Josef Schelb (1894–1977) Concerto for English Horn and String Orchestra
edited by Albert Schelb [cor ang,orch]
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Josef Schelb (b. 1894 in Bad Krozingen) belongs to that generation of composers who had to cope with two world wars, severe recessions, and the fatal effects of the Third Reich. Schelb turned to impressionism, expressionism, dodecaphony, and atonality, without, however, firmly settling in any direction, but developing his distinctive personal style out of all this. He is a master of the polyphonic treatment of motives and themes. His Concerto for Englisch Horn and String Orchestra was composed in 1970 in Baden-Baden after he became acquainted with Helmut Koch, the solo English hornist of the former SWF Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden. The three-movement concerto interweaves tonality, dodecaphony, and polyphony in a fascinating and yet discreet manner. A late work of impressive cantabile and yearning poetry, it will quickly secure its place in the up-to-now slim English-horn repertoire.