Concertstück F-Dur für Oboe und Orchester op. 29 (First print)
Schmitt, Georg Alois
Georg Alois Schmitt
(b. Hannover, 2 February 1827 – d. Dresden, 15 October 1902)
Concertstück F-Dur für Oboe und Orchester op. 29
The composer Georg Alois Schmitt can be considered, without any exaggeration, unknown. He is the son of composer Aloys Schmitt (1788-1866), who is today at least known to a few piano students due to his Klavieretüden op. 16 (although he is leaving behind an unclear orchestral, chamber musical and vocal Œuvre). The similarity in both father’s and son‘s name should not lead to any confusion, as the father’s name has also been spelled with „-oi“, similarly the son’s name has also been spelled with “-oy“ (and often referred to without the “Georg“). Although, both spellings are not as common as the one that is used in this text to differentiate the individuals.
Being from such a musical family, Georg Alois, not surprisingly, pursued a successful career as a piano virtuoso, conductor and composer. After working as a “Kapellmeister“ (“chapel master”) in Würzburg and Aachen, he was the musical director in Schwerin from 1856-1892, where he lead the first performances of Die Walküre and Siegfried outside of Bayreuth. He wrote an opera called Trilby (1845, Frankfurt am Main) which was a success, little chamber music (one of them Nocturne for 4 violoncelli), little orchestral music and no symphony, even though he wrote the “musikalischen Scherz“ (“musical joke”) Die Stimmprobe.
All the more, the rediscovery of the Concertstück F-dur für Oboe und Orchester op. 29 has to be considered a success, especially for amateur- and youth orchestras as the piece is a rewarding task. Also, as being considered an extreme rarity, the work is a welcoming addition to the nonplanar comprehensive romantic concert literature for oboe written during the time of Mozart, Strauss, Bellini and Kalliwoda.
The Concertstück is sharing the same single movement structure that is actually indicating a traditional fast-slow-fast musical form in which the three movements merge into each other as seen in Schumann’s Concertstück für 4 Hörner or Cello Concerto, an inevitable comparison, not solely based on the piece’s title similarities. Further works that can be named are the violin concerto by Mendelssohn, Arensky‘s violin concerto published by Musikproduktion Höflich, the cello concerto by Saint-Saens, and, without a doubt, the Schumann inspired cello concerto by Robert Volkmann.
In contrast to all of these works, Schmitt opens his concerto with a seemingly slow introduction which actually is an unaccompanied, “dreamy“ (senza rigore), motif-based cello improvisation, in style of a slow introduction. This motif returns in the transition to the third movement (the formal closeness to Schumann’s cello concerto is mostly apparent in the tempo-interstage and recitative in between the second and third movement), which quickly raises through the main motif to a first actual tutti. Noteworthy is that the principal theme is still introduced unaccompanied and the other instruments emerge successively.
The solo starts with a short recitative until the principal theme starts (both are also unaccompanied in the first four bars). A short “entry“ leads to the second theme in C minor which reveals the second stylistic main pillar of the work, alongside the German romanticism à la Schumann: the Italian bel canto. A lyrical triplet phrase from the first theme’s final group is leading over to the principal theme in tutti, ending the movement that is limited to an exposition without a development or recapitulation.
The second movement is kept entirely in a bel canto inspired Cavatine in A flat major. The mentioned tempo-interstage (poco animato, Solo scherzando) leads into the third movement which consists of a short rondo including only a brief middle section, a shortened reprise but a detailed coda. Especially the metre and the prevailing serene mood remind of the concerto by Strauss.
Translation: Marc Stoeckle
For performance material please contact Musikproduktion Höflich (www.musikmph.de), Munich.
Solo Instrument(s) & Orchestra
210 x 297 mm