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Bernhard Sekles: Chamber Music / Dickermann, Fenyo, Gutman, Okruashvili

Sekles / Dickermann / Fenyo / Gutman / Okraushvili
Release Date: 11/08/2011 
Label:  Zuk Records   Catalog #: 334  
Composer:  Bernhard Sekles
Performer:  Marat DickermannMonica GutmanJulia OkruashviliLászló Fenyö
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SEKLES Rhapsody on Hebrew Ceremonial Motives 1,3. Violin Sonata. 1,3 Cello Sonata 2,4. Capriccio in 4 Movements 1,2,3 1 Marat Dickermann (vn); 2 Lázló Fenyö (vc); 3 Monica Gutman, 4 Read more class="ARIAL12">Julia Okruashvili (pn) ZUK 334 (62:21)

German Jewish composer Bernhard Sekles (1872–1934) studied piano with Lazzaro Uzielli, a pupil of Clara Schumann, and orchestration with Engelbert Humperdinck. In 1894, he was a conductor at the Mainz City Theater. Two years later he became a professor at the same school where he had studied, Dr. Hoch’s Konservatorium in Frankfurt. He became its director in 1923 and remained there for the rest of his career. His students included Paul Hindemith, Theodore Adorno, Max Rudolf, and Hans Rosbaud. Sekles was the pioneer who started the first jazz class to be found at any school. Unfortunately, when Hitler came to power, he was one of the first educators to lose his position. Too ill with tuberculosis to emigrate, he died the following year. Today his works are very little known, and this is the world premiere recording of his chamber music.

The Rhapsody on Hebrew Ceremonial Motives makes use of a Seder melody and a folk-like tune that could be associated with Chanukah. The first theme is developed at length, the second less so, but both serve to make this an enchanting short work. Violinist Marat Dickermann and pianist Monica Gutman perform it precisely and joyfully. The same two artists play the Sekles Violin Sonata, op. 44, which was written around January 1933 when the composer was ill and the nightmare world of Hitler was closing in on him. It’s a thoughtful, sometimes soulful work, with an amazingly lively and rousing third movement, marked vivace , that no one would expect to come out of that era.

Two different artists, Lázló Fenyö and Julia Okruashvili, who are equally adept at finding the inner meaning of this music, play the Cello Sonata, op. 28. There are great contrasts to be heard here. Cellist and pianist play them energetically and as equal partners. Okruashvili, in particular, plays with a riot of color and ravishing textures. Fenyö, too, has a vital palette and he uses it with great artistry.

The four-movement Capriccio is basically a well-put-together piano trio. Sadly, it was Sekles last work to be published, but that certainly did not keep him from composing amusing rhythms and a humorous tune for the finale. After an intermezzo with intertwining melodic lines, Sekles surprises the listener with variations on Yankee Doodle ! It’s a great deal of fun and makes us totally forget the problems that the composer faced. Perhaps it did the same thing for him.

FANFARE: Maria Nockin
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Works on This Recording

Rhapsody on Two Chebrew Ceremonial Motives by Bernhard Sekles
Performer:  Marat Dickermann (Violin), Monica Gutman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 44 by Bernhard Sekles
Performer:  Marat Dickermann (Violin), Monica Gutman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1933 
Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 28 by Bernhard Sekles
Performer:  Julia Okruashvili (Piano), László Fenyö (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Capriccio by Bernhard Sekles
Performer:  Monica Gutman (Piano), Marat Dickermann (Violin), László Fenyö (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932 

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