Eric Zeisl
Yarlung Records 16968-2

Antonio Lysy, cello
UCLA Philharmonia
Neal Stulberg, director
26 janvier 2012
Royce Hall, UCLA
Total Playing Time: 1:13:51
Kleine Symphonie nach Bildern der Roswitha Bitterlich (Little Symphony after Pictures of Roswitha Bitterlich) (1935-36)
  1. I. The Madman (Der Wahnsinnige) 5:41
  2. II. Poor Souls (Arme Seelen) 4:39
  3. III. The wake (Der Leichenschmaus) 2:47
  4. IV. Expulsion of the Saints (Die Vertreibung der Heiligen) 13:59
November : Six Sketches for Chamber Orchestra (1937-40)
  5. No. 1. All Souls 3:06
  6. No. 2. Souvenir 2:44
  7. No. 3. Rainy Day 2:14
  8. No. 4. Dance of the Fallen Leaves 1:38
  9. No. 5. Shepherd's Melody 3:17
10. No. 6. Victory of Winter 3:56
Concerto Grosso for Cello and Orchestra (1955-56)
11. I. Pesante Moderato 12:08
12. II. Scherzo 5:14
13. III. Theme and Variation 12:28


In 1935, Zeisl attended a wildly popular exhibition of art works by Roswitha Bitterlich, a fourteen-year-old Tyrolean girl. Struck by her singular visions, the young composer feverishly drafted what proved to be his only symphony. He later recalled, “The paintings, that is rather the ideas behind the paintings, provided such a stimulus that immediately after coming home from the exhibition I started out to set these ideas in music and completed the work … in 4 days.
Malcolm S. Cole
The Bitterlich painting on the cover of the album, "The Madman," is the image which inspired the first movement of Zeisl's symphony.

Alicja Bronowicki / Daily Bruin
UCLA Philharmonia sounds off to late composer Eric Zeisl in concert, to produce two CDs

Austrian composer Eric Zeisl's works will be performed by the UCLA Philharmonia in "Concerto Grosso," a three-movement concerto written to feature the cello.
Few have heard the music of Austrian composer Eric Zeisl. Many have probably never heard the name before. Zeisl had been sucked into the unknown and was neglected for more than 50 years because many of his compositions were never published or recorded.
In its first ever commercial recording, the UCLA Philharmonia will be performing a revival of Zeisl’s “Concerto Grosso,” a three-movement concerto, written to feature the cello.
After years of fundraising, researching and organizing, the UCLA Philharmonia is embarking on a multi-year process with Yarlung Records in order to produce two CDs containing Zeisl’s compositions, many of which have never been recorded or published.
“This evening is not a traditional concert. It’s an invitiation to our UCLA community to participate with us in a process. The performance is also a recording session for us. It’s an unusual kind of evening,” said Neal Stulberg, director of the Philharmonia.
“We are very excited because this is the first time that the UCLA Philharmonia has ever commercially recorded anything. … It’s not going to be just a vanity CD, it’s something that will have historic importance, (as well as) research and archive importance,” said Antonio Lysy, the recording’s cello soloist and UCLA cello professor.
According to retired UCLA musicologist and Zeisl’s biographer, Malcolm Cole, Zeisl was born in 1905 in Vienna and became a prominent composer.
However, because of the persecution of Jews by Nazis, he was forced to flee his homeland. He emigrated to Paris, New York and finally Los Angeles where he continued to compose and teach music. But because of his untimely death in 1959, much of his work had been unheard, even by Zeisl himself. The “Concerto Grosso” was a piece Zeisl never had the chance to hear.
Cole has spent years researching and editing much of his music, including the night’s performance piece.
The concerto was only played once at a Memorial Concert in 1959; the soloist was George Neikrug.
Lysy, who has also won a Latin Grammy, shares a special connection to “Concerto Grosso.” He will be playing the piece on the original cello played by Neikrug the night the “Concerto Grosso” was first premiered.
“Since Zeisl did not have the advantage of even hearing the piece rehearsed or performed, we are hoping to present it in a way that honors his spirit and the essence of the piece,” said Stulberg.
Cole said that the composer’s turbulent history has attributed to the stylistic qualities heard in the music he wrote. Each movement of the concerto expresses and memorializes the journey and life of the composer, who had narrowly escaped the Nazis and who had lost family during the Holocaust.
“Bringing a piece like this back to life involves a certain amount of detective work and also involves some judgment calls on the part of the performers,” Stulberg said. “In a case like this, the performers and editors work together to come up with solutions that will, in our opinion, bring the music across to the public in the most effective possible way.”
The night will also feature a discussion before the performance with Zeisl’s daughter Barbara and her husband, Ronald Schoenberg, who both have played a large role in bringing the event to life.
Many years of planning and organizing have been put into the event, and this night is just the spark of the flame, according to Cole.
“Here’s our first step. It is a tremendously important step in our journey,” he said.