7 Sep 2019

Sixteen Strings plays Schulhoff

From Music Alive, 3:01 pm on 7 September 2019

Sixteen Strings – Toloa Faraimo, Shanita Sungsuwan (violins), Peter Gjelsten (viola), Emma Ravens (cello)

Sixteen Strings

Sixteen Strings Photo: Jeffery Wen, Chamber Music New Zealand

Sixteen Strings, a string quartet from Wellington, has enjoyed playing together since March this year.

Their first violinist, Toloa, began playing violin at 11 with Virtuoso Strings and Shanita, their second violinist, has been playing for 6 years with Arohanui Strings, part of the Sistema programme in the Hutt Valley. Peter, their violist (who is really a versatile violinist) started 10 years ago, and Emma, their cellist, started 11 years ago, and both with Suzuki teachers.

Erwin Schulhoff was one of the most popular Czech composers of his time, but his death in a Bavarian concentration camp in 1942 almost wiped his work off the musical map.

When Czechoslovakia was invaded by Germany, Schulhoff was at the height of his career. He was respected by performers and composers alike and was one of the first European composers to experiment with jazz, incorporating it into symphonies and concertos.

As you can imagine, a Jewish communist with a passion for ‘degenerate’ jazz was the perfect target for the Nazi regime. Erwin Schulhoff died of tuberculosis in Wülzburg prison at the age of just 48.

Sixteen Strings plays movements 2 to 5 – that’s Serenade, Czech folk music, Tango and Tarantella – from Erwin Schulhoff’s Five Pieces for String Quartet.

Recorded by RNZ, Auckland Town Hall, 3 August 2019
Producer: Tim Dodd, Engineer: Adrian Hollay