Friedrich Wührer

Friedrich Wührer

Friedrich Wührer was an Austrian-German pianist. He was born June 29, 1900 in Vienna, Austria and died December 27, 1975 in Mannheim, Germany.

Life

Wührer studied piano with Franz Schmidt, conducting with Ferdinand Löwe, and music theory with Joseph Marx. Early in his performing career, which began in the 1920s, Wührer was a champion of modern music and a founder of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Vienna. [http://www.americansymphony.org/dialogues_extensions/2000_01season/2001_03_30/Schmidt.cfm] He formed friendships with composers Hans Pfitzner and Max Reger, and he became associated with Arnold Schönberg and his circle, participating in noted performances of Schönberg’s setting of 15 poems from "Das Buch der hängenden Gärten", op. 15; his "Pierrot Lunaire"; and Webern’s Pieces for Cello and Piano, op. 11. Wührer also performed music by Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev, and Paul Hindemith, and on July 3, 1930 he performed Schönberg student Paul Pisk's "Suite for Piano" in the first broadcast of that composer's music by the British Broadcasting Corporation. In 1939, as Paul Wittgenstein, who commissioned the work, had fled Austria, Wührer performed in the premiere of Schmidt’s Quintet for piano, violin, clarinet, viola, and cello in A major, albeit in his own arrangement for two hands rather than as originally written for piano, left hand alone. [http://hjem.get2net.dk/Brofeldt/Catalogue_s.htm]

Wührer continued his advocacy for modern works at least into middle age. In the 1950s, for instance, he performed the Piano Concerto, op. 21 written in 1939 by Kurt Hessenberg [http://www.cassandrarecords.com/en/artists/KHessenberg/autobiography.htm] . Nonetheless, notwithstanding his pioneering work for music of the Second Viennese School and other moderns of his day, Wührer’s principal focus as a performer, his posthumous reputation, and his recorded legacy came to rest on performances of music from the romantic era, particularly works in the German and Austrian traditions.

Later in life, Wührer was a juror at the Second Van Cliburn International Piano Competition of September 26-October 9, 1966 [http://www.cliburn.org/index.php?page=second_1966] , which awarded first prize to Radu Lupu, and a member of the piano jury at the 1968 Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition [http://www.qeimc.be/en/i/211-Friedrich_WUHRER.html] . Wührer’s son, also named Friedrich, was a violinist and conductor who made classical records [http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/nostalgia.html] .

Pedagogy

Outside the concert hall, Wührer was a respected teacher first in Vienna, then Mannheim (Hochschule fuer Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim, 1934), then Kiel (1936), and finally at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik [http://www.juilliard.edu/asp/fsnew/faculty_details.php?FacultyId=17&School=College&Division=Music] in Munich. He also regularly taught master classes at the Salzburg Mozarteum. His students included composers Sorrel Hays [http://home.mindspring.com/~hays2ries/biography.html] , Helmut Bieler [http://composers21.com/compdocs/bielerh.htm] , and Richard Wilson [http://faculty.vassar.edu/riwilson/biography.html] ; pianists Geoffrey Parsons [http://accompanist.org.au/gpa1/gpa1a/] , Frieda Valenzi [http://www.soundfountain.org/rem/remvalen.html] , and Felicitas Karrer [http://www.soundfountain.org/rem/remkarrer.html] , who described him has having an unusually well-balanced left hand; and harpsichordist Hedwig Bilgram [http://www.ccm-international.de/kuenstler/hedwig_bilgram_e.html] .

Publications

Among Wührer's editorial activities, he wrote "Masterpieces of Piano Music" (Wilhelmshaven, 1966), compiled a collection of works by old masters; and prepared editions of the Chopin "Etudes" and the piano music of Franz Schmidt. Claiming to be respecting the composer’s own wishes, he created two-hand redistributions of the left-hand works that Schmidt had written for Paul Wittgenstein, although Wittgenstein evidently voiced strong objections [http://hjem.get2net.dk/Brofeldt/Appendix_003_Protest.htm] . Besides editing the Etudes, Wührer wrote "18 Studies on Chopin Etudes in Contrary Motion" (1958) as a pedagogical work for equalising the facility of both hands. Wührer also composed and published cadenzas for Mozart's piano concerti in C Major, K. 467; C Minor, K. 491; and D Major, K. 537 [http://www.di-arezzo.co.uk/scores-of-Friedrich+Wuhrer.html] .

Recordings and Films

In 1935, Wührer performed piano solos for the Carmine Gallone film "Wenn die Musik nicht wär", also known in Germany as "Liszt Rhapsody" and English-speaking countries as "If It Were Not for Music". [http://us.vdc.imdb.com/name/nm2751674/]

Wührer made numerous commercial phonograph records. His discography includes only a handful of 78 RPM sides, but he recorded extensively during the early LP era, mostly for the American Vox label. Among those recordings was the first nominally complete cycle of Schubert’s piano sonatas on records. [http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:gwxhT_-A0tgJ:www.schubertsocietyusa.org/SSUSA_NEWSLETTER_VOL_3_NO_1.PDF+friedrich+wuehrer&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=51&gl=us] It omitted a few fragmentary works, but it did offer Ernst Krenek’s completion of the C Major sonata D. 840 ("Reliquie"), possibly otherwise represented on records only by Ray Lev’s Concert Hall Society account of similar vintage. Although some of Wührer’s commercial recordings, all or nearly all mono, lingered into the stereo LP era in poor-quality ersatz stereo remixes, very few have emerged on compact disc, and in particular Vox bypassed his pioneering Schubert sonata cycle in favor of one recorded a few years later in stereo by Walter Klien. A third party entity, however, appears to have issued compact disc editions of the set copied from LPs. [http://www.geocities.com/bearac_reissues/bearac_catalogue8.htm]

The following lists contain the bulk of Wührer’s recordings. Unless specified otherwise, all 78 RPM discs were 10" sized, and all LPs were monaural 12" sized. The Vox Boxes were all 3-record sets. CD issues mostly derive from radio broadcasts; CD releases of material originally appearing on analogue discs are noted in the sections for their original formats, with the CD section listing only recordings not released in other formats.

78 RPM

Beethoven: Rondo a Capriccio in G, op. 129 ("Rage over a lost penny"). HMV E.G.6905, 10”

Brahms: "Liebeslieder Waltzes", op. 52. With Hermann von Nordberg, piano, and Irmgard Seefried, Elisabeth Höngen, Hugo Meyer-Welfing, and Hans Hotter. English Columbia L.X. 8628-8631, 4 12". This recording has seen several reissues on CD, including Preiser 90356

Reger: Gavotte in E Major, op. 82 no. 5. HMV E.G.6122

Reger: Humoreske in C Major, op. 20 no. 4. HMV E.G.6122

Scriabin: Etudes, op. 8 — no. 12 in D-Sharp Minor. HMV E.G. 6224

Scriabin: Nocturnes, op. 5 — nos. 1 in F-Sharp Minor and 2 in A Major. HMV E.G.6297

Scriabin: Waltz in F Minor, op. 1. HMV E.G.6224

LP

Beethoven: Bagatelles, op. 33 — nos. 3 in F Major, 4 in A Major. Melodiya 10 46829 006

Beethoven: Bagatelles, op. 119 — no. 5 in C Minor. Melodiya 10 46829 006

Beethoven: Cello Sonatas (op. 5, op. 69, and op. 102 complete). With Joseph Schuster, cello. Vox VoxBox SVBX 58, 3 stereo 12” LPs

Beethoven: Fantasy in C Minor for Piano, Orchestra, and Chorus, op. 80 ("Choral Fantasy"). With Akademie Kammerchor and Vienna Symphony Orchestra under Clemens Krauss. Vox PL 6480 and 10,640. This recording has seen CD reissues on Tuxedo Music 1038 and Preiser 90553

Beethoven: Piano Concerto no. 1 in C Major, op. 15. With Vienna Pro Musica Orchestra under Hans Swarowsky. Originally mono; reissued as Vox STPL 513.070, fake stereo

Beethoven: Piano Concerto no. 2 in B-Flat Major, op. 19. With Stuttgart Pro Musica Orchestra under Walther Davisson. Vox PL 9570; reissued as Vox STPL 513.060, fake stereo

Beethoven: Piano Concerto no. 3 in C Minor, op. 37. With Stuttgart Pro Musica Orchestra under Walther Davisson. Vox PL 9570; reissued as Vox STPL 513.060, fake stereo. Also Orbis CX 20320, 10"

Beethoven: Piano Concerto no. 4 in G Major, op. 58. (1) With Bamberg Symphony Orchestra under Jonel Perlea. Vox PL 10,640 (2) With Austrian Symphony Orchestra under Karl Randolf. Remington R-199-72

Beethoven: Piano Concerto no. 5 in E-Flat Major, op. 73 ("Emperor"). With Vienna Pro Musica Orchestra under Heinrich Hollreiser. Vox GBY 11740

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas nos. 30 in E Major, op. 109; 31 in A-Flat Major, op 110; 32 in C Minor, op. 111. Vox PL 9900

Beethoven: Rondo in B-Flat Major, op. posth. With Vienna Pro Musica Orchestra under Hans Swarowsky. Originally mono; reissued as Vox STPL 513.070, fake stereo

Beethoven: Triple Concerto in C Major for Piano, Violin, Cello and Orchestra, op. 56. With Jacob Gimpel, violin; Joseph Schuster, cello; and Wurttembergisches Staatsorchester under Walther Davisson. Vox PL 11.660

Beethoven: Variations in D Major, op. 76 ("Turkish March"). Vox GBY 11740

Beethoven: Variations on "Bei Mannern welche Liebe fuhlen" from Mozart's "Die Zauberflote". With Joseph Schuster, cello. In Vox VoxBox SVBX 58, 3 12” stereo

Beethoven: Variations on "Ein Madchen oder Weibehen" from Mozart's "Die Zauberflote". With Joseph Schuster, cello. In Vox VoxBox SVBX 58, 3 12” stereo

Beethoven: Variations on "See the Conquering Hero Comes" from Handel's "Judas Maccabeus". With Joseph Schuster, cello. In Vox VoxBox SVBX 58, 3 12” stereo

Brahms: Piano Concerto no. 1 in D Minor, op. 15. With Vienna State Philharmonia under Hans Swarowsky. Vox PL 8000; also Vox GBY 12 180. An excerpt from this recording's first movement saw CD release on a Vox disc entitled "The Best of Brahms".

Brahms: Piano Concerto no. 2 in B-Flat Major, op. 83. With Pro Musica Orchestra, Stuttgart under Walther Davisson. Vox PL 9790

Brahms: Variations on a Theme of Paganini, op. 35. Vox PL 8850

Brahms: Violin Sonatas nos. 1 in G Major, op. 78; 2 in A Major, op. 100; and 3 in D Minor, op. 108. With Wolfgang Schneiderhan, violin. Deutsche Grammophon 18295 (1 and 2) and 18144 (3). At least one of the first two sonatas also appeared on late DG 78 RPM discs.

Chopin: Etudes, op. 25. Melodiya 10 46829 006

Dvořák: Piano Concerto in G Minor, op. 33. With Vienna Symphony Orchestra under Rudolf Moralt. Vox PL 7630

Grieg: Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 16. (1) 1944 radio broadcast with Vienna Philharmonic under Karl Bohm. Urania UR-RS 7-15 Also released pseudonymously as by Gerhard Stein with Berlin Symphony Orchestra under Karl List on Royale 1264 [http://www.geocities.com/elumpe/catalogue.htm] (2) With Pro Musica Symphony, Vienna under Heinrich Hollreiser. Vox PL 9000; also in Vox Box VBX 1

Haydn: Andante and Variations in F Minor, Hob. XVII no. 6. Melodiya 10 46829 006

Liszt: Grandes Etudes de Paganini — no. 6 in A Minor (after Caprice no. 24). Vox PL 8850

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto no. 2 in G Minor, op. 16. Vox

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto no. 3 in C Major, op. 26. With Southwest German Radio Orchestra, Baden-Baden under Michael Gielen. Vox PL 12.190; reissued as Vox (also Yorkshire) STPL 513.130, fake stereo

Rubinstein: Piano Concerto no. 4 in D Minor, op. 70. With Vienna State Philharmonia under Rudolf Moralt. Vox PL 7780

Schubert: Nocturne in E-Flat Major, op. 148. With Barchet Quartet. Vox PL 8970; also Dover HCR-5206, Parnass 70068

Schubert: Piano Quintet in A Major, op. 114 ("Trout"). With Rinhold Barchet, violin; Hermann Hirschfelder, viola; Helmut Reimann, violoncello; and Karl Heinz Krüger, double bass. Vox PL 8970; also Dover HCR-5206, Parnass 70068

Schubert: Piano Sonatas. These recordings have received a private issue on CD by Bearac Reissues.

*D. 157 in E Major. In Vox Box VBX-11

*D. 279 in C Major (1815). Vox PL 9620; also in Vox Box VBX-9

*D. 459 in E Major. Vox PL 9800; also in Vox Box VBX-11

*D. 537 in A Minor (op. 164). Vox PL 9130; also in Vox Box VBX-10

*D. 557 in A-Flat Major. In Vox Box VBX-11

*D. 566 in E Minor. In Vox Box VBX-11

*D. 568 in E-Flat Major (op. 122). Vox PL 8820; also in Vox Box VBX-10

*D. 575 in B Major (op. 147). In Vox Box VBX-9; also Dover HCR-5207

*D. 625 in F Minor. Vox PL 9800; also in Vox Box VBX-11

*D. 664 in A Major (op. 120). Vox PL 8590; also in Vox Box VBX-10

*D. 784 in A Minor (op. 143). Vox PL 8210; also in Vox Box VBX-9

*D. 840 in C Major ("Reliquie"; compl. Krenek). In Vox Box VBX-11

*D. 845 in A Minor (op. 42). Vox PL 9620; also in Vox Box VBX-9

*D. 850 in D Major (op. 53). Vox PL 8820; also in Vox Box VBX-10

*D. 894 in G Major (op. 78). Vox PL 8590; also in Vox Box VBX-10

*D. 958 in C Minor (op. posth.). In Vox Box VBX-9; also Dover HCR-5207

*D. 959 in A Major (op. posth.). Vox PL 9130; also in Vox Box VBX-10

*D. 960 in B-Flat Major (op. posth.). Vox PL 8210; also in Vox VBX-9

Schumann: Davidsbündlertänze, op. 6. Vox PL 8860

Schumann: Piano Sonata no. 3 in F Minor, op. 14 ("Concerto Without Orchestra"). Vox PL 8860

Schumann: Studies after Caprices by Paganini, op. 3. Vox PL 8850

Scriabin: Piano Concerto in F-Sharp Minor, op. 20. With Pro Musica Orchestra of Vienna under Hans Swarowsky. Vox PL 9200

Tchaikowsky: Piano Concerto no. 1 in B-Flat Minor, op. 23. With Pro Musica Symphony of Vienna under Heinrich Hollreiser. Vox PL 9000

Tchaikowsky: Piano Concerto no. 2 in G Minor, op. 44. With Pro Musica Symphony of Vienna under Heinrich Hollreiser. Vox PL 9200

Weber: Piano Concerti nos. 1 in C Major, op. 11 and 2 in E-Flat Major, op. 32. With Pro Musica Symphony of Vienna under Hans Swarowsky. Vox PL 8140

CD

Brahms: Intermezzi, op. 117. Vogue 672001

Brahms: Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, op. 24. Vogue 672001

Schmidt: Variations on a Theme of Beethoven for Piano, Left Hand and Orchestra. With Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Eugen Jochum. Tahra 382-385

Schubert: Piano Sonata D. 784 in A Minor (op. 143). Vogue 672001 (from a French radio broadcast, not part of the complete cycle, "supra")

Schumann: Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 54. With Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hermann Abendroth. Arlecchino 164; also Berlin Classics 0120.052

References

[http://www.juilliard.edu/asp/fsnew/faculty_details.php?FacultyId=17&School=College&Division=Music The Juilliard School] Bailey, Robert — faculty biography

[http://www.geocities.com/bearac_reissues/bearac_catalogue8.htm Bearac Reissues] Bearac reissues web site, accessed August 26, 2008

[http://composers21.com/compdocs/bielerh.htm The Living Composers Project] Bieler, Helmut — biographical sketch

[http://www.ccm-international.de/kuenstler/hedwig_bilgram_e.html Classic Concerts Management] Bilgram, Hedwig — biographical sketch

[http://hjem.get2net.dk/Brofeldt/Catalogue_s.htm Piano Music for the Left Hand Alone] Brofeldt, Hans, "Catalogue of composers who wrote for left hand", entry on Franz Schmidt

[http://hjem.get2net.dk/Brofeldt/Appendix_003_Protest.htm Piano Music for the Left Hand Alone, Appendix] Brofeldt, Hans, "Rearrangement of left-hand music for two hands"

Doctor, Jennifer Ruth, "The BBC and Ultra-modern Music, 1922-1936: Shaping a Nation's Tastes" (1999) - Cambridge University Press

[http://www.cliburn.org/index.php?page=second_1966 Van Cliburn Foundation] Archives for Second Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, September 26-October 9, 1966

[http://www.di-arezzo.co.uk/scores-of-Friedrich+Wuhrer.html di-arezzo] Scores by Friedrich Wührer

[http://home.mindspring.com/~hays2ries/biography.html Sorrel Hays home page] Hayes, Sorrel — biographical sketch

[http://www.cassandrarecords.com/en/artists/KHessenberg/autobiography.htm Cassandra Artists] Hessenberg, Kurt — "A Brief Autobiography"

Hinson, Maurice, "Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire" (2000) - Indiana University Press

[http://us.vdc.imdb.com/name/nm2751674/ Internet Movie database] Entry for "Wenn die Musik nicht wär"

[http://www.soundfountain.org/rem/remkarrer.html The Remington Site] Karer, Felicatas — biographical sketch

[http://www.americansymphony.org/dialogues_extensions/2000_01season/2001_03_30/Schmidt.cfm American Symphony Orchestra] Kirshnit, Frederick L., "Looking Forward, Looking Backward — Franz Schmidt: Concertante Variations on a Theme of Beethoven (1923)"

[http://www.geocities.com/elumpe/catalogue.htm Royale performances identification] Lumpe, Ernst A. — Catalogue of Royale records

[http://accompanist.org.au/gpa1/gpa1a/ The Accompanists’ Guild of SA Inc.] Parsons, Geoffrey — biographical sketch

[http://www.qeimc.be/en/i/211-Friedrich_WUHRER.html Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium] Archives — jury members

[http://www.soundfountain.org/rem/remvalen.html The Remington Site] Valenzi, Frieda — biographical sketch

[http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:gwxhT_-A0tgJ:www.schubertsocietyusa.org/SSUSA_NEWSLETTER_VOL_3_NO_1.PDF+friedrich+wuehrer&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=51&gl=us Schubert Society of the USA] "SSUSA Newsletter" Vol. 3 no. 1, 2005

[http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/nostalgia.html Sound Fountain] "Little Things Mean a Lot: Some Cherished 7” records"

[http://faculty.vassar.edu/riwilson/biography.html Vassar University] Wilson, Richard — biographical sketch


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