Emil Bohnke – Piano Concerto Op. 14 (1923-24)
(b. 11 October 1888, Zduńska Wola [near Łódź, Poland] – d. 11 May 1928 near Pasewalk)
I (p. 1)
II (p. 34)
III (p. 55)
As an outstanding violist and conductor, Emil Bohnke was also recognized as a composer at his time and held in high esteem by colleagues and connoisseurs of new music, but he died too early (together with his wife Lilli Bohnke [b. von Mendelssohn, 1897-1928], an outstanding violinist, as a passenger in a car accident) to become internationally successful with his own work. A few years after his death it was Adolf Hitler‘s seizure of power that pushed progressive music like that of Bohnkes out of concert halls anyway, and after the Second World War only such music of the 1920s had a chance that had already managed to penetrate into general consciousness. It was not until the 1990s that Emil Bohnke‘s music experienced a renaissance, mainly thanks to the commitment of the violinist and pianist Kolja Lessing (b. 1961), although this renaissance stayed largely limited to recordings and was only occasionally reflected in concert life. Unfortunately, Bohnkes‘s son Robert-Alexander, who lived in Tübingen as a pianist, rather hindered the dissemination of his father‘s works. Today the musical estate of Emil Bohnke is in the custody of the musicologist Dr. Michael Kube (born 1968), who reserves the right to publish something on this basis at a later date.
Emil Bohnke had studied in Leipzig and Berlin before taking up a teaching post at the Stern’sches Conservatory in Berlin. In 1919 he became violist of the Busch Quartet for some time. 1923-26 he conducted the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra. In 1926 he succeeded Oskar Fried as principal conductor of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. In his all too brief era he offered extremely interesting programs with many world premieres, among them central works of his friends Heinz Tiessen (‚Vorspiel zu einem Revolutionsdrama‘ on March 9, 1927) and Max Butting (2nd Symphony on October 13, 1926). As a Tchaikovsky conductor, Bohnke is impressively documented on a recording.
Around 1910 Bohnke had developed as a composer to a point that he started to add opus numbers to his works. His oeuvre can be described as narrow, which, in addition to his care and self-criticism, certainly had to do with his intensive work as a chamber musician and conductor. His Opus 13 is divided into three solo sonatas for violin, viola and cello. Opus 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 are solo piano works. After his string quartet in C minor Op. 1 the Sonata for Violin and Piano op. 3, the Piano Trio op. 5 and the Sonata for Cello and Piano op. 7 completed his chamber music œuvre. Another work for solo violin is the Ciacona op. 15 No. 2. …
Read full preface > HERE