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Schulhoff, Ervín

Schulhoff, Ervín

Schulhoff, Ervín, Czech composer and pianist, great-grandnephew of Julius Schulhoff; b. Prague, June 8, 1894; d. in the concentration camp in Wülzburg, Bavaria, Aug. 18, 1942. He was a student of Kaan at the Prague Cons. (1904–06), of Them in Vienna, and of Reger at the Leipzig Cons. (1908–10) before completing his training at the Cologne Cons. (1911–14). hi 1913 he won the Mendelssohn Prize for piano and in 1918 for composition. Following military service during World War I, he was active in Germany (1919–23), where he became involved in left-wing avant-garde circles. During this period, he was attracted to Dadaism and jazz. His music of this period also reveals the influence of Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Upon returning to Prague, he taught piano privately and later was on the faculty of the Cons. (1929–31). As a pianist, he was a champion of the quarter tone music of Alois Hâba and his disciples. After composing works along expressionist and neoclassical lines, Schulhoff embraced the tenets of proletarian art in the early 1930s. He also became a member of the Communist Party, a decision that placed him in peril after the Nazi occupation in 1939. When the Nazis attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, Schulhoff was arrested and imprisoned in Prague. Later that year he was sent to the concentration camp in Wülzburg, where he died of tuberculosis.

Works

DRAMATIC : Ogelala, ballet (1922–24; Dessau, Nov. 21, 1925); Náměsiénǎ; (The Sleepwalker), dance grotesque (1925; Oxford, July 24, 1931); Le bourgeois gentilhomme, music for Molière’s play (1926); Plameny (Flames), tragicomedy (1927–29; Brno, Jan. 27, 1932). ORCH .: 2 piano concertos (1913, 1923); Joyfitl Overture (1913); 32 Variations on an Original 8-bar Theme (1919); Suite for Chamber Orch. (1921); 8 syms.: No. 1 (1925), No. 2 (1932; Prague, April 24, 1935), No. 3 (1935), No. 4, Spanish, for Baritone and Orch. (1936–37), No. 5 (1938), No. 6, Symphony of Freedom, for Chorus and Orch. (1940–41; Prague, May 5, 1946), No. 7, Eroica (1941; unfinished), and No. 8 (1942; unfinished); Double Concerto for Flute, Piano, and Orch. (1927); Festive Overture (1929); Concerto for String Quartet and Wind Orch. (1930; Prague, Nov. 9, 1932). CHAMBER : 2 violin sonatas (1913, 1927); Cello Sonata (1914); Sextet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas, and 2 Cellos (1920–24); Bass Nightingale for Contrabas-soon (1922); 5 Pieces for String Quartet (1923); 2 string quartets (1924, 1925); Duo for Violin and Cello (1925); Concertino for Flute, Viola, and Double Bass (1925); Divertissement for Oboe, Clarinet, and Bassoon (1926); Sonata for Solo Violin (1927); Flute Sonata (1927); Hot Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano (1930). Piano : Variations on an Original Theme (1913); 9 Little Round Dances (1914); 10 Variations on “Ah vous dirais-je, Maman”; (1914); 5 Grotesques (1917); 1 unnumbered sonata (1918); 3 numbered sonatas (1924, 1926, 1927); 5 Burlesques (1918); 3 Waltzes (1918); 5 Humoresques (1919); 5 Arabesques (1919); 5 Pictures (1919); 10 Themes (1920); Ironies, 6 pieces for Piano, 4-Hands (1920); Partita (1920); 11 Inventions (1921); Rag Music (1922); 6 Family Matters (1923); 2 suites (1925, 1926); Esquisses de Jazz (1927); Hot Music (1928); Suite dansante en jazz (1931); Studien, 2 pieces (1936). VOCAL : 3 Songs for Alto and Piano (1914); Krajiny (Landscapes), 5 songs for Mezzo-soprano and Orch. (1918–19); Menschheit for Alto and Orch. (1919); Serious Songs for Baritone, 4 Winds, and Percussion (1922); H.M.S. Royal Oak, jazz oratorio for Reciter, Jazz Singer, Chorus, and Symphonic Jazz Orch. (1930; Brno Radio, Feb. 12, 1935); Manifest, cantata after The Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels, for 4 Soloists, Double Chorus, Children’s Chorus, and Wind Orch. (1932–33; Prague, April 5, 1962); 2927, song cycle for Voice and Piano (1933).

Bibliography

V. Stará, E. S.: Vzpomínky, Studie a dokumenty (E. S.: Recollections, Studies and Documents; Prague, 1958); O. Puki, Konstanty, dominanty a varianty S.ova skladebného stylu (The Constants, Dominants and Variants of S.’s Compositional Style; Prague, 1986); J. Bek, E. S.: Leben und Werk (Hamburg, 1994); T. Widmaier, ed., E. S.-Kolloquium (Hamburg, 1996).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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