A new CD has been issued by Romantic Discoveries Recordings:
Total time: 76 minutes 54 seconds
Franz von Holstein (1826-78): Piano Sonata in C minor, op. 28
1. Allegro con brio, un poco maestoso (9’58”) 2. Andante (7’35”) 3. Allegro appassionato (8’43”)
Otto Klauwell (1851-1917): Drei Stücke in Kanonform, op. 38:
4. Praeludium (2’43”) 5. Scherzo (1’13”) 6. Romanze (2’30”)
7. Variations in D minor, op. 22 (10’36”)
Hans Seeling (1828-62):
8. Impromptu, op. 8 no. 1 (1’42”) 9. Romance, op. 8 no. 2 (6’18”)
Wilhelm Speidel (1826-99): Suite (quasi Sonata), op.111:
10. Praeludium (2’24”) 11. Andante espressivo (3’03”) 12. Scherzo (3’27”) 13. Marcia funebre (9’41”) 14. Finale (6’30”)
Our thanks to Klaus Zehnder-Tischendorf for supplying scores of these rare works.
Franz von Holstein was destined for an army career at the insistence of his father, but during his officer training he composed the opera ‘Zwei Nächte in Venedig’ as well as songs and ballads, and for a time, encouraged by his friendship with Griepenkerl, continued to compose in the free time allowed by his military duties. By 1853 he was free to pursue a musical career, and came to Leipzig where he studied with Moritz Hauptmann and, as a pianist, with Plaidy and Ignaz Moscheles. He then lived for a time in Rome, Berlin and Paris before becoming manager of the Leipzig Bach-Gesellschaft. Although chiefly known as a composer of songs, he was also responsible for several operas, orchestral works and chamber music, and wrote a significant amount of poetry. During his last six years he suffered with stomach cancer, and it was his wish that a bequest should establish a fund for impecunious musicians at the Leipzig Conservatoire. His Piano Sonata is a major composition of some ambition and achievement, with a clear influence of Schumann and Brahms evident.
Wilhelm Speidel is best remembered today as founder of the Stuttgart Music School. His father was a singer and composer and it was by him that his early musical talent was first nurtured. At Munich, he became a composition pupil of Ignaz Lachner and studied piano with Christian Wanner. After spending 1846-7 as a private teacher in Alsace, he returned to Munich, where he taught, also undertaking a tour throughout Germany as a pianist. He was known as an interpreter of Beethoven, who is also a major influence on his compositions. At Ulm, he founded and conducted the Liedertafel, and became active as a choral conductor. In 1857 he moved to Stuttgart where, together with Lebert, Stark, Faisst and others the Stuttgart Music School, today the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart. Here he taught and conducted the Stuttgart Liederkranz; his pupils included the American composer Edgar Stillman Kelley. However, after a quarrel with Lebert in 1874 he resigned his post and started his own conservatoire. He accepted reinstatement at the Music School upon Lebert’s death in 1885. Speidel composed in almost every form and was chiefly known in his lifetime as a composer of songs and choral music, adopting the popular idioms of German folk song.
Hans Seeling was born and studied in Prague, and suffered from delicate health from an early age. In 1852 he made his first public appearance as a pianist, in Italy, and then toured the Orient in 1856, followed by concerts in Germany. In 1859 he came to Paris. The lung condition from which he was suffering worsened and he returned to his native town, where he died. Seeling’s youth means that his compositions, all of which are for piano, are relatively few in number, but merited comparison with Chopin and Henselt in his time.