Erwin Schulhoff (1884-1942) - a brief history: examination of the sonata for violin and piano (WV91)
On March 15, 1939, Germany, also known as The Third Reich, invaded Czechoslovakia in what has historically been recognized as a precipitating event leading to the beginning of World War II. The Third Reich, as the aggressor, expanded its efforts from Germany to remove all Jewish People and Jewish influences from Europe. In order to accomplish this objective, the Third Reich built concentration camps as containment centers for the Jewish people. These containment camps were extermination centers with locations at: Treblinka, Belzec, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Wülzburg, Sobibor and other locations. Another of these containment centers was Theresienstadt, which was converted into a “model” camp designed to mislead the international community and organizations such as the Red Cross into believing that the Jewish people were receiving humane treatment. Ironically, the Third Reich allowed the arts to flourish in this camp. Jewish artists, poets and musicians were given the opportunity to continue their creative activity. But this was just a charade. In reality, Theresienstadt was a temporary location for people who were to be sent to other severe and inhumane extermination camps. Some of the most well known of the musicians and composers incarcerated in this camp were: Gideon Klein, Victor Ullman, and Pavel Haas. Ultimately, most of the inhabitants of Theresienstadt died of hunger and disease, or were killed in other camps. It should be noted that there were Czech musicians at other containment camps, in different countries who were victims of the Third Reich (Nazis) and whose music has been recently rediscovered. One of these musicians was Erwin Schulhoff who was interned in Wülzburg. Schulhoff was a great pianist, composer, conductor and writer who left almost 200 compositions in nearly every genre. The objective of this research paper is to describe Erwin Schulhoff’s life and compositional style based on the analyses of the Violin Sonata No. 2.