In the revival of interest in Schoecks music Jecklin have done the
most. There are already eleven volumes of CDs devoted to his songs and Jecklin
intend an edition which will record all of the songs. There are also three
CDs of the orchestral song cycles and among much else in their rich catalogue
the present CD issued last year but not reviewed anywhere as far as I can
see. Did Fanfare review it?
The Violin Concerto has been recorded several times. This is the first recording
originally issued on 78s. Ulrich Lehmans intense performance was available
on a Mace LP (1970s), Emmy Verheys MGB account has been around since
1991. Ulf Hoelscher recorded it for Novalis (I have not heard this one) and
Claves fine recording featuring Bettina Boller.
The concerto is played by the dedicatee Stefi Geyer with whom Schoeck fell
in an unreturned love and Schoeck wrote this concerto for her as well as
several works for violin and piano (see my review of the recent Guild CD).
The concerto is an essay or poem in lyrical writing. The style (quite Brahmsian
in a lightish way) is backward looking with the occasional injection of Elgar.
When she recorded the work in 1947 Geyer was no longer the young goddess
to whom Schoeck aspired. This performance however has no shortage of vibrant
music through which the blood runs hotly. From the obvious depth of feeling
evident in the playing one can feel Thomas Hardys throbbings
at noontide still animating the playing and stirring memories. No doubt
the composer was present at the Walter Legge directed recording sessions.
It must have been an emotional experience for both soloist and composer.
The Horn Concerto comes from nearly forty years later. It was commissioned
by an amateur horn player Willi Aebi. As I have mentioned before the
composers assumed models are Mozart and Richard Strauss. The work has
been recorded before on a Mace LP and on an MGB CD. Dennis Brain plays the
work here and in a sound quality which is surprisingly good and a great advance
on the by no means poor sound of the Geyer recording. Brains presence
attests to the importance of this recording. Brain CDs are not numerous.
The recording is surprisingly good for its vintage. This by the way is a
radio tape rescued from Swiss Radio sound archives. The performance is very
fine, bubbling, joyous and dramatic. The lightning and quicksilver performance
by Bruno Schneider on CPO (especially) is also very fine. A lyrical work
with a stronger vein of virtuosity and drama than the violin concerto, this
work is a strong contender for return to the active horn repertoire.
Despite the lack of publicity about this album do seek it out. If you are
looking for good modern stereo digital recordings then so far I would recommend
the Boller on Claves (CD 50-9201) and for the horn concerto CPOs Schneider
on CPO 999 337-2. This is both a Schoeck archive document and a live and
living musical experience. I recommend it strongly. It is complemented by
in-depth and informative notes from Schoeck expert Chris Walton (I hope his
Schoeck book will be translated into English), tasteful and distinctive leaflet
design and comprehensive discographic details. All very satisfying. ©
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