Magazine article Gramophone

Schoeck: Vom Fischer Un Syner Fru

Magazine article Gramophone

Schoeck: Vom Fischer Un Syner Fru

Article excerpt

Schoeck

Vom Fischer un syner Fru, Op 43 Rachel Harnisch sop Jorg Durmuller ten Jordan Shanahan bass Musikkollegium Winterthur / Mario Venzago

Claves (F) 50-1815 (36' * DDD * T)

Othmar Schoeck is probably best known for his song collections, continuing the melancholic romanticism of the Schubert-Wolf tradition into the mid-2 Oth century. His flair for the miniature was not always equalled by effectiveness on the larger scale, and a degree of indecisiveness might be thought to have led Schoeck to describe this 'dramatic cantata' (1928-30) as 'for stage or concert performance'.

Alternatively, Schoeck might have welcomed the more modern embrace of ambiguity, reflecting the flexibility of Stravinsky and other contemporaries in seeking a new kind of generic compromise between something stageable and something that worked equally well in concert performance. Another hybrid feature of The Fisher-man and his Wife relates to Schoeck's use of a text (from the Brothers Grimm's fairy tales) in 'low' German dialect (Plattdeutsch) rather than the more familiar 'high' German (Hochdeutsch). On the one hand, the piece is not called 'Von dem Fischer und seiner Frau'; on the other, there is little or nothing 'low' about the music, which shuns the earthiness of Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale or Weill's Mahagonny-Songspiel in favour of Schoeck's distinctive late romanticism. There may be hints of Hindemith and Stravinsky but the predominant tone is that of Strauss, Pfitzner or Schoeck's teacher Max Reger. …

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