An outstanding violinist of the twentieth century, Wolfgang Schneiderhan was not only celebrated for his interpretations of the classical repertoire, but he also distinguished himself by his commitment to contemporary music. This is demonstrated in three previously unreleased live recordings from Lucerne including the world premiere of Frank Martin’s Magnificat, performed by its two dedicatees.
An outstanding violinist of the twentieth century: Wolfgang Schneiderhan, born inVienna in 1915, was concert master of the Vienna Philharmonic for many yearsbefore turning to his solo career entirely. As a chamber musician - for instance withhis Schneiderhan Quartet or in the trio with Edwin Fischer and Enrico Mainardi- he also proved to be influential. Schneiderhan was one of the definingartists in the history of the Lucerne Festival: between 1949 and 1986 he gavean amazing forty-two concerts; as Georg Kulenkampff's successor, he directedthe masterclasses over several decades; and in 1956, together with his formerstudent Rudolf Baumgartner, he founded the Lucerne Festival Strings.
AlthoughSchneiderhan possessed enormous technical prowess, he never entered theterritory of pure virtuoso concertos or sensational solo pieces. Instead, hisdexterity always underpinned a well-articulated tone, a cultivated breath ofmodulation and a highly differentiated dynamic palette; the natural and genuinenature of his playing was, justifiably, praised again and again. Schneiderhan's"house gods" were Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, but he was also a knowledgeableand committed champion of twentieth century composers, from Boris Blacher, KarlAmadeus Hartmann and Rolf Liebermann through to Frank Martin and IgorStravinsky.
Therange of Schneiderhan's repertoire is also displayed in these three Lucernelive recordings, now released for the first time. His commitment for the musicof his time becomes particularly evident: he performs Henze's highly virtuosicFirst Violin Concerto (which he would go on to record on disc as well, with thecomposer conducting) alongside Martin's Magnificat.The Swiss composer had composed this unusually scored work, which one yearlater would be expanded into his Maria-Triptychon,for Schneiderhan and his wife, the soprano Irmgard Seefried - the Lucerne liverecording of the world premiere with the two dedicatees therefore represents anexceptional archive discovery. The early recording of Mozart's final violinconcerto on the other hand shows Schneiderhan as a representative of theViennese Mozart tradition. Here, his partner at the podium of the SwissFestival Orchestra is Paul Hindemith who can be experienced as a conductor ofclassical repertoire.
The 32-page booklet in three languages providesextensive background information on Wolfgang Schneiderhan in Lucerne, and alsofeatures photos from the festival archives published here for the very firsttime.
In cooperation with audite, LUCERNEFESTIVAL presents the "Historic Performances" series featuring outstandingconcert recordings of artists who have shaped the festival throughout itshistory. The aim of this CD edition is to rediscover treasures - most of whichhave not been released previously - from the first six decades of the festival,which was founded in 1938 with a special gala concert conducted by ArturoToscanini. These recordings have been made available by the archives of SRFSwiss Radio and Television, which has broadcast the Lucerne concerts from theoutset. Painstakingly re-mastered and supplemented with photos and materialsfrom the LUCERNE FESTIVAL archive, they represent a sonic history of thefestival.