Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ervin Schulhoff - 'Concertante & Ballet Music' - Concertino for String Quartet & Winds - Double Concerto for Flute & Piano - Ogelala, Ballet Suite - Panton 1993

I might keep the Schulhoff posts coming tonight if I can, although I have been given the gift (from my friend's daughter I speculate) of a respiratory infection which, incidentally, is the most pleasant thing happening over here at this time (once again music remains my only true medicine!). Complaining aside, listening to Schulhoff and having quantities of teas is an otherwise lovely way to spend time. 

This Panton disc is one of the first Schulhoff discs I bought in the early 1990s. It is among my favorites, and the interpretations are near-perfect to what Schulhoff intended.  Interestingly we have
a bit of a pattern going on here-my post from January 13th contains the Concerto for Piano and Small Orchestra, on Koch Schwann-following that post is the Decca "Concertos alla Jazz" disc posted perhaps 45 minutes ago-It contains not only the Piano Concerto from the Schwann disc, but also two of the three works on *this* recording, leaving only the ballet suite "Ogelala" on this Panton recording "new" so to speak. This cannot be disappointing however unless the music itself is disappointing, and those of you already enjoying the Schulhoff needn't any persuading. 

Thus I am only briefly talking about Schulhoff's exotic, oddball post-Bartokian "Ogelala", which summons in the mind of the listener the fantastic and barbaric, not unlike "The Rite of Spring" or the "Scythian Suite", by Stravinsky and Prokofiev respectively.  When the young Schulhoff wrote the ballet Ogelala in 1923, he was still absorbing influences from all over. "Le sacre.." is usually cited as the major influence, but it appears only late in Schulhoff’s score. This is the Ballet suite-the whole ballet has a duration of about 40 minutes.

Termed a "Ballettmysterium", "Ogelala" was finished in short score in 1921, but the busy Schulhoff required another three years to orchestrate the 'neo-primitive' work, which was premiered in Dessau on 21 November 1925. It is based on a pagan legend from pre-Columbian Mexico: the warrior Ogelala, taken captive by the tribe of the king Iva, nonetheless manages to seduce the princess Ivala and withstand all manner of taunts and torture before he finally succumbs. The ritual, erotic, and war-like dances take place whilst Ogelala is tied to a stake for sacrifice to the gods.  The dazzling variety of Schulhoff’s invention obscures the fact that the 13 sections of the full score are all variants of the 'Ogelala' theme presented at the outset. And although "Ogelala" shows the influence of both The Miraculous Mandarin and The Rite of Spring, not least in the occasional passages for solo bassoon, it also reveals Schulhoff looking forward-the innovative dominance of percussion in the orchestration was based on a close study of Amerindian rhythm and dance (Schulhoff supposedly studied American Indian dances at phonographic archives at Berlin University), allowing this Czech-born German Jew to predate by several years the use of native American rhythms by the Mexican composers Carlos Chávez and Silvestre Revueltas. 

Neo-primitivism in art

Track listing:

Concertino for String Quartet & Wind Orchestra (1930)

1)Allegro moderato (8:16)
2)Largo (6:25)
3)Allegro con brio (5:13)

Double Concerto for Flute, Piano and Orchestra (1927)

4)Allegro moderato (7:31)
5)Andante (4:21)
6)Allegro con spirito (Rondo) (6:24)

Ogelala, Suite from the Ballet (1923)

7) (19:58)





Anonymous said...

Super,gracias Tzadik,ignoraba ,nunca escuché el ballet Ogelala,opus inédito para este Tapirman,un fuerte abrazo,amigo(cunado puedas sube algun Pianoconcerto de Lloyd o sinfonias de Toch,en mp3,tan solo,gracias!!) Doktor Lasta(Tapirman)

Tzadik said...

T. Doc / Lasta, que están lejos de ser ignorante! Ogelala es interesante, sin embargo, ay? Todavía voy a encontrar Lloyd para usted, no se preocupe: es sólo el tiempo y la vida takiong es puro caos para mí en este momento. Si yo no era tan pobre que te gustaría comprar los discos y enviarlos por correo a usted ... tal vez me ponía asesoramiento médico gratuito a cambio;-) mi salud no es muy grande últimamente! Su amigo, Tzad

Anonymous said...

Larga vida y Prosperidad,Tzadik,muy buenos los cuartetos de Ervin en Naxus,gracias y que mejore su salud,mi amigo admirable!! Tapirman

sneffels said...

Thank you for this fascinating music! Schulhoff is always provocative and interesting, often profound.

Can you tell us which orchestra, conductor and soloist plays on each piece?

Thank you again, and I hope you feel better soon, too!

Tzadik said...

Hi Sneffels it's Tzadik, just not logged in to blogger.
The artists are as follows:

Talich Quartet, members of the Czech Phil. Orchestra,
Zdenek Kosler conducting - "Concerto for String Qt. and Winds"

Dvorak Chamber Orch., Jiri Valek (flute) Josef Hala (piano) Vladimir Valek conducting - "Double Concerto"

Czech Phil. Orchestra, Libor Pesek conducting -

And thanks for your kind words! TZ

Tubarec said...

Thanks for the beautiful music...I know Ogelala from a Onyx CD of the Istanbul Orchestra, a very good version. have you te music of the brothers Quay film of your blog name?? By Stefan Cichonski, I remember. Hope you go better quickly!!! Greetings from Argentina.

Tzadik said...

Doktor T, happy you enjoyed the Schulhoff Quartets too! Saludos !!

Tzadik said...

Hi there Tubarec! You are very welcome, thanks for commenting on it. The Onyx disc you speak of is top-notch indeed. I'm amazed to find someone who made the connection between my blog name and the Brothers Quay! Indeed, my blog url title is taken from the Quay's earliest surviving film from 1979. And-I happen to love their early, somewhat primitive effort even more because of the Cichonski score! It contains some of the most interesting 'modern' organ music that I have ever heard. I would love to get the original tapes of it, seperated from the film (I have the music, but it's the entire audio from the film, thus one must listen to periods of near silences and other sounds unfamiliar unless Nocturna has been seen...

Thanks for the kind words! TZ