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Re: Schulhoff's Shuffle (1894–1942)
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2015, 09:04:10 AM »
The string quartets, though, are where it's at. 
I agree, and remember enjoying (in particular) the Ysaye in no 1 on Philips, as well as the Naxos set. Would love to hear the Petersen.

Offline Rinaldo

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Re: Schulhoff's Shuffle (1894–1942)
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2015, 09:19:45 AM »
The string quartets, though, are where it's at.  I've heard three complete sets, and a couple other recordings of the first, and the Petersen Quartet is the way to go if you want but one recording.  I believe they are OOP, but they are top flight.

Thank you! I love SQ's so I'll definitely keep an eye out for these recordings.

Gosh, those moments when you discover a composer that immediately clicks with you are the best.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Schulhoff's Shuffle (1894–1942)
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2015, 09:31:54 AM »
Symphony 5 is relentlessly powerful and doom-laden work which I find very moving given the circumstances of its composition. It would probably appeal to admirers of Shostakovich or Honegger:

« Last Edit: November 03, 2015, 09:33:58 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Offline Jo498

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Re: Schulhoff's Shuffle (1894–1942)
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2015, 09:41:37 AM »
I have the first Petersen disc, very good. Also the Sextet (Raphael on hyperion). His music is quite varied, some pieces are more neo-classicist, or even with traces of romanticism, others more modernist. That Ogalala ballett reminded me of "Le Sacre light". I have also a disc with two symphonies (Conlon on Capriccio) but would have to re-listen to those.

He not only anticipated  Cage with that silent piece. There is also a "sonata erotica" that anticipates a notorious scene from "When Harry met Sally"...
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline kyjo

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Re: Schulhoff's Shuffle (1894–1942)
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2019, 04:54:06 PM »
It's a shame to see this remarkable composer has only one page to his thread! Well, just now I discovered a work of great genius and wit: Schulhoff's Piano Concerto no. 2 (alternatively titled Concerto for Piano and Small Orchestra, but the orchestra employed sounds anything but small, with a colorfully augmented percussion section!). It's very much a work of its time (1923), and though one can hear the occasional influences of Ravel and Prokofiev, Schulhoff's style is quite personal. The Amazon blurb very accurately describes it as "a wild blend of Impressionist, late-Romantic and jazz-inspired sounds and rhythms." The first movement opens mysteriously and builds to a frenzied climax right before the end. The second movement returns to the mysterious, impressionistic mood of the opening and there's some truly magical writing towards the end. And then comes the madcap romp of the finale, where the aforementioned augmented percussion section (including one exotic-sounding instrument which I can't identify) really comes into play! In the center of the movement, there's a tender duet between a solo violin and the piano to offer some respite. Highly recommended to anyone who loves 20th century piano concerti:



(one of multiple recordings)

https://youtu.be/10F3IxZkoCs
« Last Edit: July 04, 2019, 04:55:57 PM by kyjo »
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