Category Archives: Schulhoff

Erwin Schulhoff: Symphony No. 2

Erwin Schulhoff was born in Prague on 8 June 1894. Upon the recommendation by Antonín Dvořák, he was accepted as a piano pupil at the Prague Conservatory at the early age of ten. He continued his studies in 1906 in Vienna, in 1908 in Leipzig with Max Reger and in 1911 in Cologne. After his military service in the Austrian Army during the war, he was resident in Germany until 1924 where his interest was particularly aroused by the radical direction taken by the avant-garde: Dadaism and jazz, Impressionism, Expressionism and Neo-Classicism. He also struck up a lively correspondence with the Viennese composer, Alban Berg. A brilliant pianist Schulhoff was considered to be a specialist of Alois Hába’s quarter-tone music.

On his return to Prague, Schulhoff became the successor of Max Brod as the music critic of the newspaper Prager Abendblatt. After 1933, he was unable to continue his career in Germany due to his Communist convictions (he had for example set the Communist Manifesto to music) and also his Jewish roots. The planned first performance of his opera Flammen in Berlin was cancelled. During the 1930s, Schulhoff underwent an artistic transformation, his symphonic jazz compositions were superseded by symphonies in the style of Social Realism and in 1941 Schulhoff acquired Soviet citizenship. The German declaration of war with the Soviet Union meant that he was now categorized as a citizen of an enemy nation. He was initially interned in Prague on 23 June 1941 and subsequently deported to the concentration camp Wülzburg near Weißenburg in Bavaria where he died of tuberculosis on 18 August 1942.

Symphony No. 2
Allegro ma non troppo
Andante con moto
Scherzo alla Jazz: Allegro assai
Finale: Allegro con spirit