A Voice Gone SIlent Too Soon: The Music of Gerhard Schedl • Walden chamber players
About the Music
“Music is an addiction. The principal aim of my actions has always been, on the one hand, the attainment of an individual authenticity, as complete as possible, founded upon the rendering of experience of environment and society and the critical distance towards it. And on the other hand, the best possible mastery of material and form, the definition of which remains a compositional problem that needs to be always newly addressed in respect to its musical-historical relevance.”
– Gerhard Schedl
String Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello (1991)
Schedl’s search for an expressive and personal musical language is much evident in his String Trio. His use of a broad palette of instrumental effects serves to deepen the impact and distinct character of each movement. The trio consists of two short movements to open the piece, followed by a longer movement, which is divided into several sections of contrasting character. The trio was commissioned by the Cologne Philharmonic, and it received its premiere in 1993 in a concert that also included several works by J.S. Bach - a composer with a lasting influence on Schedl’s music.
A Due for Violin and Cello (2000)
Schedl’s struggle between outward success and profound depression in the context of societal estrangement is movingly expressed in A Due, one of his last compositions. In four movements, the music contrasts passages of searing intensity with moments of great beauty and tranquility - an inner tranquility that he ultimately failed to attain for himself. After three private concerts, A Due was publicly premiered at the Festival “Klangspuren” in Schwaz, Tyrol (Austria) on September 16th, 2001, ten months after Schedl’s death.
A Tre, Variations for Clarinet, Violin and Piano (1984)
A Tre was commissioned by the Frankfurter Klarinettentrio, a chamber music group, and it was premiered on December 9, 1987. The earliest work on this recording, the trio differs in construction and style from the CD’s other compositions. Its five movements meld a rhythmically free and almost improvisational style into a continuous flow of music. The music is dominated by dense passages of repeated “mini-motives” and even single notes, and in the last movement these motives break apart until they dissolve in a final “sound of air”.
A Cinque for Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano (1996-1997)
A Cinque was premiered on April 28, 1997, at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. The work consists of three movements, all derived from one basic musical “cell”, giving the quintet a mono-thematic structure. Special effects, such as harmonics in the clarinet and col legno passages (using the wooden part of the bow) in the strings add to the wide palette of colors and the richness of the tonal language. Again we hear Schedl’s struggle to find a level of spiritual balance. The quintet ends with a section marked “very calm and delicate”, conveying the mood of a religious ceremony.
Gerhard Schedl (1957-2000) was born in Vienna, Austria. As a young man he studied composition at the Vienna Academy of Music and Performing Arts and musicology at the University of Vienna. In the years 1979-1981 he was awarded the Theodor Körner Foundation Award, Composition grant from the City of Vienna, 3rd Prize of the Competition for composition of house music of the “Wiener Volksbil- dung”, Prize of the “Week of Young Composers” in Hilchenbach, 3rd Prize of the Carl Maria von Weber Competition of the City of Dresden for children’s opera and the “Würdigungspreis” (Appreciation Award) of the Ministry of Science and Research. His break-through as a composer came in 1981 at the age of 24 with the successful world premieres of his scenic oratorio “The Grand Inquisitor“, his opera for children, The Swineherd”, and the orchestral piece “Tango“. In that same year he began a permanent collaboration with the publishing house Doblinger in Vienna and took the position of Lecturer at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt. Subsequently Mr. Schedl’s music was performed by such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, the Vienna Symphony, Budapest Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Lyon and the Minnesota Orchestra, as well as many prominent chamber ensembles and soloists. In 1982 Mr. Schedl became a Lecturer at the University of Mainz, Germany and from 1990 on he served as Composer-in-Residence at the Salzburg Landestheater in Austria. Mr. Schedl was one of the stars the European modern music scene, his music was hailed by critics and performers alike but after suffering extended bouts of depression he tragically took his own life on November 30, 2000. He left behind his wife and two sons. Perhaps the best clues to the conflict between his outward success and his inner struggle lie in the desperate longing in his music for harmony and tonal unity. Further, one can trace a clear narrative posthumously through several of his compositions of a protagonist who eventually despairs and breaks in the face of an inhumane and callous society.
The Walden Chamber Players has been an enthusiastic advocate of Schedl’s music ever since they first encountered it eight years ago. Since then, the ensemble has performed many of his works in all parts of the USA to resounding audience response. Few other composers’ music has moved them as profoundly as that of Schedl; it is, they believe, music of tremendous beauty, sophistication and intensity.
- Program notes excerpted from the original notes by Christian Heindl, Reinhard Kager and Hartmut Krones, translated into English by Christof Huebner with further edits by Willard Hertz.
Walden Chamber Players
Founded in 1997, the Boston-based Walden Chamber Players has garnered a reputation for being one of the most exciting and versatile chamber groups performing today. Critics have hailed its performances of everything from Bach to Schoenberg, and Chamber Music America Magazine raves: “A season spent with the Walden Chamber Players is a time for discovery.” The success of its performances, recordings and educational curricula has earned it a place as one of the most sought-after chamber ensembles in the United States. Walden Chamber Players is comprised of twelve dynamic artists in various combinations of string, piano, and wind ensembles. The wide variety of instrumental groupings possible with this ensemble allows for great versatility and eclectic programming, a hallmark of the Walden Chamber Players. Members of the ensemble are versatile chamber artists and soloists who often perform at leading festivals throughout the United States and abroad. They are also sought- after teachers and lecturers and serve on the faculty of some of the country’s premier musical teaching institutions, such as the New England Conservatory of Music, University of Michigan, Boston University, Longy School of Music and the Boston Conservatory.