Karl Weigl: the glittering Viennese tradition


Karl Ignaz Weigl was born into an assimilated Jewish family in 1881 in Vienna. In 1938 he fled to New York, where he died ten years later. The composer and his music were ‘forgotten for a while’, which was not only due to the Nazis.

In 1938 Arnold Schönberg wrote: ‘I have always regarded Dr. Weigl as one of the best composers of the old school; one of those who continued the glittering Viennese tradition’. No one could have put it better.

The ‘glittering Viennese tradition’ is Weigl’s main trademark. To put it irreverently, his music may be seen as sort of a gateway. A kind of corridor that runs from a classical Beethoven via a soul-stirring Schubert and an underground erotic Zemlinsky to finally end up in Weigl’s calm waters, and from there it finds its way to our hearts.

Weigl is not a composer I have heard much of (no, it’s not my fault) and apart from his, by the way, wonderful songs and a few of his chamber music compositions, I did not know him very well. So this CD is more than welcome, especially because the musicianship is so incredibly good.

I am most charmed by the violinist David Frühwirth. His tone is very sweet, as sweet as a Viennese Sachertarte. You can hear it best in the very Schubertian piano trio, but make no mistake! Just listen to the allegro molto, the third movement of the second violin sonata from1937 and you discover the complexity of the ‘Wiener-sound’.

And I feel free to use another quote, this time from Pablo Casals: “His music will not be lost, after the storm we will return to it, one day we will return to those who wrote real music.” It has taken a while and we are still far away, but a beginning has been made.

Violin Sonata No.2, Two pieces for violin, Two pieces for cello, Piano Trio
David Frühwirth (violin), Benedict Kloeckner (cello), Florian Krumpöck (piano)
Capriccio C5318

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