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Gypsy Romance and Csardas

September 24, 2017: Paul Neubauer, viola; Arnaud Sussman, violin; Rafael Figueroa, cello; Michael Brown, piano

Hermann Schulenburg is known for contributing music to a number of German films in the 1930s and ’40s, and he was equally at home as a lyricist, though his work has languished in relative obscurity. It comes as something of a surprise then, that in 2015 his Gypsy Romance and Csárdás, which stems from his song “Puszta-Märchen: Es spielen heut’ nacht für mich die Zigeuner” (Fairy Tale of the Hungarian Plains: The Gypsies play for me tonight) reappeared in the 2015 docufiction The Dark Side about the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. The connecting link is violist Paul Neubauer, for whom Schulenburg’s piece had recently become of a signature encore piece. He recorded the piece for Music@Menlo, performed it in the film, and treats us to it here. The Gypsy Romance and Csárdás begins in the poignant improvisatory style related to the slow (lassù) section of many Hungarian dances before breaking into an exuberant fast (friss) section—a csárdás—for the blazing close.

© Jane Vial Jaffe

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