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  • Writer's pictureGeoffrey Dean

The 1907 Farewell Playlist (Alwin's Gap Year, Part 1 Encore)

In the leadup to his departure from the US, Alwin Schroeder's 1907 farewell concerts started with a February 3 program at Boston’s Chickering Hall. Reviews of the Kniesel Quartet’s March and April 1907 concerts in New York, Boston, New Haven, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Louisville, St. Louis, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, and other cities all make special mention of Schroeder, noting his incomparable skill and status as a solo and ensemble cellist on the occasion of his final US appearances. In Baltimore he received a 10-minute ovation, Philadelphia admirers gave him an inscribed gold watch, and in New York a “superb silver punch bowl” was his parting gift, presented after a eulogizing speech by the music publisher Gustav Schirmer. (Ever dignified and self-effacing, Schroeder himself never addressed his audiences from the stage, even to offer a few parting words.) During this period there was much speculation about the future of the Kniesel Quartet without Schroeder, and Franz Kniesel himself seriously considered disbanding it until a group of New York patrons funded his search for a new cellist from Europe.

Here's what he played on these concerts (click here to listen to the playlist)

On the Feb. 3 “Schroeder Concert” in Boston:

Sonata in D Major, Op. 18 Anton Rubinstein

3 Pieces, Op. 146 Carl Reinecke

Waldesruhe Antonin Dvorak

Spanish Dance, “Vito” David Popper

“Mr. Schroeder played with exquisite taste and wondrous technique.” Boston Journal, Feb. 4, 1907, p. 6

“…his playing, always such a treat to the lover of the ’cello, drew a large audience to hear him for the last time. The Rubinstein sonata was given by him with beautiful and flawless finish, and caused haunting moments to his listeners.” Report from Boston in Musical Courier, Feb. 9, 1907

On March-April Kniesel Quartet Concerts, various cities:

Lento for cello and strings Chopin-Franchomme

“...the patrons of the chamber concerts have particularly requested that Mr. Schroeder play the Lento for violoncello and strings by Chopin, one of Chopin’s best beautiful works…” New Haven Morning Journal and Courier, March 11, 1907

Sonata in A Major, Op. 69 Ludwig van Beethoven

String Quartet in E flat Major, Op. 127 Beethoven

“ which Mr. Schroeder played with the large and lucid eloquence that has given many a ’cello part a new vitality and significance, while discerning continence has held it in the nicest balance with the other voices, understanding shaped it to the contours of the music, and imagination filled it with the composer’s spirit.” H. T. Parker in the Boston Evening Transcript (March 20, 1907)

String Quintet in C Major (Cello Quintet) Franz Schubert

Suite in C Major for cello solo J. S. Bach

“Bach’s sonata asks the virtuosity that is high and deep understanding and mastery of the instrument. ...Mr. Schroeder’s virtuosity has been such for years and in much music that gave it ampler scope than did Bach’s sonata. The cello and the player—the one as living as thing as the other—wrought Bach’s long arabesques of tone as upon some tapestry of the air.” H. T. Parker

On March 14, at New York’s Carnegie Hall (with the Russian Symphony Orchestra)

Cello Concerto No. 1 in D Major, mvt 1 Carl Davydov

“Mr. Schroeder played the Davidoff music with the mellowness, repose and depth of style which come to an artist in the period of his maturity, when he no longer regards the cosmos as a field for his triumphs, but effaces himself and ministers as a devout priest before the altar of high art. The audience was moved by the performance, and the applause which followed it had the unmistakable sincerity of an assemblage aroused by a beautiful message.” W. F. Henderson in the New York Sun

On April 25, “Alwin Schroeder’s Farewell Concert,” Boston

Cello Concerto No. 1 in D Major, mvt 1 Carl Davydov

Songs by Tomelli, Schumann, Brahms (with Elfriede Schroeder, soprano)

Variations concertantes, Op. 11 Felix Mendelssohn

Waldesruhe (by request) Antonin Dvorak

Berceuse Cesar Cui

Sicilienne Rene Chansarel

Tarantelle Bernhard Cossman

Songs by H. Parker, G. Henschel, R. Becker (with Elfriede Schroeder, soprano)

Sonata in D Major Pietro Locatelli arr. Alfredo Piatti

“In all that he undertook, whether he played a formidable concerto with orchestra, in chamber music, or a group of pieces in a semi-private concert he displayed fully his rare art and his fine taste. His leaving Boston to make his home in New York was a distinct loss to this city. His departure for Frankfort will be regretted throughout the land, for his great gifts are known and recognized in many states. ...He will be remembered here as an artist of high aims and pure purposes; an artist that respected his calling and was never weary of making for musical righteousness; a man, who though justly conscious of his ability, was always dignified and modest in the presence of the public.” Philip Hale in the Boston Herald

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