Today Ann and Fran√ßois presented me with a pre-release copy of her grandfather’s cadenzas to four Mozart concertos, the first ever edition. Most striking, as those familiar with Artur Schnabel’s recording will know, is the cadenza to the first movement of the c minor, no. 24 K491. How appropriate that this movement of this concerto gets the boldest, most imaginative treatment; the movement utilizes all 12 notes of the chromatic scale before the theme’s first statement is completed, and we’re not talking about any actual chromatic scales here. Inspired by Mozart’s music, Schnabel uses all 12 notes in about 1 1/2 measures of the cadenza, measure 7 til about half of m.8. That sets the tone (in a manner of speaking) for the whole cadenza.
Interesting how, in his recording with Susskind, Schnabel brings out the middle notes of the syncopated chords of the cadenza’s opening to emphasize the descending melodic “cells”, which are repeated in the LH octaves. That’s his first brilliant stroke – to imitate the orchestra’s lead-in before the cadenza’s beginning.
Many consider this cadenza “weird’, “far out”, and ill-suited to Mozart’s music. But the craft applied by Schnabel in its composition, the molecular cohesion of Mozart’s essential building blocks, binding every measure to the next, renders the cadenza perfectly consistent and meaningful in the context of Mozart’s brilliant first movement. The vital inner workings are a perfect match with Mozart’s Allegro, giving the material new breadth. And of course Artur Schnabel kicks it… totally SICK perfomance of that cadenza !! (“Sick” in a good way, need I mention…)
Yes, the cadenza’s concluding emphasis on the notes B and E flat (the ear hears B and D sharp), creating the expectancy of a return in e minor, provide a … well…. unusual orchestral re-entry in c minor… now that’s what we call fearlessly holding to one’s vision; we salute you, Artur Schnabel!
Congratulations to Samuel Magill and Beth Levin for their new CD “Cello Music from Austria-Hungary” which includes a wonderful interpretation of Artur Schnabel’s Solo Cello Sonata.
Please visit the website for a documentary about Artur Schnabel, composer and pianist.
The correspondence between Artur and Therese Schnabel starts in 1900 when the still unknown pianist Artur Schnabel was hired to accompany the renowned and revered singer Therese Behr. The last letters from Therese Schnabel chronicle the crushing final days of Artur before his death in 1951 in Axenstein, Switzerland as reported by Therese in her reports to their son Karl Ulrich. The letters cover the blossoming of mutual love, their marriage and raising of two sons; a fascinating history of political upheaval through two World Wars, experiencing travel through Europe, America, and Australia by a musician from the “old world,” evolution of the music making scene and business, and much more.
Meeting of Editors and Publisher in Hofheim/Frankfurt, Germany, October 2015. L. to r.: Peter Mischung and Fran√ßois Mottier
The original German correspondence edition in two volumes and one additional volume of annotations is scheduled to be available in September 2016. The publisher is the Wolke Verlag, Hofheim, Germany. An English translation is already being prepared for publication latest in 2017.
We are honored and pleased that Allan Evans, professor at Mannes College – the New School, New York, and director of the Arbiter of Cultural Traditions Company (reformed in 2002 from the former Arbiter Recording Company) has joined the Schnabel Music Foundation as Project Coordinator for the English edition of the correspondence between Artur and Therese Schnabel. He will also be In charge of preparing and restoring newly discovered or acquired historic recordings of Therese Behr and Artur Schnabel for publication by Arbiter Records. Allan’s vast knowledge will be an invaluable asset to SMF as adviser in musical matters.
Britta Matterne in front of Villa Ginetta, Tremezzo, Lake Como, September 2015, where the Schnabels lived from 1933 to 1938.
Beginning in 2014 Britta Matterne has been working on preparing an edition of the correspondence between Artur and Therese Schnabel. Ann Schnabel Mottier is coeditor. As work on this subject has grown substantially beyond the originally envisioned scope and Britta has shown extensive knowledge about both Therese and Artur Schnabel, great enthusiasm, responsibility and commitment, the Schnabel Music Foundation has promoted her to Production Manager. She will be responsible for future publication projects.
Britta Matterne is a native of Hambug, Germany. She studied Musicology and Romance Languages at the University of Hamburg. Her thesis for the Magister title (roughly equivalent to a Masters degree) had Therese Behr Schnabel as subject.
Ann and Fran√ßois Mottier have been working with Britta extensively. In the summers of 2014 and 2015 Britta spent time with them at Lake Como, Italy, and in the Engadin, Switzerland, to gain first hand experience of where Artur and Therese Schnabel, together with their sons, lived in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Britta has also traveled to Connecticut, and in the spring of 2015 she researched original documents in regard to Artur Schnabel at the archives of Yale University, the Frick Collection in Manhattan (NY), and other libraries.
Yearly Schnabel Event in Schwyz, Switzerland
In 2006 the city council of Schwyz, Switzerland declared the Schnabel grave a national treasure and assumed its maintenance in perpetuity. ¬†Since then Schwyz has had a yearly “Schnabel” concert. ¬†
For 2013 the concert will take place on August 31 at 7:30 PM at the Ital Redding Haus, a museum with various event facilities. ¬†The web site for the museum is¬†http://www.irh.ch/english.html
¬†Here is the flyer for the 2013 event:¬†Flyer.schnabel.Brennan.2013