1929 - The Wild Sound Of The 20s

Album cover art for upc 4035719003505
Label: BRK
Catalog: BRK900350

Volpert, Ruth; Theis, Ernst; Tomaszewski, Tomasz; Dollins, Christopher; Nicol, Clemens; Madrigalchor der Hochschule für Musik und Theater München; Münchner Rundfunkorchester

October 29, 1923 was a date steeped in history. In the middle of a year of political and economic crises, the age of public radio in Germany was ushered in with the first broadcast of the "Berliner Funkstunde" (Berlin Radio Hour) from the attic of an office building on Potsdamer Platz. - Radio offered entirely new possibilities for the production and reception of music. The two compositions on this CD not only benefited from these developments but also played an active role in shaping them.Eduard Künneke's five-movement Concerto grosso "Tänzerische Suite" op. 26 for jazz band and large orchestra was the sixth commission the composer received from the Berliner Funk-Stunde. Its five movements corresponded to modern dances: the Overture is a Foxtrot, the Andante a Blues, the Intermezzo a Tango, the valse mélancolique a Boston Waltz and the Finale a Foxtrot again. The premiere took place under Künneke's baton on September 8, 1929 in Hall 5 at the Berlin Funkausstellung. The Berlin Funk Orchestra played together with Dajos Béla’s renowned jazz band. The suite was celebrated as a milestone in contemporary radio music and soon became part of the regular concert programme. Even the critics were enthusiastic: "Künneke skilfully combines the character of the old suite with modern means. Modern dances are stylised vividly with exciting rhythms and rich tone colours, and with delightful use of prominent solo instruments such as the violin, the saxophone, etc. It all sounds very good on the radio: this is pleasing, imaginative, symphonic jazz at the best level." Hanns Eisler's cantata "Tempo der Zeit" (Tempo of the Times) op. 16 for soloists, narrator, choir, winds and percussion was written in 1929 as a commission for the Donaueschingen Festival (known as "Deutsche Kammermusik Baden-Baden" from 1927 to 1929). The premiere took place in Baden-Baden on July 28 as part of the concert "Original Music for Radio", with the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra conducted by Hermann Scherchen. The libretto was written by the popular lyricist Robert Gilbert ("Ein Freund, ein guter Freund") under the pseudonym of David Weber. With its pure wind ensemble and percussion, "Tempo der Zeit" captures the typical Songspiel sound of the time. The fact that Eisler used the "modern" medium of radio, of all things, to get his fundamental criticism of blind enthusiasm for technology across to the people is an ironical aspect of the work’s composition and reception history. This CD is part of the special programme focus on the topic "The Wild Sound of the Twenties".

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