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Schroeder Premieres

Johannes Brahms         

Double Concerto in A minor, Op. 102 (1887)

Alwin Schroeder performed as cello soloist in the Brahms double concerto before his arrival in the US, and had likely taken part in one of the earliest performances of the work (with Joachim and Hausmann as soloists) as a member of Gewandhaus orchestra. Franz Kneisel and Schroeder were the soloists when the Boston Symphony first performed the double concerto, on November 17/18, 1893, and revisited it in April 1897, preparing it on a week's notice following the news of Brahms's death. Kneisel had been a personal friend of the composer, and Schroeder had probably made his acquaintance in Leipzig during Brahms's visits as a guest pianist on 

Brodsky Quartet concerts. With the other members of the Kneisel Quartet, which gave US premieres of several late Brahms chamber works, Kneisel and Schroeder visited and played for Brahms at Bad Ischl in the summer of 1896.

         Of the 1893 Kneisel/Schroeder/BSO performances of the double concerto, the Boston Globe wrote: "These artists charmed their audience... Their intonations were pure and sympathetic, and they gave pleasing evidence of the result of long artistic association by the beautiful ensemble displayed throughout the whole work. The solo instruments were in perfect sympathy..." (Nov. 19, 1893, p. 24) Louis C. Elson noted that "Messrs. Kneisel and Schroeder played with the high musicianship that regards this composer’s intention above all personal display, and it was gratifying to see that they nevertheless received abundant recognition at its close.” (Boston Daily Advertiser, Nov. 20, 1893, p. 4)

         With a later BSO concertmaster, Willy Hess, Schroeder returned to the Brahms double concerto during 1909-10, the last season of the short-lived Hess-Schroeder Quartet. Hess and Schroeder played it in Boston, Philadelphia, and at New York's Carnegie Hall. The New York Times praised them as "two artists of high accomplishment willing to join with singular devotion. … The conjuction is rare, and it is welcome, especially when it brings Mr. Schroeder back to the concert platform in New York as a solo performer. He and Mr. Hess were warmly welcomed and gave a superb performance of the work; the performance of ripe and finished artists, thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the music they were playing, and thoroughly in accord with each other.” (Feb. 25, 1910)

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