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Max Schönherr (1903 - 1984)




































Marcel Prawy in the nineteen seventies.












Clemens Kraus conducting during a Graduation Ball.


























































































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If you start producing records in Vienna where you have a large supply of artists and orchestras at hand to perform the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn et al, sooner or later your microphones will be picking up the popular Viennese culture of the Strausses, Lanners and Ziehrers as well. In case of the Viennese born producer Marcel Prawy, it was sooner instead of later.

For Don Gabor the popular music from the second half of the 19th century was an important vehicle to advertise his new label and attract the large contingent of the listeners to the somewhat less serious music as well. Moreover there were the many Americans of European origin who certainly would buy the discs.


Indeed, Marcel Prawy started his association with Don Gabor's Remington Records Incorporated with recordings of The Strauss Dynasty as the early catalog tells. They were either produced by Prawy himself or could have been bought from the ORF (Austrian Public Broadcasting Organization) where there was a fine conductor in charge of the Vienna Radio Orchestra and he could be hired to conduct the Austrian Symphony Orchestra as well. His name was Max Schönherr.

Picture of Max Schönherr taken from the CD with the title Max Schönherr Remembered (Erinnerungen an Max Schönherr), issued by ORF with compositions of Max Schönherr conducted by the composer during radio broadcasts.

Schönherr was a versatile musician who was interested in performing the serious works and those of the lighter side. He was a conductor, orchestrator, composer and musicologist. The divergence of interest prevented him to concentrate on one style or one single occupation.

First he studied with his father, then was a pupil at the Graz Conservatory and played bass in the orchestra of the Graz Opera of which he eventually became music director. The next post was conductor of the Wiener Volksoper, the Vienna Broadcasting Orchestra and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. During World War II he continued conducting the Radio Orchestra. His popularity gave him indemnity and in that position he was able to help many who had to fear discrimating actions by the Nazi regime.

Max Schönherr Franz von Suppé Banditenstreiche - The Jolly Robbers - Imperial 014035Max Schönherr recorded extensively in the shellac 78 RPM era for the Austrian Viennola and German Imperial labels. From 1941 is the disc with the Overture to Banditenstreiche (The Jolly Robbers) composed by Franz von Suppé - Imperial 014035.

After the war Max Schönherr was asked to form a new radio orchestra. He also was asked to write the Bundeshymne, the new Austrian national hymn on a melody of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. See Schönherr's biography at the AEOI website where you can listen to the beginning of the Austrian National Anthem.

Already in 1952 he received the title of 'professor', was awarded the Joseph Marx Price (Joseph-Marx-Preis) in 1954, and wrote a dissertation about Carl Michael Ziehrer to receive a doctorate rather late in life, in 1973. Max Schönherr was born in Marburg on November 23, 1903. He died in Baden (near Vienna) on December 13, 1984.

It was Andrew Lamb who published a book on Schönherr under the title "Light Music From Austria - Reminiscences and Writings of Max Schönherr", Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York, 1992 - a bilingual publication (English - German).

The book not only deals with Schönherr's biography and artistry embedded in the Viennese music scene, but it cites extensive recollections told by Schönherr to Lamb. About the recordings that appeared on the Remington label, Andrew Lamb says:

"The second major prong of Schönherr's recording output of the early-1950s was on the Remington label. Items included an excellent Lehár coupling of the overtures to Wiener Frauen and Das Land des Lächelns performed by what was described as the "Austrian Symphony Orchestra". (This was presumably the Niederösterreichisches Tonkünstler Orchestra.) These recordings also venture away from the Viennese field with such items as the Delibes ballet suites, Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann (with Paul Schöffler singing 'Scintille, Diamant') and, perhaps most intriguingly, a selection of Jerome Kern melodies.
The Remington label also presented various operetta recordings produced by Marcel Prawy. These included excerpts from Die Fledermaus and Der Zigeunerbaron under Schönherr. However, these have little to offer in face of the various subsequent LP recordings of these works. More interesting are recordings of Ein Walzertraum and Der Letzte Walzer recorded in October 1952 and described as "conducted by the composer". These were, in fact, conducted by Schönherr with Strauss, then turned eighty, sitting in an arm-chair expressing his approval!" - Andrew Lamb

'Rêve de valse' (Ein Walzertraum, Dreamwaltz) by Oscar Srauss, released in France on Counterpoint CMC 120.001, the composer conducting the 'Tonkünstlerorchester', listed in 1955.
Oscar Strauss conducts A Waltzdream - French Counterpoint CMC 120.001 - Georg Oeggl (baritone), Karl Wagner (tenor), Martha Rohs (contralto), Rudolf Christ (tenor), Gerhard Engel (baritone), Margit Opawsky (soprano), and Franz Boeheim (tenor)
The actual conductor in this recording is not Oscar Strauss who was already very old, yet was very satisfied with the way Max Schönherr was conducting. This recording was issued in the USA on Period RL 1903. In Lamb's book the orchestra is listed as Vienna Light Opera Company Orchestra.
Recordings of Max Schönherr on the Remington label:

RLP-149-1 - Johann Strauss Jr. - Overture to The Bat (Die Fledermaus) conducted by Max Schönherr, coupled with "Dancing Vienna" conducted by Robert Stolz.

RLP-149-3 - Johann Strauss - The Blue Danube, and Emmerich Kalman - Gypsy Princess performed by the Vienna Radio Orchestra of which Max Schönherr was the director.

RLP 149-7 - Johann Strauss II - The Gypsy Baron conducted by Robert Stolz. Emil Waldteufel - Estudianta. The Vienna Symphonette (whatever that may be - probably the Vienna Radio Orchestra) under Schönherr.

NOTE Sometime later other recordings of the Viennese repertoire were released with Clemens Kraus conducting Strauss waltzes (RLP 149-26) and a program of Famous Polkas and Waltzes (R-149-27), apparently also listed as Famous Operetta Marches, conducted by Kurt Wöss.

RLP-149-34 - Victor Herbert - Operetta Highlights performed by the Vienna Radio Orchestra (possibly conducted by Max Schönherr), coupled with "Strauss Polkas", conducted by Kurt Wöss.

RLP-149-38 features the Vienna Radio Orchestra playing Strauss Waltzes (possibly with Max Schönherr as conductor).

RLP-149-39 - Jacques Offenbach - Tales of Hoffman (excerpts) with baritone Paul Schöffler. Coupled with Famous Ballet Music, Max Schönherr conducting the Austrian Symphony Orchestra.

RLP-149-40 - Franz Lehár - The Land of Smiles (Overture) and Viennese Women (Overture). The Austrian Symphony Orchestra, Max Schönherr.

Remington R-149-45
An early release of Music from The Ballet
conducted by Max Schönherr, coupled with Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol conducted by Ernst Mehlich.

RLP-149-45 - Music of The Balet - Delibes - Cortège de Bacchus, Pizzicato from Sylvia, Naila Valse. Coupled with Capriccio Espoagnol - Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (conducted by Ernst Mehlich).

Remington R-199-47
Christina Carroll sings Jerome Kern Favorites RLP-149-46 - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Yesterdays, They'll Never Believe Me, The Last Time I saw Paris, All The Things You Are. The Austrian Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Max Schònherr, alternated with a few selections played by Fred Clement and His Orchestra.
Christina Carroll sings Jerome Kern

RLP-149-46 - Jerome Kern Melodies - Christina Carroll, the Austrian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Max Schönherr, and Fred Clement And His Band: Smoke gets in Your Eyes;Why Was I Born; They'll Never Believe Me; Just the Way You Look Tonight; Yesterday; The Song is You; The Last Time I Saw Paris; Who; All the Things You Are.

R-199-41 - Johann Strauss: Die Fledermaus - The Bat (Highlights)
Artists of the Vienna State Opera - Emmy Funk (Soprano); Ruthilde Boesch (Soprano); Rosette Anday (Contralto); Hugo-Meyer Wolfing (Tenor); Georg Oeggl (Bass) - Austrian Symphony Orchestra - Max Schönherr, Conductor.

The Remington disc mentions the Austrian Symphony as the orchestra, but Amazon tells that it is the Wiener Chorvereinigung (Vienna Chorus Society) and the Wiener Unterhaltungsorchester (Entertainment Orchestra) conducted by Max Schönherr.


Remington R-199-47
Strauss Gypsy Baron - Highlights
conducted by Max Schönherr, coupled with Overture to "The Marriage of Figaro" performed by the Austrian Symphony Orchestra, Robert Heger conducting. The record was released in June 1952.

RLP-199-47 - Johann Strauss The Gypsy Baron (Highlights) - coupled with Overture to "The Marriage of Figaro" performed by the Austrian Symphony Orchestra, Robert Heger conducting. The record was released in June 1952.

R-199-115 - Jacques Offenbach - Tales of Hoffman, Austrian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Max Schönherr. Coupled with selections of music by Sibelius, Rachmaninoff, Rodgers and Hammerstein. R-199-115 is in fact Twilight Concert No. 2.

R-199-129 - Otto Nicolai - Die Lustige Weiber von Windsor Overture.

R-199-150 - Edward Grieg - Peer Gynt Suite No. 2 (coupled with Suite No. 1, conduted by H. Arthur Brown.

Remington REP-3 45 RPM 7"
Overture Die Fledermaus (Johann Strauss) Dorfschwalben aus Oesterreich (Village Swallows from Austria) Waltz (Joseph Strauss) Prince Methusalem Overture (Johann Strauss)

Max Schönherr appeared on many other labels. First of course on the Viennola label on which other Remington-artists appeared as well. Then there are the Elite recordings, the Philips 78 RPM and Long Play discs.

One performance that keeps coming up is Scheherazade, Tales of 1001 Nights by Nicolai Rimskly-Korsakov, Max Schönherr conducting the Vienna Festival Orchestra. World Record Club released two different issues. The same recording appeared also on the Music Treasures of the World label.

Three releases of Schönherr's performance of Scheherazade (Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov). Two different covers of World Record Club T 12. The third is on the Music Treasures of the World Series, MT 18. The solo violinist is not mentioned.

On Music Treasures MT 20 Schönherr conducts Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Richard Strauss 'Till Eulenspiegel's merry Pranks' with the Vienna Festival Orchestra.

This disc also contains Peer Gynt Suites Nos. 1 and 2 with Anton Paulik conducting the Vienna Festival Orchestra.

Max Schönherr recorded for Amadeo, Philips and Decca as well. At right Decca LW 5126 from 1955 with an operetta recital by soprano Hilde Gueden and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Schönherr.

At left the cover of the well-known Decca SXL 6231 disc with Highlights from The Count of Luxemburg (Franz Lehár) with soprano Hilde Gueden and tenor Waldemar Kmentt.

Max Schönherr was born on 23 November 1903 and died 13 December 1984.

Research and text, Rudolf A Bruil.
Page first published on 20 October, 2013.



Copyright 1995-2013 by Rudolf A. Bruil