Lost Generation- Music of Ullmann, Schulhoff and Tausky
It is the declared aim of exil.arte, the co-ordination office for music in exile, to rehabilitate composers outlawed during the Third Reich and to promote artists and interpreters. For the fourth CD in this series released by Gramola, exil.arte has managed to acquire the services of the English Chamber Orchestra, one of the most renowned ensembles of our age, for this inestimably valuable mission. With David Parry as its artistic director and in magnificent interaction with the soloists Ulrike Anton, flute, and Russell Ryan, piano, this incomparable orchestra presents ‘degenerate’, outlawed and hence long forgotten works by Erwin Schulhoff (Double Concerto for Flute, Piano and String Orchestra with Two French Horns WV 89, the Sonata for Flute and Piano WV 86, and Three Pieces for String Orchestra WV 5), Viktor Ullmann (Chamber Symphony op. 46a) and Vilem Tauský (Coventry – Meditation for String Orchestra).
Exil.arte is an organisation committed to the restoration and reassessment of the achievement of composers who were labelled as degenerate and proscribed during the Third Reich. This, the fourth Gramola disc it has sponsored, features the music of two composers who are best known for the works they composed while incarcerated in Theresienstadt (Terezin) before being sent to their deaths in Auschwitz in 1944. In fact, only one piece here, the impressive, sometimes rather Schoenbergian Chamber Symphony, which has been arranged for strings from Viktor Ullmann’s Third String Quartet, and given a strikingly incisive performance by the ECO under David Parry, actually originated in Theresienstadt. Erwin Schulhoff’s Double Concerto for flute, piano and strings and his Flute Sonata both date from 1927 and are couched in a polished neoclassical style that seems closer to Hindemith than to any other composer; certainly it’s hard to detect that Reger and (briefly) Debussy figured among Schulhoff’s teachers.*** –Guardian, 23/03/13
Of the generation of Czech composers who perished in the death camps, Erwin Schulhoff is the most enigmatic. In David Parry’s recording with the English Chamber Orchestra, his tangy Double Concerto is crisply realised. Kenneth Woods’ arrangement of Viktor Ullmann’s String Quartet No 3 has great depth of sound… Vilem Tausky’s “Coventry”, written in exile, completes a testament to creative resilience. *** –Independent,06/04/13
Hats off to flautist Ulrike Anton, pianist Russell Ryan, the ECO and David Parry, producer Michael Hass and everyone else responsible for this well-performed programme. First-rate annotation, too. —Gramophone, July’13
Ulrike Anton and Russell Ryan project the music with evident affection: the English Chamber Orchestra under David Parry offers exemplary support.Performances throughout this unfailingly listenable programme are excellent. –IRR,, July /Aug’13