Author Topic: Philipp Scharwenka (1847-1917): Catalogue, discography & biographical sketch  (Read 2762 times)

Mark Thomas

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4506
    • View Profile
    • Joachim Raff

Late in life, Scharwenka wrote an autobiographical sketch:

"I was born on 16th February 1847 in Samter, a small town in the province of Posen. My father was an architect. He came from a Czech family, which had moved from Bohemia to Brandenburg about 200 years ago. My mother was Polish. Both my parents were talented and art-loving and aspired - as Nietzsche put it - to plant their aspirations and love of art in their two children, that is in Xaver and myself. My father was a hard-working and sought-after architect with a special talent for drawing and water colours. The musical talent which slumbered in us brothers probably came from our mother, who was responsible for obtaining a piano and engaging the organist of the local Lutheran church as our piano teacher.

"Our general education was taken care of by private teachers and we soon achieved the required level to go to grammar school. My parents decided therefore in 1858 to move to Posen, the provincial capital, to enhance our general and musical education. Here in a larger town there was contact with the musicians who played in the orchestra as well as regular orchestral concerts. Gradually my brother and I decided to make music our chosen profession.

"Encouraged by the judgements of professional colleagues about the talents of both brothers, my parents decided to move to Berlin, since at that time there was no opportunity to study music in Posen. This move took place in the autumn of 1865. Now we were on the right track. We became students at the 'New Academy of Music' recently founded by Theodor Kullak and then at its peak. My brother, without neglecting his composition, dedicated himself to the piano under Kullaks's experienced direction. But I myself studied the piano privately and dedicated myself whole-heartedly to composition. My teachers were Richard Wuerst, known for his prize-winning symphony and for his opera The Star of Turan which was often given in Berlin at that time, and Court Music Director Heinrich Dorn. I have to thank both teachers for the fact that I was able to finish my studies in two and half years. Theodor Kullak retained me as theory teacher at his institution. In 1874 I appeared for the first time in a concert with larger-scale compositions, including an overture and a symphony.

"In 1880 my brother founded a new conservatory in Berlin (the Scharwenka Conservatory), as a result of which I gave up my post with Kullak and became head of the theory department in the new institution. In the same year I married the violinist Marianne Stresow who also taught at the new conservatory.

"I spent the season 1891/92 in New York at the request of my brother, who had moved there to found another conservatory. My compositions for orchestra, piano, violin and my songs were often performed there, many of them under the direction of Anton Seidl and Artur Nikisch who was then in charge of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. After my return from New York in July 1892 I took over the direction of the Berlin Conservatory together with the world-famous researcher and singing pedagogue Dr. Hugo Goldschmidt. My brother stayed in New York but returned seven years later to make his home in Berlin. After thirteen years' service Dr. Goldschmidt resigned his post in order to spend time on his research. Robert Robitschek, a talented former Dvorak pupil, took over and together we now direct the 'Klindworth-Scharwenka-Conservatory' which is the result of a merger with the Klindworth school, founded some years ago.

"During all this time I continually tried to keep up my composing. Amongst my works are a large number of songs, and piano pieces (some for didactic purposes); orchestral works include a four movement Serenade, and Arcadian Suite, a Festival Overture, the symphonic poems Spring Waves and Dream and Reality, a Symphony in D minor, a Dramatic Fantasy in three movements, a Violin Concerto, a Symphonia Brevis in E flat major and a number of smaller orchestral pieces like the two Fantasy Pieces (Spirits of the Woods and the Mountains and The Night of Love).

"Amongst my chamber pieces are: two piano trios, two violin sonatas, three string quartets, a piano quintet, a cello sonata, a trio for violin, viola and piano, a duo for violin and viola with piano accompaniment, a sonata for
viola and piano and several different sorts of pieces for violin and piano.

"I have composed two stage works: Sakuntala (a reworking of an earlier dramatic work) and Roland, an opera in four acts.

"In 1901 I was made a member of the Royal Academy of the Arts and composed at their request an ode To the King for the Emperor's birthday for soprano, choir, orchestra and organ on a text by Klopstock. In 1911 I was called to the senate."                         
Translation and text © Charles Medlam 1998

WoO - Overture [c.1874 - Lost?]
WoO - Symphony [c.1874 - Lost?]
Op.19 - Serenade for Orchestra (1877-1881)
Op.20 - 2 Polish Folk Dances for Orchestra (1877)
Op.37 - Forest & Mountain Spirits: Intermezzo for Orchestra (1881)**
Op.40 - Night of Love: Fantasy Piece for Orchestra (1882)*
Op.43 - Festival Overture for Orchestra (1883)
Op.76 - Arcadian Suite in B Major for Orchestra (1887)*
Op.87 - Spring Waves for Orchestra (1891)*
Op.92 - Dream & Reality for Orchestra (p.1894)
Op.95 - Violin Concerto in G major (1895)
Op.96 - Symphony in D minor (p.1895)
Op.108 - Dramatic Fantasy for Orchestra (1900)**
Op.115 - Symphonia brevis in E flat major for Orchestra 

Op.28 - 5 Songs (1878)
Op.35 - Dörpertanzweise for SATB choir and Piano (1880)
Op.44 - Autumn Holiday: Symphonic Poem for Soloists, Choir and Orchestra (1883)
WoO - Sakuntala: Dramatic Cantata (c.1884)
Op.62a - Die Lindenwirthin: Songs for Voice & Piano (1886)
Op.62b - 3 Lieder for Voice & Piano (1886)
Op.88 - 3 Lieder for Voice & Piano (p.1893)
Op.89 - Evening Festival in Venice: Soprano, choir, Harmonium & Piano (1893)
Op.90 - 2 Songs for Men's Choir a capella (1893)
Op.102a - 3 Songs for Middle Voice (p.1897)
Op.102b - 2 Songs
Op.111 - 4 Songs
Op.113 - To the King for SATB, Soprano and Organ (1901)
WoO - Opera in 4 acts: Roland (c.1915)
Op.119 - 3 Songs for Three-Part Female Choir (p.1915)

Op.22 - Cavatine for Cello and Piano (p.1877)
Op.24 - Menuett & Perpetuum Mobile for Violin & Piano (p.1878)
Op.26 - Piano Trio No.1 in F minor
Op.51 - Aria for Violin or Cello & Piano (p.1883)
Op.52a - Barcarolle in G Major for Violin & Piano
Op.52b - Polonaise in A minor for Violin & Piano
Op.98 - Elegie et Caprice Slave for Cello & Piano (p.1896)^
Op.99 - Suite for Violin & Piano (p.1896)
Op.100 - Piano Trio No.2 in C minor (1897)***  ^
Op.104 - 4 Concert Pieces for Violin & Piano (p.1898)
Op.105 - Piano Trio No.3 in A Major (1898)
Op.106 - Violin Sonata No.1 in G minor (p.1899)
Op.110 - Violin Sonata No.2 in B minor^
Op.112 - Piano Trio No.4 in G Major (1902)***
Op.114 - Violin Sonata No.3 in E minor (1904)
Op.116 - Cello Sonata in G minor***
Op.117 - String Quartet No.1 in D minor (1910)****
Op.118 - Piano Quintet in B minor (1910)****
Op.120 - String Quartet No.2 in D Major****
Op.121 - Piano Trio No.5 in E minor

Op.3 - Polish Dance for Piano
Op.6 - 3 Scènes de Dance for Piano (p.1875)
Op.10 - 2 Piano Pieces (p.1875)
Op.11 - Fantasy Piece for Piano (p.1875)
Op.12 - Introduction & Polonaise Pathétique for Piano (p.1875)
Op.13 - 2 Piano Pieces
Op.16 - 2 Nocturnes for Piano (p.1875)
Op.17 - 3 Concert Pieces for Piano (p.1877)
Op.18 – Miscellany:, 6 Piano Pieces  (p.1878)
Op.21 - Dance Suite for Piano 4-Hands (1877)
Op.23 - Wedding Music for Piano (1878)
Op.25 - Capriccio for Piano (p.1878)
Op.26 - 5 Fantasy Pieces for Piano (1878)
Op.27 – Album Leaves:5 Small Pieces for Piano (1878)
Op.29 - 3 Mazurkas for Piano (p.1879)
Op.30 - 2 Pieces for Piano 4-Hands: All 'Ongarese & Waltz (1879)
Op.31 - 3 Humoresques for Piano (p.1879)
Op.32 - In Bunter Reihe: 6 Pieces for Piano (1879)
Op.33 - Album polonaise for Piano (1879)
Op.34 - From Childhood: 10 Easy Piano Pieces (p.1881)
Op.36 - Mountain Journey: 12 Piano Pieces (p.1885)
Op.38 - Polish Dance Airs for Piano 4-Hands (1881 - orch.1882**)
Op.39 - 4 Bagatelles for Piano (p.1881)
Op.41 - 5 Piano Pieces
Op.42 - 4 Piano Pieces
Op.45 - Festklänge für die Jugend 8 Piano Pieces (p.1883)
Op.46 - 4 Moments Musicaux for Piano (p.1883)
Op.47 - Capriccio for Piano
Op.48 - 5 Intermezzi for Piano (1883)
Op.49 - 4 Improvisations for Piano (p.1885)
Op.50 - Scherzo in B minor for Piano (p.1883)
Op.53 - 4 Piano Pieces (p.1885)
Op.54 - Song and Dance Airs for Piano 4-Hands (1884)
Op.55 - Divertimenti: 10 Piano Pieces (p.1884)
Op.56 - 3 Pieces for Piano 4-hands (p.1884)
Op.57 - Stimmungsbilder: 6 Pieces for Piano 4-hands (1885)^^
Op.58 - For Examination: 9 Easy & Middling Difficult Piano Pieces
Op.59 - Autumn Pictures: 6 Piano Pieces for Piano 4-hands (1885)^^
Op.60 - 6 Pieces from the writings of Heinrich Heine for Piano (p.1885)
Op.61 - 3 Piano Sonatas: A Major, F# minor & G minor (1886)
Op.63 - Lost Leaves: 5 Piano Pieces (p.1886)
Op.64 - Children's Games I: 8 Easy Piano Pieces (p.1887)
Op.65 - 5 Romantic Episodes for Piano (1886)
Op.66 - 3 Dance Caprices for Piano
Op.67 - 6 Piano Pieces
Op.68 - Children's Games II: 8 Easy Piano Pieces (p.1886)
Op.69 - 6 Small-Scale Tone-Pictures for Piano (1887)
Op.70a - 2 Ländler for Piano
Op.70b - Menuett, Mazurka, & Waltz for Piano
Op.71 - Für die Jugend for Piano (p.1887)
Op.72 - Aus Vergangenen Tagen: 5 Fantasy Pieces for Piano (p.1887)
Op.73 - 5 Impromptus for Piano
Op.74 - 2 Elegiac Songs for Piano (p.1887)
Op.75 - 5 Dance Scenes for Piano 4-Hands (1887)
Op.77 - 4 Piano Pieces (p.1887)
Op.78 - Suite de Danses caractéristiques for Piano (p.1888)
Op.79 - 8 Examination Pieces for Piano (p.1888)
Op.80 - 6 Examination Pieces  in Lighter Style for Piano
Op.81 - 7 Piano Pieces
Op.82 - Lyric Episodes: 6 Piano Pieces
Op.83 - 5 Piano Pieces (p.1890)
Op.84 - Sketches: 5 Piano Pieces
Op.85 - 2 Rhapsodies for Piano (c.1890)
Op.86 - 2 Dance-Impromptus for Piano (c.1890)
Op.91 - 3 Scherzi for Piano 4-Hands (p.1893)
Op.93 - 4 Mazurkas for Piano (p.1895)
Op.94a - Ballade for Piano
Op.94b - Night Piece for Piano
Op.97 - 4 Piano Pieces (p.1896)
Op.101 - 5 Piano Pieces (p.1897)
Op.103 - Tanz-Novelle 5 Dance Poems for Piano 4-Hands (p.1898)
Op.107 - Abendstimmungen: 6 Piano Pieces (p.1899) ^(nos.1-3)
Op.109 - Homeland: 5 Fantasy Dances in Polish Style for Piano 4-hands (p.1900)

Opp.1, 2, 4, 5, 7-9, 14 & 15.

* Sterling CDS 1071
** Sterling CDS 1079
*** MDG 303 0532
**** MDG 336 0889
^ Olympia OCD 655
^^ Koch Schwann 3-1575

Any additions and/or corrections will be most welcome.


  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 42
    • View Profile
My tiny contribution:

Op.119 - 3 Gesänge for Three-Part Female Choir
  • Heiliges Lied
  • Die Wasserfahrt
  • Weihnacht

Information courtesy of Hofmeister's Handbuch der musikalischen Literatur (1915). No luck finding any of the others.


Mark Thomas

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4506
    • View Profile
    • Joachim Raff
Thanks very much. I've added op.119 to the catalogue.


  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 384
    • View Profile
Only one comment:
 The Fest-Ouverture is in time Allegro con fuoco And was dedicated to Philipp Rufer


  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8010
    • View Profile
According to HMB and Worldcat, Op.10 is for violin and piano, "Romanze und Scherzo : für die Violine mit Begleitung des Pianoforte" to use the Worldcat description; published by Praeger & Meier. See 1875 HMB (RHUL OCR). A cello and piano arrangement was published soon after, not surprisingly. Republished by them in 1893, also according to HMB.

The two piano pieces of Op.13, published 1875, are a Humoreske in Tanzform and a Mazurka. (
"A cat, as I keep on saying, is also a cat for a' that..." - from Natsume Sōseki's Wagahai wa Neko de Aru (I Am a Cat, part 2 chapter 1)

Martin Eastick

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 190
    • View Profile
I know it's a bit late, but there are a couple of corrections that I can suggest that perhaps I should have noticed sooner - this post was prompted by a relatively new CD by the Hugo Kauder Trio which includes an arrangement of the Op121 Piano Trio with the violin being replaced with an oboe!
(1) The Sonata listed as Op106 is in fact for viola and piano.
(2) The Olympia recording claims to include a performance of the violin sonata in B minor Op110 (as recorded on LP by Robert Zimansky for Genesis) - however the actual work recorded is the E minor sonata  Op114! I did at the time of release query this with Paul Barritt, and was given to understand that the details would be amended in any future re-pressings etc., and we also talked about a volume 2 which unfortunately, as we now know, never happened! Perhaps this recording could be re-released and a second instalment added later! (with some more of the as yet unrecorded chamber music and book 2 of Abendstimmungen Op107! - I will be pleased to help with copies of scores....)


  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 384
    • View Profile
Dear Martin. Have You complete the piano score of Abendstimmungen? I searched in last years but I hadn't sucess :'(


  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 849
    • View Profile

Just being picky, but isn't the correct spelling of his name Philipp (with one "l" and two "p"s)? It does make a difference when searching for recordings. Oddly, one CD does turn up on Amazon with your spelling. But many more turn up with the other spelling.


"Life without music is a mistake." Nietzsche

Alan Howe

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9719
    • View Profile
That's actually very helpful - thanks. I've corrected the thread headings throughout.