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20TH CENTURY FOXTROTS • 1

Austria and Czechia


  • Gottlieb Wallisch, piano

During the inter-war period, in the cities of the West, a younger generation found ways to enjoy life in the form of dances such as shimmies, foxtrots, tangos and Charlestons: strong rhythms that became a symbol of a carefree and decadent era. The new jazz craze took hold everywhere, and Krenek’s opera Jonny spielt auf became an overnight sensation. The inter-war Zeitgeist in Vienna and the Czech lands is reflected in a programme full of première recordings—many of which were hits in their day—rich with fashionable dynamism, syncopation and joie de vivre.

Tracklist

Krenek, Ernst
 
Potpourri aus der Oper Jonny spielt auf (Potpourri from the Opera Jonny Strikes Up) (arr. J. Takács for piano) (1925) (00:36:00 )
1
Shimmy * (00:01:29)
2
Blues * (00:02:38)
3
Tango * (00:01:31)
4
Der Sprung über den Schatten (The Leap Over the Shadow), Op. 17: Foxtrot (arr. G. Blasser for piano) (1923) * (00:03:17)
Bittner, Julius
5
Shimmy auf den Namen Bach (Shimmy on the Name Bach) (1924) * (00:01:58)
Benatzky, Ralph
 
Die Fünf Wünsche (The Five Wishes) (arr. for piano) (1928) (00:09:00 )
6
Flirt, Slowfox * (00:01:27)
7
L'Heure bleue, Boston * (00:03:21)
8
Tango macabre * (00:03:56)
Mittler, Franz
9
Foolish Spring, Foxtrot (1934) * (00:03:42)
Grosz, Wilhelm
 
Baby in der Bar, Op. 23 (arr. G. Blasser for piano) (1928) (00:06:00 )
10
Shimmy * (00:02:51)
11
Tango * (00:03:19)
Krauss-Elka, Leopold
12
Thannhäuser-Foxtrot, Op. 33, "Lied an den morgenstern" (Song to the Morning Star) (1921) * (00:02:11)
Eisler, Hanns
13
Shymmy-Tempo (1926) * (00:00:59)
Petyrek, Felix
14
Illusion, Foxtrot (1922) * (00:03:24)
15
Arizona-Foxtrot (1924) * (00:01:54)
Ježek, Jaroslav
16
Bugatti-Step () (00:02:58)
17
Ozvěny z music-hallu (Echoes of the Music Hall), Foxtrot (1936) * (00:01:59)
Hába, Alois
 
4 Moderní tance, Op. 39 () (00:18:00 )
18
No. 1. Shimmy-Blues (00:02:02)
19
No. 2. Blues (00:03:14)
20
No. 3. Boston (00:03:01)
21
No. 4. Tango (00:02:12)
Martinů, Bohuslav
22
Foxtrot, H. 126bis (1920) (00:02:35)
23
One-step, H. 127bis (1921) * (00:01:26)
24
Black Bottom, H. 165 (1927) (00:00:53)
Jirák, Karel Boleslav
25
The Kingdom of Heaven, Slow Foxtrot (Blues) (1929) * (00:03:30)
Weinberger, Jaromír
26
Matěj Poctivý: City Shimmy () * (00:01:52)
Schulhoff, Erwin
 
2 Excerpts from Groteske (1925) (00:06:00 )
27
No. 1. Valse Boston * (00:03:30)
28
No. 2. Shimmy-Fox * (00:02:23)
* World Première Recording
Total Time: 01:09:32

The Artist(s)

Gottlieb Wallisch Gottlieb Wallisch has made numerous recordings for labels such as LINN records, Deutsche Grammophon and Alpha Classics. In 2012 Steinway & Sons added his name to their roster of Steinway Artists. In 2010 Gottlieb Wallisch became the youngest professor at the Geneva University for Music; the Berlin University of Arts (UdK Berlin) named him professor for piano in 2016.

The Composer(s)

Julius Bittner
Wilhelm Grosz
Alois Hába Alois Hába left his mark in modern classical music especially with his harmonic theories and microtonal pieces. A pupil of Reger, as Weinberger and Schulhoff were, he composed also some diatonic works, expressing a neo-Romantic idiom, with hints of the folk music of his native Valašsko region.
Ernst Krenek Ernst Krenek’s compositions of the 1920s won him a reputation as an enfant terrible, bringing international success with his jazz opera Jonny spielt auf, and in the 1930s a change to serial composition, notably in the opera Karl V, withdrawn through political intrigue from a planned staging in Vienna in 1934.
Bohuslav Martinů Born in a church tower in the Bohemian country town of Polička, Bohuslav Martinů was a prolific enough composer as a child, before he entered Prague Conservatory as a violin student in 1906. His interest, however, lay in composition. Failing to complete his course at the Conservatory or at the Prague Organ School, to which he had been transferred, he worked as an orchestral player before moving, in 1923, to Paris. The approach of the German armies in 1940 forced him to make his way, as best he could, to the United States, where he was encouraged by commissions from Koussevitzky. Political events in Czechoslovakia prevented his intended return after the war; he spent his final years abroad, dying in Switzerland in 1959.
Franz Mittler Franz Mittler, equally proficient as an accompanist, was a child prodigy as a composer, and in the 1930s became musical assistant to Karl Kraus.
Erwin Schulhoff was born in Prague on 8 June 1894 and showed musical ability from an early age. A musical career was decided upon on the recommendation of no less than Antonín Dvorák, and Schulhoff studied at the Prague Conservatory from 1904, followed by piano tuition in Vienna from 1906 then composition in Leipzig with Max Reger from 1908 and subsequently in Cologne with Fritz Steinbach from 1911. In the meantime he had laid the basis of a career as a pianist, while his efforts at composing were rewarded with the Mendelssohn Prize in 1918 for a piano sonata. His music up to the First World War had shown the expected influences from Brahms and Dvorák, and by way of Strauss, to Debussy and Scriabin, but four years in the Austrian army saw him adopt a more radical stance artistically and politically. In the next few years he absorbed the values of the Expressionism represented by Schoenberg and the Second Viennese School as well as the Dadaism espoused by Georg Grosz, whose advocacy of jazz was to find its way into much of Schulhoff’s music from that period.
Jaromír Weinberger A gifted child, the Bohemian composer Jaromír Weinberger studied at the Prague Conservatory with Vitězslav Novák and then with Max Reger in Leipzig, pursuing an early career as a conductor and pianist. He wrote music in particular for the theatre and, during a period teaching in America, sought to emulate Dvořák in a planned ‘Union Rhapsody’, a purpose never realised. At home he became briefly director of the opera in Bratislava and director of the Cheb Music School before moving to Prague. Compelled to emigrate after the Anschluss, he returned to America in 1939, settling in Florida where his later depression led to suicide.

Reviews

“The whole disc is thoroughly entertaining and uplifting.” – Lark Reviews

“A fun album overall with a few hearty side dishes but also a lot of chocolate éclairs.” – The Art Music Lounge