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Thwarted Voices: The composition class of Franz Schreker, Berlin 1920–1933

This conference was held at SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in July 2000

Chairman: Michael Haas
Conference Director: Erik Levi
Conference Co-ordinator: Lloyd Moore

Concerts supported by
Goethe Institute, London
The Austrian Cultural Institute, London
German Embassy, London
London Jewish Cultural Centre
Westminster Arts
The Decca Music Group
The Franz Schreker Foundation
Stichting Het 20ste-eeuwse Lied (20th Century Song Foundation)

Extract from 'Lexicon der Juden in der Musik' about Franz Schreker


Introduction
Michael Haas (Conference Chairman)

No act of cultural barbarism has ever matched the campaign by the Third Reich to erase from common consciousness music and art it deemed 'degenerate'. What might have evolved as the language of music in Western Europe had composers, at the most crucial stage of their careers, not been forced from their homeland is a subject that is now being addressed with increasing intensity. Close examination of the class of Franz Schreker offers an ideal microcosm of European twentieth century music. He was the most influential composition teacher in Germany, based at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. His students were the rising talents, following tonality, but part of an adventurous avant-garde. Their works were feted in concert halls and opera houses all over Germany, until, almost without exception, they were forced into exile and their music banned.

Schreker's class stood as the opposite pillar to his contemporary and colleague, Arnold Schoenberg. His class however continued in their search for a modern voice without abandoning tonality. A current of new ideas was rushing forward to be heard by an insatiable Berlin public: Krenek's Jonny Spielt Auf took Europe by storm as people heard the first opera with a contemporary setting, based on contemporary people. The success of Jonny was repeated soon thereafter with Max Brand's Maschinist Hopkins, a work that matched 'Jonny's' success with 40 different productions in one year alone. Alois Haba experimented with fractional tones, while Berthold Goldschmidt was announced as the 'great hope of German music' before being removed overnight, like his teacher and colleagues, from all concert halls and opera houses in Germany. To these important names can be added Karol Rathaus, Ignaz Strasfogel, Wilhelm Grosz; the two women, Zdenka von Ticherich and Grete von Zieritz. Most of his class would end their lives in exile, never fulfilling the potential of their earlier Berlin years.

The conference intends to examine Schreker as a teacher and many of his students and the effects they had on musicians and the public. It will reflect on the irony of Schreker's own conservative musical language being the handmaid to so many original and modern voices and try to assess what, if anything might have happened had they been allowed to remain and develop.

Invited speakers Christopher Hailey (USA), Schreker's biographer, and Peter Franklin (UK) will address the Conference on Schreker in Vienna and Berlin. Other speakers are: David Matthews (UK) who will speak on Berthold Goldschmidt;, Martin Schüssler (Germany) on Karol Rathaus and the experience of exile and Thomas Gayda (Germany) on Ernst Krenek, Max Brand and the Zeitoper. Kolja Lessing (Germany) will present a lecture recital of piano works by some of Schreker's lesser-known pupils. The concerts are constructed to contrast Schreker with his own class and will consist of vocal lecture recitals and a piano recital/lecture as well as a chamber music evening at St John's, Smith Square on 2 July performed by The Andrusier ensemble and Kolja Lessing, piano.

We are very grateful to the Department of Music, SOAS, for co-hosting this conference with the newly established Jewish Music Institute. Our thanks go to Dr Richard Widdess, Head of Department and to Alexander Knapp, Joe Loss Lecturer in Jewish Music at the School of Oriental and African Studies for their help and advice. The Jewish Music Institute has set up an International Forum for Suppressed Music, of which I am pleased to be Chairman, and this conference the first project of this Forum. We are delighted that the invited speakers to this conference have agreed to be on the Advisory Board of this Forum.

Many thanks are due to our hardworking team: to Erik Levi, the Academic Director for handling the call for papers and who will develop plans for publication of the conference proceedings, to Lloyd Moore who has co-ordinated the invited speakers and the concert programmes, to Sandra Yaron who has co-ordinated accommodation and administration, and to Geraldine Auerbach, the Director of the Jewish Music Institute who has provided the infrastructure, the framework and the inspiration for this conference.

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Abstracts

Christopher Hailey (USA)
Franz Schreker: Musical Modernism from Vienna to Weimar

The musical culture of Germany's Weimar Republic is unthinkable without the contributions of Franz Schreker and his students. And yet there is no 'Schreker School', no aesthetic or stylistic common denominator such as one finds in the Busoni or Schoenberg circles. Schreker's students have only their diversity in common. This naked truth has made it difficult to assign them their chapter in music history. To be sure, most Schreker students make use of an extended tonality and embrace stylistic pluralism. They were thus too progressive for the Nazis, too moderate for the post-war avant-garde. But then how to explain Herbert Windt, who wrote propaganda film scores for Leni Riefenthal and Ernst Krenek who explored every byway of advanced musical technique? Schreker was a gifted teacher who placed a premium on craft as a transparent medium of personality. He was in this a perfect representative of the liberal ideals of the Weimar Republic and his death soon after the Republic's collapse makes it easy to claim him as a symbol and martyr of that failed experiment in democracy. But Schreker's legacy as a composer and as a teacher is more elusive. He was a Romantic, a fin-de-siècle Viennese 'decadent', whose commitment to teaching led him, in Berlin, to confront the future. The resulting tensions and contradictions—both in his own works and in the works of his students—are a key to refining and differentiating our understanding of musical modernism.

Christopher Hailey is the director of the Franz Schreker Foundation, an artistic consultant to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and is currently a visiting Professor at the Arnold-Schönberg-Institut of the Vienna University for Music and Performing Arts. He is the author of Franz Schreker (1878–1934): A Cultural Biography (Cambridge University Press) and a co-editor of The Berg-Schoenberg Correspondence (W. W. Norton). He has also edited the correspondence between Franz Schreker and critic Paul Bekker (Rimbaud Verlag), translated Theodor Adorno's biography of Alban Berg (Cambridge University Press), prepared the catalogue of the Yale University Paul Bekker Collection, edited the early songs of Alban Berg (Unviversal Edition), and contributed to essay collections on Mahler, Zemlinsky, Schoenberg, Schreker, Webern, Berg, and Weill.

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Stefan Weiss (Germany)
Antin Rudnytsky: an unknown voice from Schreker's class

Today, Antin Rudnytsky (1902–1975) is hardly ever remembered as Schreker's pupil at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik. Rudnytsky entered the director's class for composition in the fall of 1922 and remained there until 1924 when he changed to Egon Petri's piano class, taking his diploma with Petri's successor Artur Schnabel in 1926. Although never a first-rate composer he was an important link between the modernist movement in the Berlin of the 1920s and the musical avant-garde of his native country. As a born Ukrainian, Rudnytsky had to suffer under suppression for the better part of his creative career. With the exception of his Berlin years (1922–1927 and again 1934) he worked in Lwiw (Lemberg), Kiew and Charkow, an area that is now known as Ukraine but then belonged in part to Poland and in part to the Soviet Union. Conditions were hostile to the development of a Ukrainian modernist style that Rudnytsky strove to create. His years of study at the Berlin Hochschule were crucial in that respect, bringing him into touch with pioneers of new musical developments. When he returned to Berlin in 1934 the German capital had changed: most of his former teachers were suppressed as Jews or 'half-Jews' (Franz Schreker, Julius Prüwer, Artur Schnabel, Curt Sachs), and the same went for his friends Stefan Frenkel, Jerzy Fitelberg, and Stefan Wolpe. They were either unable to help him build up a new life in Berlin or had already left the country. A number of articles on Berlin's musical life that Rudnytsky wrote for Ukrainian papers in 1934 show that the composer perceived the changed situation most clearly, and as a consequence he left Germany for good in the winter of 1934–1935. He emigrated to the USA in 1939 and stayed on there until his death. Even as late as 1988 Soviet musicologists were active in deleting Rudnytsky's name from Ukraine's musical history.

As a writer on music, Rudnytsky has been published extensively. His works include a translation of Busoni's 'Entwurf einer neuen Ästhetik der Tonkunst' into Ukrainian (a fact that has escaped Marc-André Roberge in his Bio-Bibliography on Busoni) and numerous articles on German-speaking musicians. An article on Schreker, in which Rudnytsky quotes from a letter from his former teacher, appeared in Ukrainian in 1934; the lecture will draw from this and other sources that have remained largely unknown to Schreker researchers until now.

Stefan Weiss has delivered a lecture on Rudnytsky in a 1997 international conference held in Kiew (conference report published in Ukrainian 1998). The lecture will present new material pertaining to Schreker and his circle.

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Martin Schüssler (Germany)
Karol Rathaus and the experience of exile (with musical presentation)

Martin Schüssler presents a biographical survey (including his main works) with reference to Rathaus' time in London where he lived from 1934 to 1938, composing film music, string quartets, two orchestral pieces (unpublished) and some songs.

Martin Schüssler studied musicology in Tübingen and Berlin. He has been working researching the lives and works of those Berlin composers of the Weimar Republic who were prosecuted and driven from Germany by the Nazis, causing them to fall into such utter neglect that even today their names are all but unknown. Schüssler's investigations into archives in Berlin, Vienna, New York, Los Angeles led him to unearth many sources which throw new light on the musical history of these years. Martin Schüssler is the author of the book Karol Rathaus (Frankfurt am Main 2000).

Musical presentation by Evelyn Chih-Yi Chan, soprano and Julian Milford, piano
Five songs by Rathaus
1 Chanson der Madeleine, from the film 'Großstadtnacht'
2 Lied vom weissen Schwan, from the film 'Der Mörder Dimitri Karamasoff'
3 Chanson von der modernen Kultur, from the film 'Die Koffer des Herrn O. F'
4 Sweet Music, opus 48, No. 2, text Shakespeare
5 The Oblation, opus 48, No. 3, text Algernon Charles Swinburne
A piano composition by Rathaus

The Performers:
Evelyn Chih-Yih Chan, soprano
Born in Taiwan, Ms Chan emigrated to the USA at age fifteen. She majored in music at Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire), and received a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory (Boston) on a double scholarship in voice and vocal accompaniment. Hailed as a 'Fauré singer par excellence' at the Festival du Périgord Noir in 1994, she gave the French première of ten Lieder by Franz Schreker in 1995. She was invited in 1997 to found the International Association of the Friends of Franz Schreker, on account of which she has travelled throughout Europe and America.

In 1999 Ms Chan became artistic consultant to the Karl Weigl Foundation (Mill Valley, California), and recently joined its Board of Directors. Mainly a recitalist, she is also an ardent supporter of contemporary music since first working with Morton Feldman at age eighteen.

Julian Milford, piano
An English graduate of Oxford University, Julian Milford subsequently studied piano and piano accompaniment at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is now recognised as one of the finest young accompanists of his generation working with some of Britain's most promising instrumentalists and singers. He has performed extensively throughout Europe and in South America, Russia, Africa and the US, as well as in Britain's major chamber music venues including the Wigmore Hall, St. John's, Smith Square, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room. Julian has given many concerts with the distinguished violinist Lydia Mordkovitch and with her has recorded music by Bloch and Vaughan-Williams for Carlton Classics, and Elgar, Stravinsky and Carwithen for Chandos. Future releases include his debut solo recording for Chandos of works by William Alwyn. Julian has also broadcast for the BBC on numerous occasions, including live recitals from the Wigmore Hall and St. John's, Smith Square.

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Peter Franklin (UK)
Degenerate charms: Music unveiled

The compositions of Schreker's Vienna period, up to Der Schatzgräber find the composer moving 'down market'—particularly in the changing way in which he was viewed in the critical discourse of musical modernism—from aspiring modernist to decadent sensualist, the purveyor of operatic sensationalism. In this Schreker began to experience a form of cultural marginalisation and dispossession well before the events of the 1930s, which would finally silence him. The special 'postmodern' interest of his vexed position will be considered with close reference to his first stage success, the 1912 opera Der ferne Klang. It will be argued that its critique of romantic idealism, even of music itself, should be regarded as a key not only to the operas that immediately followed it (Das Spielwerk, and Die Gezeichneten in particular), but to the way in which Schreker's pre-fascist reception and distancing from the Second Viennese School (in spite of his subsequently renewed association with Schoenberg) might speak to musicology of the twenty first century.

Peter Franklin taught music history on both sides of the Atlantic before becoming Reader in Music at the University of Oxford, where he is a Fellow and Senior Tutor of St Catherine's College. His published work includes Mahler. Symphony no. 3 and The Life of Mahler (both CUP). He has contributed articles on Schreker and Pfitzner to various journals and to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. His interest in early twentieth century German opera has more recently extended to film music, particularly that of German and Austrian refugees from Nazism like Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Franz Waxman.

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Peter Tregear (Australia)
Modernity at the Crossroads: Interpreting Ernst Krenek's recollections of Schreker in Berlin

This paper examines Ernst Krenek's recollections of Schreker as a teacher, as retold through both published and private sources. Cordial and deferential to begin with, by the end of 1921 their relationship had collapsed, and along with it much of Krenek's initial respect for Schreker as both teacher and composer. Krenek's views later softened, and the imprint of Schreker's style can easily be traced through much his later oeuvre. But the breakdown nevertheless brought to the fore significant differences in attitude between the two men over their understanding of the nature and extent of the aesthetic 'responsibility' of the composer as a social agent, indeed over their understanding of modernity itself. In attempting to provide something of a context for these differences, the paper will consider issues of personality and environment, not least the impact of Schreker's move to Berlin, suggesting how the contrasts between Vienna and Berlin might have served to promote the disquiet between master and pupil.

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Thomas Gayda (Austria)
The Zeitoper: musical expression of the Weimar Republic, as expressed in the works of the Schreker pupils Ernst Krenek, Wilhelm Grosz and Max Brand

Towards the late 1920s Ernst Krenek, Wilhelm Grosz and Max Brand were among the leading exponents of the Zeitoper genre. All were raised in the same classical Viennese music tradition, however, soon their musical style would lead them in directions that differed significantly from one another. It was only during the brief period of the genre of the Weimar Zeitoper when their names were commonly associated with one another on account of their quintessential contributions 'Jonny Spielt Auf', 'Achtung Aufnahme' and 'Maschinist Hopkins'. While Grosz set out to establish a career as a successful song plugger for London´s Tin Pan Alley, Ernst Krenek delved further into the spheres of free tonality. Max Brand eventually found himself regarded as a major pioneer in the field of electro-acoustics.

Thomas Gayda graduated at the Vienna University with a dissertation on the contemporary music life in Vienna after WWII. He has since worked as a dramaturg and writer for radio & television stations in Austria, Germany and England. His research on Austro-German composers whose lives and careers had been interrupted or cut short by the advent of Nazism led to the association with the Decca Record Company and the launch of their distinguished 'Entartete Musik' series in 1991, for which he was project consultant until 1996. He has lectured widely on this period and has written for many leading publications, including Gramophone, the Salzburger, Nachrichten and The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

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Charlotte Purkis (UK)
Max Brand and the Music of the Night

Even if he is remembered in narratives of twentieth century musical history, Max Brand is largely known today as a one-work composer, briefly extremely successful in the heyday of the Weimar Republic, with his music from Maschinist Hopkins however tending to be regarded as of less significance to musicologists than its dramatic content is to cultural historians. This paper offers an interpretation of Brand's creative connections with other better-known contemporary musicians, in particular, Schreker, Schoenberg and Krenek, in order to locate his early inter-war compositional and cultural activities within our contemporary reconstruction of their time. By reconsidering the nature of other compositions alongside Brand's big operatic hit—the now lost unpublished Zarathustra setting, Nachtmusik and Tragodietta—in the context of his activities as impresario and performing musician in inter-war Vienna, it seeks to understand how his musical persona may have contributed both to the difficulties he had re-establishing his reputation in the United States as a consequence of the traumas experienced as a Jewish composer around 1938 and to those we have in continuing to consign him to scholarly footnotes. In reassessing the characteristics and achievements of Schreker's pupils, what is to be made of the streak of pessimism which stalks Brand's European career? Is his reputation merely a post-WWII construct which fitted with his subsequent persecution? And if Brand was more a follower rather than a setter of trends; old-fashioned rather than up to date, why should we see him as more than a phantom of the Zeitoper?

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David Matthews (UK)
Berthold Goldschmidt's Middle Way

Berthold Goldschmidt's rejection of Schoenberg as a teacher was a crucial moment in his life. Like his contemporary, Kurt Weill, Goldschmidt remained loyal to Busoni's idea of 'young classicality', and found a middle way between the extremes of serialism on the one hand and popular music on the other, to which he remained loyal all his life. This paper traces the course of his life in Germany and England, concentrating on a few important pieces which particularly demonstrate the ideals he upheld. Goldschmidt's commitment to tradition and his mastery of the craft of composition can serve as an inspiration for composers in the future.

David Matthews was born in London in 1943. He read classics at Nottingham University, was at first self-taught as a composer, then studied formally with Anthony Milner, and informally with Nicholas Maw. He worked for three years as an assistant to Benjamin Britten, and collaborated with Deryck Cooke on the Performing Version of Mahler's Tenth Symphony. He has worked as an editor and as an orchestrator of film music, has written a study of Michael Tippett, a lecture on music and painting published as Landscape into Sound, and numerous articles and reviews. He has been Music Adviser to the English Chamber Orchestra since 1988 and Artistic Director of the Deal Festival since 1989. Matthews's compositions include a large scale oratorio Vespers, five symphonies, four symphonic poems, nine string quartets, and many other orchestral, chamber and vocal works. A number of his pieces have been recorded on CD.

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Malcolm Miller (UK)
From Exile to Triumph: self-quotation and 'time-displacement'
in the music and life of Berthold Goldschmidt

Quotation and reworking of the past is a theme central to Modernism and Postmodernism, evident for instance in the startling quotations of the European heritage in works by Alfred Schnittke or the self-commentaries and arrangements of earlier works by Boulez and Berio. In the oeuvre of Berthold Goldschmidt (1903–1996) there is a particularly labyrinthine web of interconnections, sometimes linking works separated by as much sixty years. This paper explores the aesthetic and personal motivations for such quotation and suggests hermeneutic frames of reference to illuminate meanings arising from both within and beyond the music itself. My paper focuses on those works which display what the German Goldschmidt-scholar Michael Struck has described as 'time-displacement' and even 'time-distortion'. These include the Clarinet Quartet (1982) which reworks part of the early Passacaglia (1925), the String Quartets no. 2 (1936) and 3 (1989), which programmatically exploit themes from previous works, the ballet Chronica (1938–58–86) which incorporates music composed between 1926 and 1986, the opera Beatrice Cenci (1951) and the very late Rondeau (1995). The analyses of various strategies of transformation of earlier material in each case, set into personal and historical contexts, highlight different types of 'musical memory'. On one hand this sheds light on the evolution of Goldschmidt's style throughout the three main phases of his career, from its roots in Schreker's German Expressionism, through the English style of the 1950s and 1960s, to its remarkable late blossoming in the post-modern era of the 1980s–90s. It also highlights an individual creative relationship to the past which may explain, to some extent, its popular appeal for audiences in the twenty first century.

Malcolm Miller received his doctorate at King's College London with a study of Wagner. He is currently an Associate Lecturer for the Open University, a freelance music critic and writer. He has published articles in The New Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians, MGG, The Collins Classical Music Encyclopedia, and is a regular contributor to journals including Tempo, Musical Opinion and Opera Now.

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Kolja Lessing (Germany)
Views on Schreker's music reflected in the compositions of his students

Kolja Lessing talks about and performs piano works by Schreker students including among others, Ignace Strasfogel, Felix Petyrek, Karol Rathaus.

Kolja Lessing was born in 1961 in Karlsruhe. His versatility, adventurous approach, and ability to combine research and performance are evident from his wide-ranging musical activities. He performs as a pianist and violinist, he is professor of violin, chamber music and contemporary music at the Musikhochschule in Leipzig, he composes, and in 1995 he made his debut as a conductor. He also devotes tremendous energy to researching unjustly neglected twentieth century composers, and has organised many concerts, including portrait concerts featuring works by some of Schreker's pupils: Berthold Goldschmidt, Felix Petyrek, Ignace Strasfogel, Zdenka von Ticharich and Grete von Zieritz.

His CD recordings have mainly been devoted to the works of Emil Bohnke, Igor Markevitch and Berthold Goldschmidt: he has recorded Goldschmidt's entire oeuvre for piano, and his recording of the Piano Sonata (1926) was awarded the 'Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik'. Goldschmidt dedicated his Capriccio for solo violin to Lessing in recognition of his work. Lessing also collaborated closely with Ignace Strasfogel; his monograph on this composer, commissioned by Musica Reanimata, is due to appear concurrently with this CD.

His musicological commitment to twentieth century music is reflected in various publications: in 2000 he is producing the first monograph on Ignace Strasfogel. Composers such as Abel Ehrlich, Jacqueling Fontyn, Berthold Goldschmidt, Ignace Strasfogel and Hans Vogt have written violin works specially for Kolja Lessing who has given their first performance. He wrote the first book about Goldschmidt's operas in relation to the music of the time.

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Concerts

Thwarted Voices: 'Entartete Musik' Chamber Concert

Chamber works by Franz Schreker and his pupils Goldschmidt, Krenek and Rathaus took place on Sunday 2 July, 7.30pm, St John's, Smith Square

This concert, featuring four premières, highlights the music of Schreker, the most influential composition teacher in pre-war Germany, and his students. These rising talents, were part of an adventurous avant garde whilst following tonality. Their works were feted in concert halls and opera houses all over Europe until, almost without exception, they were forced into exile and their music was banned.

Berthold Goldschmidt (1903-1996): Retrospectrum for string trio
Written during the summer of 1991, Retrospectrum, Goldschmidt's only work for string trio, was commissioned by the Berliner Musikgesellschaft and first performed in January 1992. The dedication at the front of the score reads 'in memory of my parents' and in a note to accompany the first recording, the composer wrote that 'the piece ... depicts on a miniature scale, the ups and downs of their lives'. In the same note, he implied that the work had been partly inspired by Schoenberg's late String Trio, a performance of which at the Berlin Festival in 1987 had particularly impressed him. The deeply autobiographical nature of that work undoubtedly left its mark on Retrospectrum, which with its use of quotations from Goldschmidt's own Chronica and Cello Concerto, is surely as much to do with the composer's own experiences as those of his parents. Cast in one continuous movement, the work alternates passages of turbulence and tenderness which eventually find resolution in a characteristically eloquent coda. (Lloyd Moore)

Karol Rathaus (1895–1954): Piano Sonata No. 1, opus 2
Karol Rathaus was born in Poland in 1895 and moved to Vienna in 1913 where he became a composition pupil of Franz Schreker. Along with his fellow students Ernst Krenek and Alois Haba, he followed his teacher to Berlin in 1920 when Schreker took up the position of director of the Hochschule für Musik. He was a prolific and versatile composer, writing works in all the major genres and earning a reputation as one of the most promising young composers in Germany. In 1932, he moved to Paris and thence to London in 1934 where he remained for four years. In 1938, he emigrated to the USA, finally settling in New York where he became composition professor at Queens College, a post he held until his death in November 1954.

Rathaus wrote the first of his four piano sonatas in 1920 while he was still studying with Schreker. In an article written for a special issue of the Universal-Edtion periodical Anbruch, issued in 1928 to mark Schreker's fiftieth birthday, he paid tribute to his erstwhile teacher, calling him 'an extraordinary pedagogal genius', praising his ability to not allow his own stylistic preferences to interfere with bringing out the best in his students. Rathaus was a virtuoso pianist, so it is perhaps not surprising that many of his early works were written for the instrument. In 1919, he had composed his opus 1, a piano variations and fugue on a theme of Reger. The following year, he embarked on an even more ambitious structure, a fully-fledged sonata in four movements; the work's duration of nearly half-an-hour testifies to the seriousness with which he approached the task. The work was premièred in 1921 by Stefan Ashkenase and made a sufficiently strong impression for the twenty-six year old composer to be offered a ten-year contract with Universal-Edition (UE also represented Schreker, Krenek and, initially, Goldschmidt). Although we have been unable to confirm it, we are almost certain that tonight's performance is the UK première of the work. (Lloyd Moore)

Ernst Krenek (1900-1991): Serenade, opus 4 for clarinet, violin, viola, and cello
Krenek wrote his Serenade in the summer of 1919, when, after two years of preliminary counterpoint instruction, he had begun studying composition with Franz Schreker. The work owes its genesis to a misunderstanding: Schreker had suggested that Krenek write a 'clarinet quartet', by which he meant an ensemble for clarinet, two strings and piano. Some weeks later, however, Krenek showed him a work scored for clarinet and strings. Schreker characterised the main theme, which Krenek drew from an earlier counterpoint exercise, as 'Italianate'; it appears in various guises in each of the four movements. In spite of the lightness suggested by the title, the Serenade is a highly concentrated work: the slow movement is a passacaglia and in the scherzo, with its enormous rhythmic propulsiveness, there are hints of Bartók, whose works Krenek was studying at this time. The last movement concludes with a rapid fugato which Krenek modelled on the 'lieto fine' of Beethoven's F minor String Quartet op. 95. Krenek later wrote that the Serenade was the first work that brought together, as it were, 'all the main characteristics of my subsequent instrumental music, especially the tendency to unified construction, both by means of thematic integration as well as by strict contrapuntal structure.' Here and there one hears an anticipation of Krenek's radical atonal works of the early 1920s, such as the First String Quartet op. 6, and the Second Symphony op. 12.

The Serenade was performed frequently in the years around 1920 and always to great acclaim. After a performance at the Donaueschingen Music Festival in 1923, Krenek met Richard Strauss who was attending the festival as a guest of honour. Strauss noted after hearing the work that he would have made a poor teacher since he would doubtless have brought to Krenek's attention the similarity of the main motive—the short phrase that Schreker called 'Italianate'—to the main theme of Beckmesser's serenade in Wagner's Meistersinger. And that remark, he concluded, probably would have kept the composer from writing his 'otherwise delightful piece'. In his memoirs, Krenek adds to this anecdote a laconic observation he might have learned from his teacher: 'originality, the battle-cry of contemporary criticism, is certainly not identical with a capacity for discovering combinations of notes that have never been used before.' (Matthias Schmidt)

Berthold Goldschmidt (1903-1996): Marche Militaire, opus 20 (piano version)
Goldschmidt originally wrote his Marche Militaire in 1932 for the Berliner Funkstunde, a radio orchestra which he regularly conducted at that time. He later said that he wanted to make a personal statement about the ominous threat of fascism and the music's grimly sardonic character makes it clear that this is in every sense an anti-Marche Militaire. The piece was clearly something of a favourite of the composer's: he made an arrangement for wind band in 1938, and also the present version for solo piano (though his reasons for doing so are, at the time of writing, unclear). Later still, in 1986, he incorporated the original version into his orchestral suite Chronica. (Lloyd Moore)

Franz Schreker (1878–1934) arr. Ignace Strasfogel (1909–1994): 'Waldszene' from Der ferne Klang, 'Wiegenlied' from Der Schatzgräber, 'Ah, welche Nacht' from Die Gezeichneten
Ignace Strasfogel was born in Warsaw in 1909 and demonstrated a precocious talent for both piano-playing and improvisation from an early age. He moved to Berlin in 1921, joining Schreker's composition masterclass in 1924. He won the Mendelssohn Prize for his Second Piano Sonata in 1926, and developed a parallel career as an accompanist for such performers as Joseph Szigeti, Carl Flesch and Gregor Piatigorsky. In the wake of the Nazi's rise to power, he emigrated to the USA in 1933 where he continued to work as a pianist and conductor, joining the staff of the Metropolitan Opera in 1951 (he remained there until 1974), but virtually abandoning composition until late in life when, in 1984 (coincidentally at the same time as Goldschmidt), he resumed in the wake of interest in his work in Germany and the USA.

Strasfogel made these solo piano arrangements of excerpts from Schreker's three most successful operas in 1927 when they originally formed of a 'Franz Schreker Heft', a collection of six piano transcriptions published by Ulstein (he also made a remarkable transcription of Schreker's Chamber Symphony). This is their first performance in this country. (Lloyd Moore)

Franz Schreker (1878–1934): Der Wind for clarinet, horn, violin, cello and piano
Schreker's first real success was with his score for Elsa and Grete Wiesenthal's dance-pantomime adaptation of the Oscar Wilde story The Birthday of the Infanta, first performed in Vienna in the summer of 1908. Such was the success of this venture that Schreker collaborated on several other dance-related pieces for the two sisters, including Der Wind, written in 1909, first performed in March of that year and subsequently taken on tour. Despite the work's manifest attractiveness, the sisters dropped it from their repertory soon after and it was never heard again during Schreker's lifetime (the score did not appear in print until as recently as 1998). Schreker's skilful and imaginative scoring for a quintet of clarinet, horn, violin, cello and piano parallels on a small scale the extraordinary virtuosity of the orchestral writing in his operas, particularly that of Der ferne Klang, the major work of this period which would propel him to fame following its première three years later. (Lloyd Moore)

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The Performers

Kolya Lessing, piano
Kolja Lessing was born in 1961 in Karlsruhe. His versatility, adventurous approach, and ability to combine research and performance are evident from his wide-ranging musical activities. He performs as a pianist and violinist, he is professor of violin, chamber music and contemporary music at the Musikhochschule in Leipzig, he composes, and in 1995 he made his debut as a conductor. He also devotes tremendous energy to researching unjustly neglected twentieth century composers, and has organised many concerts, including portrait concerts featuring works by some of Schreker's pupils: Berthold Goldschmidt, Felix Petyrek, Ignace Strasfogel, Zdenka von Ticharich and Grete von Zieritz.

His CD recordings have mainly been devoted to the works of Emil Bohnke, Igor Markevitch and Berthold Goldschmidt: he has recorded Goldschmidt's entire oeuvre for piano, and his recording of the Piano Sonata (1926) was awarded the 'Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik'. Goldschmidt dedicated his Capriccio for solo violin to Lessing in recognition of his work. Lessing also collaborated closely with Ignace Strasfogel; his monograph on this composer, commissioned by Musica Reanimata, is due to appear concurrently with this CD.

His musicological commitment to twentieth century music is reflected in various publications: in 2000 he is producing the first monograph on Ignace Strasfogel. Composers such as Abel Ehrlich, Jacqueling Fontyn, Berthold Goldschmidt, Ignace Strasfogel and Hans Vogt have written violin works specially for Kolja Lessing who has given their first performance. He wrote the first book about Goldschmidt's operas in relation to the music of the time..

The Andrusier Ensemble
Formed in 1995, The Andrusier Ensemble has given performances across the UK to public and critical acclaim. The Ensemble values the opportunity to bring music that has been suppressed to a wider audience and has a special focus on the music of Terezín, the concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. As first prizewinners in the 1996 Anglo-Czecho-Slovak Trust Competition members of the ensemble have given performances in Prague and Brno, supported by the British Council. The Ensemble has been supported by many organisations including The Arts Council, the Hugo Gryn Memorial Trust and The European Year Against Racism and was recently the subject of an HTV television programme.

The Andrusier Ensemble also runs an Education Project, the chief aim of which is to bring an anti-racism message to children of all ages through the performance of music composed in Terezín. Over 4000 children have now attended these special sessions and the Project has received support from such notable musicians as the late Yehudi Menuhin and Sir Roger Norrington.

Mia Cooper, violin
Mia studied with Yossi Zivoni at the Royal Northern College of Music and with Michel Strauss on the prestigious chamber music course at the Paris Conservatoire. She made her Radio 3 debut as part of the Young Artists' Forum series in 1996 and has also performed on Hong Kong Radio 4 and France Musique. From 1997 to 1999 she was a recitalist on the Countess of Munster Recital scheme. She has recorded the Bartók Violin Duos with Yossi Zivoni for Meridian and the Dvorak Piano Quintet with Clementi Ensemble for ASV. With the award-winning Ovid Ensemble Mia has performed at the Bridgewater Hall, the Purcell Room and the Wigmore Hall. A member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Mia also plays regularly with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Ralf Ehlers, viola
Brazilian violist Ralf Ehlers came to Europe initially to continue his studies with Nobuko Imai and Thomas Riebl, but since settling in the UK he has established a fine reputation as a chamber music specialist. He has appeared with such artists as Steven Isserlis, Gabor Takacs and the Vellinger Quartet, and as a member of the Raphael Ensemble, he has given concerts throughout Europe and the USA including at such halls as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and London's Wigmore Hall. In 1997 he was invited with Garth Knox to give the European première of George Benjamin's Viola Viola which they also recorded.

Rebecca Gilliver, cello
Since her highly successful Wigmore Hall debut, Rebecca Gilliver has performed in major music festivals such as Bath, Bergen, the Manchester International Cello Festival and as a soloist with the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields. She has collaborated with international artists including Barry Douglas, Dmitri Sitkovetsky and Roger Vignoles, with whom she recorded her BBC Radio 3 debut recital. Rebecca has received the Pierre Fournier Award, the John Tunnell Trust Chamber Music Award and the East/West International Artists Award, leading to a critically acclaimed New York debut in the Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall earlier this season. Rebecca studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Musik Akademie in Basel; her teachers have included Thomas Demenga, Ralph Kirschbaum and Moray Welsh.

Alan Hicks, piano
In a varied and wide-ranging performing career, Alan Hicks is in demand as a soloist, chamber musician and as a vocal and instrumental associate artist. He has appeared at the Wigmore Hall, Paris Conservatoire, Purcell Room (Park Lane Group Series), St John's, Smith Square and at Newcastle Conservatorium's Keyboard Festival, Australia. Alan is a graduate of Newcastle Conservatorium of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music (PPRNCM Dist.) In 1992 he was appointed Junior Fellow in Accompaniment and the following year joined the staff of the RNCM as Accompanist and Tutor in Piano. Alan now lives and works as a freelance pianist in London. As a member of the King Piano Trio he appears throughout the country under the auspices of the Live Music Now scheme.

Roger Montgomery, horn
Roger Montgomery studied at York University and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Anthony Halstead. He plays with many of the leading groups in the fields of contemporary music and period instrument performance including Capricorn, Gemini and Endymion and is principal horn of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Orchestre Revollutionaire et Romantique and the English Baroque Soloists. As a founder member and conductor of Jane's Minstrels he has performed across the UK, USA, Scandinavia and Europe, directing three recordings for the NMC label and frequently broadcasting for the BBC. Recent engagements have included solo performances in Berlin, a broadcast on Finnish Radio and a recording for Deutsche Grammophon with John Eliot Gardiner and the ORR. Roger teaches at Trinity College of Music and has recently joined the Orchestra of the Royal Opera.

Kate Romano, clarinet
Kate Romano has been described as 'one of the most exciting young clarinettists on the concert circuit' (Classic CD). Graduating in 1993 from the RNCM with first class honours, she continued her studies at Cambridge University. Kate teaches at King's College, London, where she is currently completing her PhD in composition. Following her Purcell Room debut in 1993, Kate has been much in demand as a recitalist, chamber musician and performer of new music. Her first solo CD (Metier) featuring British contemporary music was released last year to great critical acclaim. BBC Music Magazine selected it as Pick of the Month in the chamber music section, describing the performances as 'superlative in every way.'

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Thwarted Voices: 'Entartete Musik' Recital
songs by Schreker, Krenek, Goldschmidt, Babin and Rathaus
took place on Sunday 2 July, 2.30pm, Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS

Ernst Krenek (1900–1991):
Two Songs from opus 19 (1923)
1 Der Individualist, opus 19, no. 2
2 Wunsch, opus 19, no. 4
Three Songs from Fiedellieder, opus 64 (1930)
1 Musikanten wollen wandern (Theodor Storm), opus 64, no. 2
2 Nur ein Scherflein in der Runde (Theodor Storm), opus 64, no. 5
3 Wiederum lebt wohl, ihr Brüder (Theodor Mommsen), opus 64, no. 7

Franz Schreker (1878–1934):
Und wie mag die Liebe (1919)

Ernst Krenek (1900–1991):
O Lacrymosa, opus 48 (1926)
1 Oh Tränenvolle
2 Nichts als ein Atemzug ist das Leere
3 Aber die Winter!

Franz Schreker (1878–1934)
Fünf Gesänge (1909)
1 Ich frag nach dir jedwede Morgensonne
2 Dies aber kann mein Sehnen nimmer fassen
3 Die Dunkelheit sinkt schwer wie Blei
4 Sie sind so schön
5 Einst gibt ein Tag

Franz Schreker (1878–1934)
Zwei lyrische Gesänge (1923)
1 Wurzeln und Halme sind dies nur
2 Ein Kind sagte

Victor Babin (1908–1972)
Hälfte des Lebens (1934)
Der nächtliche Wanderer (1934)

Franz Schreker (1878–1934)
Entführung (1909)
Das feurige Männlein (1915)

Wilhelm Grosz (1894-1939)
From Liebeslieder, opus 10 and 22
1 Deine Wänglein, opus 22, no. 1 (1928)
2 Hat mein Liebster, opus 10, no. 2 (1922)

Berthold Goldschmidt (1903–1996)
Nebelweben (1933)
Ein Rosenzweig (1933)
Wilhelm Grosz (1894–1939)
From Bänkel und Balladen, opus 31 (1931)
1 Bänkel vom Business, opus 31, no. 4
2 Bänkel vom Klatsch, opus 31, no. 2

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The Performers

Anne Buter
Born near Cologne, her voice studies include masterclasses with Professors Daphne Evangelatos, Margret Bence and Brigitte Fassbender. A superb interpreter of Lied, she perfected techniques in masterclasses with Wolfram Rieger and Professor Helmut Deutsch. She was the winner of a Pfitzner lied prize in 1994 and of the International Bach Prize in Leipzig in 1996. Also in that year she became a member of the Munich Liedtrio. Ms Buter is also an active opera performer. She made her opera debut as Niklas in Tales of Hoffmann at the Gertnerplatztheater in Munich 1995. Among recent notable roles have been Dorabella in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, a study production with Sir Colin Davis, and Annius in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito at the opera in Lucerne. She has performed oratorios, chamber music, and Lieder on radio and international concerts with Christoph Eschenbach, Christian Ivaldi, Pascal Devoyon, Bruno Giuranna, Alain Meunier, Isabelle Faust, and Reinild Mees. An avid chamber musician, Ms Buter is a guest at international festivals as in Lyon at Les Musicades, at the Traunsteiner Orgelwochen, and in Sarasota, Florida at the international chamber music festival La Musica.

Sibylle Ehlert
German soprano Sibylle Ehlert was trained in Detmold and from 1991 to 1994 was engaged at the Stadttheater Bern, where she performed the great operatic roles of Mozart, Puccini, Smetana, Strauss, Webern, and Ligeti. In 1997 Ms Ehlert made her Salzburg Festival début in a new production by Peter Sellars of Ligeti's opera Le Grand Macabre, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. She has recorded Ligeti's Mysteries of the Macabre and Requiem with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonica Orchestra for Sony Classical and has appeared in concert performances of Myteries of the Macabre in Alicante and Madrid with Ensemble Modern, at the Concertgebouw with the ASKO ensemble, and in Los Angeles and Los Angeles under Esa-Pekka Salonen with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group and the London Philharmonia. As a recitalist, Ms Ehlert has performed widely on the continent and has recorded a program of Mendelssohn songs with pianist Ian Burnside for the BBC Voice series and Schreker songs for Channel Classics with pianist Reinild Mees.

Jochen Kupfer
Born in 1969 in Grimma (Germany), Jochen Kupfer studied with Professor Helga Forner at the Musikhochschule Leipzig. He completed his studies with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and has won numerous prizes, including the Mozart Festival Competition in Würzburg (1991), the J. S. Bach Competition in Leipzig (1992), the Mendelssohn Bartholdy Competition in Berlin (1993), the Richard Wagner Stipend (1994), and second prize at the Meistersänger competition in Nuremburg (1995). He has appeared regularly with the Thomas Choir in Leipzig, the Berlin Singakademie, and the Bach Choir, Salzburg. In 1996 he performed Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig under Kurt Masur. In 1997 he joined the ensemble of the Semperoper in Dresden. Mr Kupfer has recorded songs by Schumann and Schreker for Channel Classics.

Reinild Mees
After extensive piano studies the Dutch pianist Reinild Mees concentrated her activities on accompanying singers and instrumentalists in recital. Such distinguished artists as Elly Ameling, Gerard Souzay and Sandor Vegh helped her refine and perfect her talents in this demanding metier. Today Reinild Mees is a much sought-after accompanist for song recitals and duo concerts. She performs regularly in radio and television broadcasts. In addition to accompanying master classes for Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Irmgard Seefried, and Galina Vishnyevskaya she also accompanies at a number of international competitions. As a vocal coach Reinild Mees has taught at the Amsterdam Sweelinck Conservatory, the European Centre for Opera and Vocal Art (Ghent), and at the International Opera Centre Amsterdam. For Channel Classics Reinild Mees is currently recording the Complete Songs of Ottorino Respighi, in order to promote the revival of Respighi, Schreker, and other 'forgotten' song composers, she recently founded the Stichting Het 20ste-eeuwse Lied (The 20th Century Song Foundation), Amsterdam.

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The Franz Schreker Foundation

The Franz Schreker Foundation was established in 1986 at the instigation of Haidy Schreker-Bures, the composer's daughter. Today the Foundation helps administer the Schreker estate and serves to disseminate information about Franz Schreker, promote the cultivation of his works, and encourage appreciation of his historical legacy. Recent projects include involvement in a 1998 conference in Vienna concerning Schreker and his Viennese students, the publication of Ulrike Kienzle's groundbreaking study of Der ferne Klang, Das Trauma hinter dem Traum: Franz Schreker's Oper 'Der ferne Klang' und die Wiener Moderne (Schliengen, 1998), and the recording of Schreker's complete songs by Channel Classics. Recent music publishing projects include the re-issue of Schreker's songs (Robitschek, Universal Edition) and new scores of 'Das Nachtstück' from 'Der ferne Klang' and 'Der Wind'.

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Stichting Het 20ste-eeuwse Lied (20th Century Song Foundation)

The Foundation was established in 1998 in order to promote the revival of a beautiful repertoire, mainly from the interbellum period, of songs which have been neglected after the Second World War. Composers like Franz Schreker and many others wrote highly interesting compositions which have simply been 'forgotten'. The 20th Century Song Foundation aims to bring back this musical treasure to the public. Collaboration by musicians, musicologists, CD producers and concert organisers achieve opportunities in this field. So far the Foundation has paid attention to Franz Schreker and Ottorino Respighi with CD recordings of complete songs and concerts of recitals and lectures in Italy, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and England. For next season (2000–2001) big projects concentrating on the composers Karol Szymanowski and Louis Aubert are scheduled. Singers of international renown such as Nelly Miricioù and Elzbieta Szmytka are performing in vocal series in the Netherlands accompanied by David Harper and Reinild Mees. The Advisory Board consists of, amongst others, Professor Dr Christopher Hailey, Professor Dr Marius Flothuis, György Kurtág, Robert Hall and others. We have the CDs of the complete songs recorded by Channel Classics.

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last modified: 20 April 2004

 

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The Jewish Music Institute is an independent Arts organisation based at SOAS, University of London. It is an international focus bringing the ancient yet contemporary musical culture of the Jews to the mainstream British cultural, academic and social life. Its programmes of education, performance and information highlight many aspects of Jewish music throughout the ages and across the globe for people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures.