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Duo for Violin and Cello

Erwin Schulhoff (b. 1894 - d. 1942)

Alban Gerhardt (photo credit: Sim Canetty Clarke)

Alban Gerhardt (photo credit: Sim Canetty Clarke)

Composer
Erwin Schulhoff (b. 1894 - d. 1942)
Composition Year
1925
Work Movements
1. Moderato
2. Zingaresca
3. Andantino
4. Moderato
Artists
Gergana Gergova [violin], Alban Gerhardt [cello]

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

Schulhoff 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.

His 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 ethereal harmonics.

The 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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Duo for Violin and Cello

Composer: Erwin Schulhoff (b. 1894 - d. 1942)
Performance date: Sunday 29th June 2014
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Erwin Schulhoff (b. 1894 - d. 1942)
Work Title Duo for Violin and Cello
Composition Year 1925
Work Movements 1. Moderato
2. Zingaresca
3. Andantino
4. Moderato
Artist(s) Gergana Gergova [violin], Alban Gerhardt [cello]
Performance Date Sunday 29th June 2014
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Crespo Recital Series
Duration 00:17:44
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTE
Instrumentation Category Duo
Instrumentation vn, vc
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys

Schulhoff 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.

His 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 ethereal harmonics.

The 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.