Forgotten Records is a French label that has been trawling the
early LP catalogue to release material that has fallen through
the cracks, hence its name. Its inventory is quite extensive,
and tempting, and even a seemingly innocuous release such as
this one has interest.
There are no notes so the curious may want to follow the three
links on the jewel case. One is to the label’s own website,
another is to resmusica.com, and the third is to this site,
where you will find a review of a previous Schiøler release,
written by me.
Victor Schiøler (1899-1967) was born in Copenhagen, the illegitimate
son of the composer Victor Bendix. He made his debut in 1914,
and left a decent number of discs for Tono – a sort of Danish
equivalent of Decca – as well as Danish HMV and also RCA. He
was a well rounded man, intellectually and culturally.
This disc was recorded for HMV (ALP1243; also French HMV FALP371)
in 1953. One doesn’t especially associate him with Chopin, but
he was a fluent and flexible performer and took on a sizeable
repertoire, big and small. At the time, of course, one would
have looked to such as Moiseiwitsch, Rubinstein, Cortot, Horowitz,
Friedman, Malcuzynski and even Guiomar Novaes in Chopin – though
not necessarily in the sonatas, as not all had recorded them.
In this company Schiøler makes a distinctive mark in his very
The Second Sonata is an interesting example of a performance
that starts off poorly but gets better and better. His passagework
in the Grave opening is rather disorganised; his rushing
of bars leading to some very confused results indeed. It also
fails to achieve its intended goal which is surely to generate
excitement; in fact it achieves the opposite. He can still be
a little stiff in the Scherzo, failing to connect the
B section fully – it’s a bit too lateral – but things come alive
in the Funeral march. This he plays with great and unaffected
nobility, limpidity and control of dynamics. In the Presto
finale he really shows a very unusual approach to phraseology,
bringing out emphases and voicings that others avoid, or have
never countenanced. These different stresses add a very personalised
touch to the performance - clever, imaginative, and different.
The Third Sonata performance is perhaps less inspired in such
detail, but more consistent and conventional as a performance.
He shapes the opening movement so much better than he does the
opening of the companion sonata. He’s quite reserved and lightly
spun in the Largo – it has integrity, and once more,
a degree of nobility, without at all becoming cloying. His finale
is a real ‘galloping horse’ of an affair, once again unusually
phrased and stressed, and full of high spirits. It’s enjoyable
to hear playing of such individuality, even if it will not necessarily
garner universal appeal.
He was certainly not a traditional Chopin player in respect
of colour, rubato, and stress patterns. He brings to the sonatas
personal insights, as well as some problematic aspects too.
He was excellently recorded back in 1953, and the transfer is