Hermann Schroeder (1904 - 1984): Introduction
Over the past year, I have become appreciably interested in the music of a lesser known German composer, Hermann Schroeder (1904 - 1984). While renowned in Germany, Schroeder is relatively unknown amongst composers in the United States. His most widely regarded pieces are Kleine Praeludien und Intermezzi Op. 9 (1932) (Six Short Preludes and Intermezzos) and the chorale prelude Schoenster Herr Jesu (1933) (Fairest Lord Jesus), both rather early works in his oeuvre.
Considering a repertoire of quality works, it is rather unfortunate that there is such a dirth of available recordings of Schroeder's music (organ or otherwise). Within the United States, there are only two commonly available recordings of his music on CD. Most other available recordings on CD available in the US are either as individual pieces on university recital recordings or as individual pieces amongst a variety of others on professional recordings (usually Schönster Herr Jesu in either case). In Europe, there are still only a smattering of good recordings featuring Hermann Schroeder's music exclusively. The Hermann Schroeder Gesellschaft (Hermann Schroeder Society) has a large library of recordings in their discography section, however many of these recordings are not available for purchase, and those that are available for purchase are not easily sent to the US from Germany.
The only available recordings that feature Schroeder exclusively and which are readily available for purchase in the US from major distributers are as follows:
Title: Hermann Schroder - In Memorarium
Artist: Brigitta Pohl & Soren Unde
Title: Hermann Schroeder - Organ Works
Artists: Hans-Andre Stamm, Thomas Blees, & Wolfgang G. Haas
I watch the amazon.de site regularly for rare Schroeder recordings to appear and I snatch them up as quickly as I can, but unfortunately overseas shipping is frequently unavailable.
While a few of Schroeder's works (as listed above) are set as standards in the budding organist's repertoire, there is simply an ignorance amongst organists in the US regarding many of Schroeder's other organ works of greater merit. Furthermore, there is almost a total lack of appreciation in the US for Schroeder's chamber and orchestral works. There are no recordings that I have found dedicated to this repertoire.
Due to a paucity of adequate recordings and performances, I believe Hermann Schroeder to be a rather neglected composer. Furthermore, Schroeder's merit as a composer and my sincere interest in his music have moved me to become his exponent.
I plan to present samples of Schroeder's works and style in three installments: organ works, chamber works, and orchestral works. Stay tuned to be introduced to a composer of whom you might have never heard, but who might pleasantly surprise you!