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Violin & Orchestra

(b. Düren, 19 April 1868 – d. Berlin, 24 July 1933)

I Allegro energico (p. 3) – Solo Cadenza – Tempo (very rapid) (p. 41)
II Andante con espressione (p. 46)
III Allegro con brio (p. 62)

Preface
The Violin Concerto Op. 25, written in 1909, is Max von Schillings’s main orchestral work between his well-known operas ‘Moloch’ and ‘Mona Lisa’. Without cuts, it lasts a good 45 minutes, and Schillings brought the full sum of his art and care to bear here. That the concerto had no lasting success and is known today only to connoisseurs – and hardly to violinists – as a ‘niche work’ may be regretted, but it is not surprising, for it is neither popular in character nor revolutionary in style. In the fall of 1908, Schillings, a former student of the then highly respected composer Caspar Joseph Brambach and the violinist and conductor Otto von Königslöw, and mentor of the young Wilhelm Furtwängler, had taken up the post of General Music Director at the Royal Opera House in Stuttgart, which at the same time entailed the direction of the Hofcapelle Concerts. This serious task, which he was to serve until 1918 after his elevation to the peerage in 1912, naturally also meant that he had less time for composing than before. …

Orchestra

(b. Hamburg , 7 May 1833 – d. Vienna , 3 April 1897)

orchestrated by Albert Parlow (1824-1888)

Preface
It is not an uncommon phenomenon in music history that many an occasional composition by a great master attains a popularity that reaches and even exceeds that of his monumental works – especially in circles outside art music connoisseurs. A prominent and fitting example of this is certainly the Piano Piece in A minor WoO 59 by Ludwig van Beethoven, known by the title Für Elise, although it is not really clear whether the name „Elise“ is not based on a misinterpretation of Beethoven‘s handwriting.1 The almost pop song-like fame of this rather short piano piece becomes particularly clear when one realises that its melody can even be found in everyday objects such as musical clocks.
A similar constellation can be seen in connection with the Hungarian Dances WoO 1 by Johannes Brahms: these are undoubtedly among his best-known and most popular works; however, the master did not see himself as the composer of the dances at all, but merely as their arranger, which was due to the fact that the musical material used by Brahms consists of a large number of Csárdás melodies taken from Hungarian folk music.2 Brahms expressed this in a prominent place in the first edition: the title page reads „Hungarian dances for pianoforte, four hands, set by Johannes Brahms. „3 Another indication that Brahms did not want to claim the role of creator and emphasise the folkloristic origin is also clear from the fact that he did not give the Hungarian dances an opus number, which is also the case with his arrangements of German folk songs.4 As far as the origin of the folk melodies used is concerned, in 1997 János Bereczky presented an extensive study of a number of themes whose origins had not yet been researched.5 Of the total of 21 individual dances, ten appeared in 1869 and a further eleven in 1880. Thus the Hungarian Dances were already written in the period in which Brahms had finally settled in Vienna. …

Opera

(b. Paris, October 9, 1835 – d. Algiers December 16, 1921)

Preface
„There is good music and there is bad music; the rest is a question of fashion or convention, nothing more,“(1) says the little-known French romantic composer, conductor, organist, musicologist and music teacher Camille Saint-Saens, actually called Charles Camille Saint-Saëns. Today, a larger audience still knows him for his opera „Samson et Dalila”, which premiered in Weimar in 1877, and for his much-performed program music “Carnival of the Animals”.

Saint-Saens wrote his first works at the age of six and gave his first concert in Paris at the age of 11. At 16 he studied piano with Camille Stamaty, organ with Francois Benoist and composition with Jacques Fromental Halévy at the Paris Conservatory. In the years that followed he worked as an organist, for example at Saint-Séverin in Paris (1852), at Èglise Saint-Merri (from 1854) and at the Madeleine Church (1858). From 1861 to 1865 he was a lecturer at the Ècole Niedermeyer de Paris, where his students included the well-known French composer Gabriel Fauré. It was not until 1877 that he was able to work exclusively as a freelance composer. Significant for his work are his impressions from the Franco-Prussian War (from 1871), after which he campaigned for national French music, similar to Richard Wagner’s in Germany, and founded the Société Nationale de Musique with César Franck. Art trips through Southeast Asia, South and North America also inspired his compositions to incorporate musical influences from these countries into his works. He was also given a number of honors, such as being elected to the Academy of Fine Arts in 1881, the title of Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1884 and the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor in 1913. Saint-Saens died on a trip to Algiers and was buried in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris.(2) …

Vocal Score is also available > HERE

Choir/Voice & Orchestra

(27. March 1854 in Sinaai – 28. October 1912 in Brüssel)

(b. Edinburgh, 22 August 1847 – d. London, 28 April 1935)

Dramatic cantata

Preface
It is not usual for a 10-year old Scottish lad to be taken by his father to study music in Germany and, on being left there in the ducal town of Sondershausen, told that he will never see his father again. That was what happened to Alexander Mackenzie, for his father was ill and knew he was dying. Was it cruel of him to leave the lad alone on the edge of the Harz mountains, apprenticed to Kapellmeister Stein? No, it was not. It was a selfless gift of a future for a talented boy who rose to eminence in European music, admired by Liszt, Busoni, Hans von Bülow, Pablo Sarasate and Edward Elgar; who was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1895 and made Knight Commander of the Victorian Order by King Edward VII in 1922 and, to this day, shamefully neglected by his own nation.

Virtually orphaned, there was no money to support Mackenzie in Sondershausen, but such were his talents that he was supporting himself from the age of 11 as a second violinist in the ducal orchestra. When he eventually left Germany for Edinburgh and then on to study in London, he had to re-learn English – or perhaps one should say Scots, for he never lost his Scottish accent and was affectionately referred to as “Mac”.

Vocal Score also available > HERE

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