20th Century Foxtrots, Vol. 1: Austria & Czechia / Wallisch

Release Date: 2/14/2020
Label: Grand Piano
Catalog Number: GP813
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch
Number of Discs: 1

Physical Format:

CD
In Stock
$16.99
Notes and Editorial Reviews
During the inter-war period, in the cities of the West, a younger generation found ways to enjoy life in the form of dances such as shimmies, foxtrots, tangos and Charlestons: strong rhythms that became a symbol of a carefree and decadent era. The new jazz craze took hold everywhere, and Krenek’s opera Jonny spielt auf became an overnight sensation. The inter-war Zeitgeist in Vienna and the Czech lands is reflected in a programme full of première recordings – many of which were hits in their day – rich with fashionable dynamism, syncopation and joie de vivre. Born in Vienna, Gottlieb Wallisch first appeared on the concert platform when he was seven years old, and at the age of twelve made his debut in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein. A concert directed by Yehudi Menuhin in 1996 launched Wallisch’s international career: accompanied by the Sinfonia Varsovia, the seventeen-year-old pianist performed Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto. Since then Wallisch has received invitations to the world’s most prestigious concert halls and festivals including Carnegie Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, the Cologne Philharmonie, the Tonhalle Zurich, and the NCPA in Beijing, also the Ruhr Piano Festival, the Beethovenfest in Bonn, the Festivals of Lucerne and Salzburg, December Nights in Moscow, and the Singapore Arts Festival.

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REVIEW:

While jazz-inspired music by the likes of Stravinsky and Weill has never been forgotten, the similar efforts of dozens of other composers from the same period have fallen into obscurity. Now some of those experiments are enjoying a fresh hearing. The German pianist Gottlieb Wallisch’s revealing and entertaining new recording is mostly made up of world-premiere recordings of these dance-oriented works, in their piano arrangements.

By grouping these works geographically, he said, he anticipates creating “an encyclopedia of music from this time.” The second volume in the series — devoted to pieces by German composers — is scheduled for release in the fall.

If you’ve heard of the Czech composer Jaromir Weinberger, it’s likely for the Polka from his opera “Schwanda the Bagpiper.” (Herbert von Karajan was a devotee of that orchestral excerpt.) But he also composed an entry in the annals of the jazz-age dance known as the shimmy, garlanding his miniature with streaks of New World suavity.

In a 1925 lecture, the Austrian composer Ernst Krenek asked aloud what the listening public wanted. “The answer,” he continued, “will perhaps be somewhat frightening: none other than dance music.” The arrangement on Mr. Wallisch’s recording was created by the composer Jeno Takacs as part of a potpourri of selections from the opera.

Jaroslav Jezek’s “Bugatti Step” was, when it was written, a calling card for its composer — including with the “jazz orchestra” that he led at the time. Mr. Wallisch’s take on the solo piano arrangement of the piece is a cut above several other contemporary performances. He has plenty of forward motion, but his way of approaching Jezek’s propulsive writing results in a smooth ride. “It’s not a Charleston or a quick-fox,” he said. “I don’t think it needs the fast-as-possible tempo.”

– New York Times
Works on This Recording
1. Jonny spielt auf, Op. 45: Excerpt(s) by Ernst Krenek
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1925-1926 ; Kassel, Germany
1. Der Sprung über den Schatten, Op. 17: Foxtrot by Ernst Krenek
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
2. Bugatti-Step by Jaroslav Jezek
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1931 ; Prague, Czech Republ
2. Shimmy auf den Namen Bach by Julius Bittner
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
3. Foxtrot, H 126 by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1920 ; Bohemia
3. Die Fünf Wünsche: Excerpts by Ralph Benatzky
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
4. Butterflies and Birds of Paradise, H 127 by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
4. Foolish Spring Foxtrot by Franz Mittler
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
5. Baby in der Bar, Op. 23: Shimmy by Wilhelm Grosz
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
6. Baby in der Bar, Op. 23: Tango by Wilhelm Grosz
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
7. Shymmy-Tempo by Hanns Eisler
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
8. Illusion Foxtrot by Felix Petyrek
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
9. Arizona Foxtrot by Felix Petyrek
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
10. Ozvěny z music-hallu by Jaroslav Jezek
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
11. Modern Dances (4) for Piano, Op. 39 by Alois Hába
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
12. Black Bottom, H 165 by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1927 ; Czech Republic
13. Matěj Poctivý: City Shimmy by Jaromir Weinberger
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
14. Grotesken (5), Op. 21: No. 1, Valse Boston by Erwin Schulhoff
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
15. Grotesken (5), Op. 21: No. 2, Shimmy-Fox by Erwin Schulhoff
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
16. Black Bottom, H 165 by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1927 ; Czech Republic
17. Matěj Poctivý: City Shimmy by Jaromir Weinberger
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
18. Grotesken (5), Op. 21: No. 1, Valse Boston by Erwin Schulhoff
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
19. Grotesken (5), Op. 21: No. 2, Shimmy-Fox by Erwin Schulhoff
Performer: Gottlieb Wallisch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
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