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Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15
1. Allegro con brio
2. Largo
3. Allegro

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58
4. Allegro moderato
5. Andante con moto
6. Vivace

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
7. Lied ohne Worte Op. 62, 6. Allegretto grazioso “Spring Song”

Lied ohne Worte Op. 19b
8. 1, E Major “Sweet Remembrance”

Franz Liszt
9. Liebestraum S541 No. 3

Johannes Brahms
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 83
10. Allegro non troppo
11. Allegro appassionato
12. Andante
12. Allegro grazioso

Paul Hindemith
Sonata for Clarinet & Piano in B flat Major
14. Mässig bewegt
15. Lebhaft
16. Sehr langsam
17. Kleines Rondo, gemächlich

Camille Saint-Saëns
18. Variations on a Theme by Beethoven Op. 35, for two pianos

Total Playing Time: 136 mins

Victor Schiøler ©
By Claus Byrith

Victor Schiøler was born in 1899 and died in 1967. His life and career are described in the booklet for Volume 1, and various aspects have also been added in the other booklets to which I refer here.

His activities as a soloist and his increasingly comprehensive work as a teacher were central to his final years from about 1950 until his death in 1967. Here I am thinking not only of his teaching as a professor at the conservatoire, but even more of his efforts to stimulate and encourage interest in classical music. One of his tools was television.

TV was completely new. Many people were interested in it, and in Denmark only one channel was available. This was Danmarks Radio, which only transmitted a few hours daily. It opened up a unique opportunity for Schiøler to gain access to “the general public” in this way. There were many broadcasts which had the title “About the Piano” in common. In this series the sound track of Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy has already been included in Vol 4. Besides the music, viewers could also hear Schiøler’s eloquent, inspiring and appealing introductions.

Volume 6 also includes an example from these broadcasts. Schiøler introduces and talks about Saint-Saëns’ Variations for two pianos on a theme of Beethoven. The theme is the trio from the minuet in the Sonata in E-flat, op. 31 no. 3. The variations make considerable demands on the two pianists, who constantly cast little bits of the theme to each other which they then have to grab in such a way that it never affects the pulse and continuity of the music. It demands perfect synchronization between the two players, here Schiøler and his pupil Peter Westenholz (1937 – 2008). And it is a joy to listen to them playing together! The recording was made in Schiøler’s own home on his two Hornung og Møller concert grands.

Paul Hindemith’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano from 1939 lay somewhat outside Schiøler’s normal repertoire. From the middle 1930s and for about the next 20 years Hindemith wrote sonatas for almost all instruments, some solo sonatas, others in combination with the piano. His neoclassical approach is unmistakeable, but the sonata is highly poetic,

the ensemble works well and is immediately appealing. It was composed in just one week in 1939. The clarinettist is Ib Eriksson (1920-68), the solo clarinettist in the Radio Symphony Orchestra. Eriksson was, just like Schiøler, also very interested in awakening interest in classical music, especially among young people, and this interest found expression in his work as conductor of the Amateur Symphonists. His collaboration with Schiøler represented chamber music at a high level. It is very fortunate that this recording has been preserved, not only because of the distinguished playing by both artists, but also because it shows Schiøler in another kind of repertoire than that we normally meet him in.

In the 1950s Schiøler made quite a number of small so-called EP records of short piano pieces, 7” vinyl discs which played at a speed of 45 rpm. The records were cheap and of course intended to help arouse Danish people’s interest in good, well-played piano music. In this production there are two of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words and Liszt’s Liebestraum taken from two of these records. The quality of the pressing is not particularly good, and the material used was often recycled remnants that came from records which had not been sold. This means that the background noise on many of the records is somewhat intrusive. But they were popular, and many of them sold well. One might say that Schiøler’s mission achieved its aim in many different ways.

The two Beethoven piano concertos and the Brahms concerto are all live recordings from concerts broadcast on the radio. The oldest recording is Beethoven’s 4th Concerto from 1949. At that time tapes were not yet used for recording. Records were cut on lacquer discs which could only accommodate 4-5 minutes on each side, so that many sides were needed for a concerto lasting over half an hour. The records were cut with a small overlap making it possible to play them without a pause when changing, but it required considerable experience and practice to perform such a play-back for a repeat broadcast. As a boy I remember that it was sometimes possible to hear the changes. Fortunately, this is not the case here!


March 2023


DACOCD 962-963