Erwin Schulhoff

Suite for chamber orchestra, WV 58

    Description by Peter Bates

    The Suite for Chamber Orchestra (1921) reflects Erwin Schulhoff's enchantment with artist George Grosz's collection of American jazz records. It was his first successful attempt to compose a jazz piece for orchestra. Consisting of six dances with names like "Ragtime," "Valse Boston," and "Shimmy," this bouncy, often silly work features instruments never used in the classical repertoire before, like slide whistles and car horns. "Step" is a 48-second miniature featuring only percussion instruments. Like others of his generation (Kurt Weill, Igor Stravinsky), Schulhoff loved the tango and inserts one into this piece. It is a well-scored, slinky departure from the humoresques. Sometimes the tango seethes with sex, other times it glides like a stately minuet. The suite combines bitonality and harsh dissonances with the melodic style of contemporary music.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Introductory text
    2. Ragtime
    3. Valse Boston
    4. Shimmy
    5. Step (without music)
    6. Tango
    7. Jazz

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2014 MDG MDGSC 9031834
    2004 Capriccio Records 67080
    1997 Channel Classics 6994
    1995 Koch Schwann 314372
    MDG 6311015