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Hansjorg Schellenberger on his Urtext edition of the Strauss’ Oboe Concerto

Hansjorg Schellenberger on his Urtext edition of the Strauss’ Oboe Concerto

Hansjoerg Schellenberger oboe

Please tell us about your new Urtext edition of the famous Strauss’ Concerto in D major for Oboe and Small Orchestra. How did you compile your research to make this edition?

The Oboe Concerto in D major by Richard Strauss has accompanied me my whole life. I have many stories and situations with it. In 1972, I won the German ARD Competition, at whose price-winners concert I played this work. After the performance, I got a letter from Ludwig Kusche (musicologist, composer, and friend of Richard Strauss). He wrote me that I played the movement too slow because Strauss had told him that he “intended to have composed an ‘andante’ in the sense of Mozart and not an ‘adagio’ in the sense of Beethoven (not slow).” This gives a lot of information on how to play the piece and how to make the tempi. The first and second movements are concerning one another, and the second movement should be played at half the tempo of the first movement.

Later I got a facsimile copy with the handwriting of Strauss from his daughter-in-law because I play the piece quite often, and it’s pretty prominent, especially in Munich — the Strauss Society is in Munich, and they just sent it to me; I didn’t even ask for it. And then, about five years ago, the director of the famous Henle Editions in Munich approached me to ask if I wanted to do a new edition. The copyright ended this last year in 2019, and now the editors can do some of their own editions. Of course, I was pleased to do that because Strauss’ Oboe Concerto is (for me) next to Mozart’s Oboe Concerto and is one of the most important pieces we have.

I travailed on this for five years as if I was working on a doctorate. I checked every single note in the handwriting and used a couple of different sources of the composition. One is the score that Strauss wrote right after the war. He finished the piece in September of 1945 in Garmisch, where he had his home. The fully instrumented score was completed in October 1945 in Zurich, Switzerland (it was played for the first time in Zurich in February of 1946). So I studied that, and I compared it to the Boosey & Hawkes printed edition (which is the only one we have). Then I could also get the handwritten material from the first performance in Zurich because they copied the score and parts from Strauss’ hand-written score. It was beneficial to have all of these sources. I corrected more than 200 mistakes, especially in the Boosey & Hawkes printed edition. I had a good feeling about the score from the first performance because Strauss was there, and he must have heard everything. So the score which I had from Zurich and the handwriting from Strauss gave me an excellent base. Now we have a fantastic and immaculate edition with a lot of comments. I think this is very relevant for the world of oboists. Learn more here.


Richard Strauss’ Oboe Concerto D major. Hansjörg Schellenberger (Editor).
Full Interview: “I Travailed on Strauss’ Oboe Concerto for Five Years as If I Was Working on a Doctorate”
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