Othmar Schoeck – Recommended Recordings

You can find an interview of Deal Hudson’s with Jens Laurson about the music of Schoeck and his Notturno in particular, on Ave Maria Radio’s “Church and Culture”: Church and Culture – July 28, 2018 – Hour 1 – Music critic Jens F. Laurson introduces the music of late romantic composer Othmar Schoeck

Updated June 07, 2018

Violin Concerto

Violin Concerto (Concerto quasi una fantasia) op.21 (+ A.Glazunov, Violin Concerto et al.), Chloë Hanslip (violin), Alexander Vedernikov, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Hyperion 67940

Violin Concerto, Bettina Boller (violin), Andreas Delfs, Swiss Youth Symphony Orchestra, Claves 509201

Coupled with the near-contemporaneous Glazunov Concerto, Chloë Hanslip’s 2013 recording is the most polished and delicate version yet, but the excitement and energy of the Swiss Youth Symphony Orchestra under Andreas Delfs and Bettina Boller from 1992 has an undeniable and immediate virtue all of its own. The coupling with Delfs’ arrangement of the best of Penthesilea as a half-hour Suite adds to the attractiveness of the Claves release. The recording with Ulf Hoelscher and the English Chamber Orchestra under Howard Griffiths (Novalis) is also easily recommended.

Schöck Stille Leuchten Fi-
Schoeck, Das Stille Leuchten

Elegie, Klaus Mertens, Mutare Ensemble, NCA 60186

Das Stille Leuchten, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Hartmut Höll, Claves 508910

Among the Schoeck song cycles Fischer-Dieskau recorded for Claves, Das Stille Leuchten might be the trickiest to get your hands on for now, but it’s also the most satisfying and worth tracking down used or as a download. That said, and although one might think that Fischer-Dieskau should have recorded something near-definitive, he did had a habit of being a touch sloppy in contemporary music and a new recording by someone like Christopher Maltman or Günther Groissböck would be greatly welcome.

Nachhall, Jun Mo Yang, Roman Brogli-Sacher, Lübeck Philharmonic Orchestra, Musicaphon 56931 SACD

Nachhall is another wonderful late song cycle for full orchestra and bari-
tone that the provincial Lübeck orchestra performs movingly. Jun Mo Yang—a Renata Tebaldi Competition winner—gives a fine performance in idiomatic German.

Notturno/der Wind
Schoeck, Notturno


• Stephan Genz, Leipzig String Quartet, MDG 3071815

• Christian Gerhaher, Rosamunde Quartet, ECM 001355902

• Klaus Mertens, Minguet Quartet, NCA 60133

Gerhaher is the perfect interpreter of the Notturno, but he is let down—just a little—by the Rosamunde Quartet which, shortly before its dissolution, wasn’t able to give absolutely all that which would have been necessary to make the most out of the demanding score. The Minguet Quartet has the edge here, which brings the two recordings out about even. But it’s the Leipzig String Quartet that really gets it, and on their MDG recording they lift the fine Stephan Genz to the top: This is how Notturno is supposed to sound!

Cellokonzert Op. 61 / Summernight
Schoeck, Cello Concerto, Sommernacht

Cello Concerto; Sommernacht (Summer Night), Johannes Goritzki, German Chamber Academy Neuss, Claves 8502

Cello Concerto, Cello Sonata, Songs for Cello and Piano, Christian Poltéra (cello), Julius Drake (piano), Malmö SO, Tuomas OllilaHannikainen, BIS 1597

Poltéra and Drake transcribed the songs for cello and piano themselves, a practice that Schoeck himself took to frequently, especially when performing with Stefi Geyer at a time when he had little original material for violin and piano.

Violin Sonatas, Simone Zgraggen (violin), Ulrich Koella (piano), Claves 1542 502503

String Quartet no. 2 (plus Fritz Brun String Quartet no. 3), Amar String Quartet, Musiques Suisses 46238

So long as the Minguet Quartet’s recording (MDG 603 0665) isn’t reissued or a new one made, this is the only way to hear one of Schoeck’s marvelous string quartets—and the coupling with the happy surprise of the Fritz Brun work makes this a very attractive alternative, indeed.

Penthesilea, Gerd Albrecht, Austrian RSO & Chorus, Helga Dernesch, Jane Marsh, Mechthild Gessendorf, Marjana Lipovšek, et al., Orfeo 1544 364941


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