Felix Draeseke Societies: Newsletter (January 2007)

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This page is part of the archives of newsletters and mailings from the Felix Draeseke Societies. A listing of archived materials is available on-line.

January 2007
Draeseke News Update

In order to bring to members of the International Draeseke Society/North America recent news concerning performances, recordings, publications and discussions relevant to Felix Draeseke, the IDS/NA is, in this first month of 2007, is instating an English language news update about happenings throughout the world concerning Felix Draeseke. We have not determined the frequency of distributing these updates, for sufficient material must be gathered to prepare a meanngful update. To this end the editors in charge need the help of the membership in gathering items on performances especially. Though live performances – up and coming or past – are primary items for reporting, news of Draeseke works which have been broadcast in your area of interest as well. Please use webmaster@draeseke.org when submitting. Only items which are signed will be considered for dissemination.

The organizers of IDS/NA and the Internationale Draeseke Society would like to remind all members, that buying CDs of Draeseke’s music is simply not enough to help spread notice of this composer’s stature. Though it is frustrating and efforts are often met with polite dismissal, contacting musicians and local musical organizations and requesting inclusion of Draeseke’s works in their concerts is truly incumbent upon members who are sincere about their interest in and appreciation of the works of Felix Draeseke. Sad to say, but for this issue of the Draeseke News Update, there is no record of any performances of Draeseke’s music in the United States, Canada or Mexico during 2006, except in concerts in the Midwest by cellist Barbara Thiem and pianist Therese Bogarde of Draeseke cello and piano works. The membership is urged to help change this situation. Any help in securing performance parts is available from IDS/NA at draeseke.org. Whether it be the performance of a song or piano piece, a symphony or an oratorio, if it is by Draeseke, IDS/NA wishes to know about it and all forthcoming performances will be noted in the updates. Money is not available from IDS/NA. Businesses in your community should be contacted for possible assistance in funding, and direct (not to IDS/NA!) channeling of private donations to performing groups is welcome and encouraged.


The following news items have been gleaned from Udo-R. Follert, administrative chairperson for the Internationale Draeseke Gesellschaft in Speyer and Brigitte Draeseke, active member of IDG in Magdeburg.

Udo-R. Follert, in his end of the year letter (in German) summarizing events in Europe, mentions the following:

Foremost in the list of undertakings is news concerning the reprinting of performance materials for the entire Mysterium Christus, which consists of a prelude and three oratorios, which most IDS/NA and IDG members know from its complete 1991 recording by Follert and German/Polish forces on Bayer CD. Sigrid Brandenburger is in charge of preparations of the materials for computer printout and issuance by Firma P-N-G Galmsbüll. Dr. Friedbert Streller of Dresden reports that Strube Verlag, Munich-Berlin will issue in the spring of 2007 his edition of suites for organ solo based on materials from Draeseke’s Christus.

On October 6 at 5 PM, in the Alexander Church of Zweibrücken, and the following night October 7 at 5 PM in the Gedächtniskirche (Memorial Church) in Speyer there will be performances of Draeseke´s Adventlied, Op. 30 (text by Friedrich Rückert) conducted by Jochen Steuerwald and the third and final oratorio from Christus: Tod und Sieg des Herrn, Op. 73 conducted by Udo-R Follert.

Nov. 11 at 3 PM in the newly renovated-rebuilt Frauenkirche in Dresden, Udo-R Follert will conduct what is literally the premiere (at least of the newly printed score) of Draeseke´s a cappella Requiem in E minor, Wo0 35 from near the end of the composer´s life (1909). This performance makes up for the intended two performances of March 2006 which had to be cancelled because of terrible snowstorms.

By fortuitous circumstance on Nov. 17 at 8 PM, Matthias Grünert, music director of the Frauenkirche Dresden, will be giving a performance of the choral-orchestral Requiem in B minor, Op. 22, preceded by the a cappella setting of Psalm 93, Op. 56 in the Frauenkirche Dresden as well.

Tickets are required for both requiem performances.

The Nordstern Verlag printing of the Symphonia Tragica, Op. 40 has appeared for purchase. It IS NOT a reprint of the original Kistner, but neither is it a critical edition in the usual sense of the word. It is a thorough documentation of the composer corrected manuscript score in the city of Coburg Draeseke holdings. Volker Tosta is responsible for the production of this handsome conductor’s size Nordstern edition and the score carries the name of Udo-R Follert as editor.

Barbara Thiem and Wolfgang Müller-Steinbach report having nearly finished full score edition and cello-piano reduction of Draeseke´s  Symphonic Andante in E minor for Cello and Orchestra, WoO 11. The score, to be printed with performance parts by Nordstern Verlag, Stuttgart, should be ready by autumn 2007. It is the last work finished by Draeseke in Switzerland before returning to Germany and taking up residence in Dresden.

The Hölderlin String Quartet of Cologne has entered negotiations with IDS/NA for AK/Coburg recordings of Draeseke´s three string quartets. Planned are two CDs, the second of which will contain the Suite  for Two Violins, Op. 86 along with one of the quartets. Therewith is all of Draeseke´s chamber music represented on commercial CDs – mostly AK/Coburg, but MD&G fills an important place with its recording of the Quintet for Horn, Piano, and Strings, Op. 48.

The hunt for the orchestral score – lost since 1942 – of Draeseke’s Violin Concerto in E minor, WoO 15 continues. A “premiere” of the work in its violin/piano reduction is planned for the June, 2008 IDG meeting in Coburg. All who would like to join in the hunt for the lost orchestral score are welcome to do so: it was last seen in Liegnitz (Legnica, Poland) where it was supposed to be used for the world premiere during an aborted Draeseke Festival in 1942. It is the only unrecovered major orchestral manuscript of Draeseke.

At the June 2006 meeting of IDG in Coburg, pianist composer Prof. Wolfgang Müller-Steinbach accompanied clarintetist Martin Nitschmann in the first performance of Müller-Steinbach´s transcription for clarinet and piano of Draeseke´s Scene for Violin and Piano, Op. 69 and then assisted violist Franziska Dürr of the Badische Staatskapelle, Karlsruhe in an exceptional performance of the Sonata No. 1 in C minor for Viola (alta) and Piano, Wo0 21. As an encore to a program which also included works by Schumann and W.A.Mozart the three players gave an arrangement by Müller-Steinbach of the Scherzo from the C# Minor Sonata for Piano, Op. 6 of Draeseke.

During the same meeting in June in Coburg, all the cello and piano works of Draeseke were discussed with interesting illustrations by Wolfgang Müller-Steinbach. Alan Krueck delivered as an addendum, his report on the Symphonic Andante in E minor f or Cello and Orchestra, Wo0 11 of Draeseke (available in both English and German at draeseke.org).

A new book on Draeseke in German is in preparation for publication: Felix Draeseke - Ein Großer unter den Vergessenen by Dr. Hans Hoffmann. The book is described as a popular biography and not a study of Draeseke´s work per se. Following the success of similar books on Beethoven, Mozart´s son, the brothers Haydn, Anton Bruckner and Antonin Dvorak, it is hoped that Hoffmann´s Draeseke book will stimulate interest in Draeseke´s works and bring his music to a wider public. The book should be available sometime in spring, 2007.

Brigitte Draeseke, organizer of annual Draeseke soirees in her native Magdeburg, reported a recital in Magdeburg by soprano Anja Ganschow and pianist Sabina Chujorowa of 6 selected songs of Draeseke, on a program containing works by Felix Mendelssohn and Friedrich Kiel as well. In May, 2006 Brigitte Draeseke also offered a reception featuring the B-minor Requiem, Op. 22 in a private CD clone of Udo-R Follerts 1981 LP recording. Also in Magdeburg on Feb. 13 was a performance of the Barcarole in A minor for Cello and Piano, Op. 11 in a transcription for viola alta (Ritterbratsche) featuring American violist Carl Smith.

In the United States, Draeseke was represented in the Liszt Festival at Bard College in August, 2006 with his Valse-Scherzo in C# minor, Op. 5, No. 2 played by Anna Polansky.

For several years now CPO has been sitting on a single disc release of Draeseke Lieder, among which is a first recording of Helges Treue Op. 1 in its original version as a vocal ballade for baritone with piano accompaniment and not as the Liszt arrangement as melodrama for narrator and piano, of which there are presently two recordings. Reports from Europe have it that bits of this recital have indeed been broadcast on various German stations, but for some reason CPO still has not released the CD to the public. It is the first CD devoted solely to Draeseke’s songs.

Equally befuddling is the unfortunate situation regarding Oliver Triendl’s complete traversal of Draeseke's piano works (including the Piano Concerto in E flat major, Op.36). The CD company which had originally bid for the collection suddenly dropped its options and the recordings are presently looking for a firm to issue this unique undertaking.

At the beginning of September 2005 Gisela Wiemer, long time member of the International Draeseke Society, reported the completion of her doctoral dissertation at the University of Cologne, Felix Draesekes Requien und Messen  - ihre Stellung in der Gattungsgeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts – Untersuchungen zum Vokalstil  (Felix Draeseke’s Requiems and Masses – Their Place in the History of 19th Century Form – Investigations in Vocal Style).

The Hölderlin String Quartet has announced that its concert on May 31 in Speyer, Germany will contain the String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 27 and the String Quartet No. 2 in E minor, Op. 35 of Felix Draeseke among other works.

Alan Krueck
January, 2007

The Internationale Draeseke Gesellschaft (IDG) and International Draeseke Society/ North America (IDS/NA) regularly informs members of activities and items of interest and members qualify for a substantial discount on purchase of Society publications and music of Felix Draeseke and Joachim Raff on the Society's CD label: AKCoburg. We welcome you to join.
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