Monday Musical Moment: Böhme Finale – A Lasting Legacy
Good morning and happy Monday!
Today, we close our series on cornetist and composer Oskar Böhme. This seven-part series was of great help to me by allowing me the opportunity to give concise information to you each week. Thank you to everyone for reading some or all of them! For the final part, we will discuss Böhme’s posthumous reputation.
Despite the circumstances of his tragic exile and death, and the many details of his life that were thought lost until late in the twentieth century, Böhme’s reputation in Russia never faded. The first source of important biographical information on Böhme was published in Sergey Bolotin’s important resource Biographical Dictionary of Musicians and Wind-Instrument Players and works like Böhme’s 24 Etudes and Concerto in F Minor remain standard material for trumpeters in Russia today.
Meanwhile, in the Western musical world, the growth of Böhme’s name and work was a slower process. Due to the repression of non-Soviets during the Stalinist, Böhme, along with many of his immigrant colleagues, fell into relative oblivion after World War II. During the 1970’s, musicologists Max Sommerhalder (Germany), Lars Naess (Norway), and Edward Tarr (U.S.) made landmark discoveries about Böhme’s life and career. As late as 2019, new research about Böhme is being brought to life. German journalist Christian Neef offered the largest collection of new information on Oskar Böhme in his 2019 book, “The Trumpeter from St. Petersburg.”
Although his 24 Etudes, Concerto, and Trompetten-Sextett are widely known today, many of Böhme’s pieces are unknown or still being discovered. My doctoral research is focused on Böhme as a composer, more specifically, the interpretation of his melodic style. If you are interested in hearing more, you are welcome to attend my lecture recital on Tuesday April 5th at the University of Houston!
The last piece by Böhme I will share with you is his Liebeslied, Op. 22, No. 2, or “Love Song,” performed by a colleague George Chase and his wife at the University of St. Thomas, right here in Houston. I hope you enjoy!
Have a great week!