Willi Boskovsky;  Wolfgang Schneiderhan  (Meloclassic 2019)
Item# S0618
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Willi Boskovsky;  Wolfgang Schneiderhan  (Meloclassic 2019)
S0618. WILLI BOSKOVSKY, w.Weisbach Cond.Vienna S.O.: Concerto in a (Dvorák), recorded 7 April, 1944, Vienna; WOLFGANG SCHNEIDERHAN, w.Schmidt-Isserstedt Cond.Deutschen Opernhaus Orch.: Concerto #5 in A, K.219 (Mozart), Live Performance, 7 April, 1943, Berlin. (Germany) Meloclassic 2019, recorded 1942-44, Berlin. Final sealed copy! - 791154050392


“Willi Boskovsky was a major figure twice over in classical music, first as the concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra from 1936 until his retirement in 1979, and for 25 years (1954-1979) as conductor of the orchestra's renowned New Year's concerts. The latter, principally devoted to the music of Johann Strauss II, made Boskovsky into a star at the podium and resulted in recordings, mostly of Strauss, but also of Mozart, Liszt, and Dvorák, among other composers.

Boskovsky entered the Vienna Academy of Music at nine as a violin student. He graduated in 1927 and pursued a career as a soloist and with his own chamber group, the Boskovsky Trio, over the next five years. In 1933, he joined the Vienna Philharmonic and became the orchestra's concertmaster in 1936. Over the next 18 years, he remained in the violin section and also organized the Vienna Octet. In 1954, Boskovsky succeeded Clemens Krauss at the podium for the orchestra's New Year's concerts, thus beginning a quarter century of these performances, which were broadcast internationally on radio and later on television. Boskovsky's approach to the waltzes, polkas, and quadrilles that made up these programs proved immensely popular, bringing out their lyricism without sacrificing their more majestic qualities. In 1958, the violinist-turned-conductor made the first of dozens of LPs of Viennese waltz music for Decca Records. His timing was impeccable, as these were among the earliest stereo recordings of the repertory and appeared just as stereo was sweeping into homes. They became some of the biggest and steadiest sellers in Decca's classical catalog over the next two decades, even topping the classical charts in England. In the early '60s, Boskovsky's appearances in America as a guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras were considered major musical events. He surprised audiences and critics alike by reviving a custom from Strauss' own performances, bringing his violin to the podium and using both it and his bow as batons, almost waltzing to the music as he conducted, and occasionally playing along as well. During the 1960s, Boskovsky branched out in his recordings, most notably with a landmark nine-volume series of Mozart dances, marches, and minuets for Decca; meanwhile, for EMI, he recorded a series of Viennese operettas, including Strauss' FLEDERMAUS and WIENER BLUT, Zeller's DER VOGELHÄNDLER, Lehár's PAGANINI, and Suppé's BOCCACCIO. Peter G. Davis, writing in The New York Times in 1972, praised Boskovsky's recording of FLEDERMAUS for its ‘razor-sharp precision’, ‘lean sonorities’, and ‘muscular thrust’, remarking that ‘he can kick up his heels when called for and still preserve the undercurrent of warmth’. Boskovsky remained active following his 1979 retirement from the Vienna Philharmonic and recorded well into the digital era with the Johann Strauss Orchestra of Vienna. His best recordings of the Viennese repertory, in orchestral music and operetta, remain highly prized and in print on CD.”

- Bruce Eder, allmusic.com

“Willi Boskosvky was born in Vienna on 16 June, 1909, and joined the Vienna Philharmonic in 1933. Three years later, he was named concertmaster. He did not achieve world fame until he succeeded Clemens Krauss as conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year's concerts in 1954. He continued conducting the concerts until his retirement in 1979. His double role as violinist and conductor revived a tradition set by Johann Strauss himself. Broadcasts of the New Year's concerts made Mr. Boskovsky famous. He frequently worked with Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam and with the London Philharmonic.”

- THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24 April, 1991

"Wolfgang Schneiderhan was born on 28 May, 1915 in Vienna as the son of the actor Theodor Schneiderhan, and received his first violin lessons from his mother, the prominent zither virtuoso Emma Schneider-Fallmann. He performed in public for the first time as a child prodigy in 1920. He then studied with Julius Winkler in Vienna, and supplemented his training through studies with Otakar Sevcik in Pisek, as did his brother Walther, who later became concertmaster of the Vienna Symphony. By the end of the 1920s Wolfgang Schneiderhan's international career had begun, which would lead him to important centers of music and festivals worldwide. In addition to this, he developed a very successful orchestral career, becoming concertmaster of the Vienna Symphony in 1933 before taking up the same position with the Vienna State Opera on 1 September, 1937.

Shortly thereafter, together with Otto Strasser, Ernst Morawec und Richard Krotschak, he founded the Schneiderhan Quartet, an ensemble which existed until 1951. By then, Wolfgang Schneiderhan had already left the Philharmonic. His solo career was not compatible with work in the orchestra, and despite great efforts on the part of then chairman Rudolf Hanzl, he relinquished his orchestral duties on 31 May, 1949, although in the following years never did he lose contact with the orchestra. Even after parting with the string quartet he did not turn away completely from chamber music activities, as he continued to play piano trio with Edwin Fischer and Enrico Mainardi and violin sonatas with Carl Seemann. In September 1952 he made his benchmark Deutsche Grammophon recordings of all ten Beethoven violin sonatas with Wilhelm Kempff in the Konzerthaus, Mozartsaal, Vienna.

As successor to Georg Kulenkampf he directed master classes in violin at the International Music Festival in Lucerne, an institution which provided him a musical home for many decades. He was co-founder, together with Rudolf Baumgartner, of the renowned Festival Strings Lucerne in 1956. Schneiderhan's professorships at the Salzburg Mozarteum and Vienna College of Music are indicative of his lifelong activities as pedagogue, which he complemented through his endeavors as editor and publisher of numerous classical violin compositions, and articles and lectures pertaining thereto, which continued up until his death.

Wolfgang Schneiderhan was concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic for only 12 years; he appeared 80 times with the Vienna Philharmonic as soloist. The solo repertoire which he performed with the Philharmonic was predominantly made up of the violin concerti of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Dvorák, as well as Mozart's Sinfonia concertante, Beethoven's 'Triple' Concerto, violin romances, and the 'Double' Concerto of Brahms. He also performed works by Arcangelo Corelli, Joseph Haydn, Giovanni Battista Viotti, Niccolo Paganini, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Edward Elgar, Edouard Lalo and Igor Stravinsky. Schneiderhan appeared with his wife, Irmgard Seefried, who sang Mozart's soprano aria 'Non temer, amato bene', KV 490, while he played the violin obbligato. The time span of Schneiderhan's appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic was longer than most musicians' entire professional career.

Wolfgang Schneiderhan performed with the most prominent musicians of the 20th century: Géza Anda, Karl Böhm, Edwin Fischer, Pierre Fournier, Ferenc Fricsay, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Gerhart Hetzel, Herbert von Karajan, Istvan Kertész, Hans Knappertsbusch, Clemens Krauss, Richard Krotschak, Enrico Mainardi, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, and Janos Starker. The most prominent admirer of his artistic ability was none other than Richard Strauss, who conducted concertmaster Schneiderhan in both of the legendary concerts on the occasion of the master's 75th and 80th birthdays in 1939 and again in 1944. For Richard Strauss, Wolfgang Schneiderhan was the measure of all things relating to the violin."

- Vienna Philharmonic

“Meloclassic was founded in by Lynn Ludwig in Germany in December 2013, the label dedicated to releasing previously unissued historical recordings of live radio performances and broadcasts. Whenever possible, the discs include original radio announcements and applause. The recordings are meant to serve as historical documents. The sound quality tends to remain extraordinarily quiet, with no trace of tape or wire hiss."

—Gary Lemco, Audiophile Audition, 20 July, 2014

"According to its website, Meloclassic is a ‘non-profit organisation dedicated to releasing previously unissued historical recordings of live radio performances and broadcasts’. The first thing to say is that the material, or most of it, is of exceptional artistic interest, and the sound (which is for the most part extremely clean) is thankfully free of excessive filtering….I look forward to hearing further releases in the not-too-distant future.”

- Rob Cowan, GRAMOPHONE, April, 2014

"Presentation is in a digipack with notes ‘tipped’ in – with excellent photographs, by the way, and helpful text, in English in the case of my copy. Surveying the available discs and seeing details of some of those to come - many violinists, chamber ensembles and pianists – I have no hesitation in saying that this is potentially the most exciting tranche of broadcast material to be made available in many years."

- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWebInternational, 14 June, 2014