Wilhelm Grosz's Jazzband performed by Daniel Herscovitch and Ole Bøhn in Sydney, August 2017.
|Date||7th August 2017|
In 1922 Grosz attended the first festival of modern chamber music at the Salzburg Festival – an event would eventually launch the International Society for Contemporary Music. The list of luminaries at that first meeting is a roll call of the most significant and the most neglected composers of the early 20th century – Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Weill, Eisler, Hindemith are the names all concert-goers know – alongside their respected contemporaries, names that have only emerged in the last 20 years: Ernst Toch, Karol Rathaus, Hans Gál, Egon Wellesz, Berthold Goldschmidt, Ernst Krenek, Dame Ethel Smyth (the only woman composer) and Wilhelm Grosz. It may have been at this meeting that Grosz assessed the many new directions of colleagues and friends, and made up his mind on the aesthetic direction of his music. That would be guided by two things: a love of rhythm, and a love of movement.
The year following this important event, 1923, Grosz completed Jazzband for violin and piano, in all likelihood the first jazz-inspired setting of music for the concert hall by an Austrian composer. The work explores rhythmic complexity, playfulness, and development, in a pyrotechnical display by both piano and violin.
© Joseph Toltz 2017