Peter Seivewright – piano
Alexander Zemlinsky [1871-1942)
4 Fantasies Op. 9 /1898
The Op. 9 is not Romantic. There is no quest, no yearning, no lonely, bittersweet love of things bucolic or any other such affect easily associated with the Germanic music of the period. The harmonic treatment and counterpoint is clearly Middle European from approximately 1900, but the feeling the Op. 9 produces is closer to the work being done in France by Debussy and Satie. It is not about catharsis and does not set up tensions in order to consummate them. Nor is it French music. Zemlinsky was on to something uniquely his own, something steeped in the geography of Vienna.
During this period, many great Viennese artists were seemingly more determined to carry on the Germanic artistic tradition than were the Germans. With Freud's discoveries in psychoanalysis making their city the cutting edge of psychoanalytic thought, Schoenberg and others would follow the interior journey of the "talking cure" because of its obvious place in the evolution of human thought. And they would drag the Romantic tradition along with them, inverting the Romantic quest from its travels in the world to the world of the psyche.
Paul Hindemith [1895-1963)
Sonata No3 /1961
Hindemith is among the most significant German composers of his time. His early works are in a late romantic idiom, and he later produced expressionist works, rather in the style of early Arnold Schoenberg, before developing a leaner, contrapuntally complex style in the 1920s. This style has been described as neoclassical, but is very different from the works by Igor Stravinsky labeled with that term, owing more to the contrapuntal language of Johann Sebastian Bach and Max Reger than the Classical clarity of Mozart
Arnold Schoenberg [1874-1951)
Six Little Piano Pieces Op. 19 /1911
Each of the six pieces is aphoristically short, and unique in character. Following the expressionist aesthetic, each piece can be understood to be a long composition condensed into a single brief miniature. Schoenberg regarded this style of writing as a necessary compositional reaction to the diminishing power of tonality and this compositional style would be a huge influence on Schoenberg's pupil, Anton Webern, whose works are well known for their brevity. The work is commonly described as atonal, or at least any resemblance to tonality is fleeting, but it predates Schoenberg's later dodecaphonic development. The six pieces do not carry individual names, but are often known by their tempo marking.
E.Wolfgang Komgold [1897-1957)
Piano Sonata No.3, Op. 25/1931
It hardly needs repeating that Erich Korngold was one of the most remarkable of all musical child prodigies. Yet it is still hard to credit that his First Piano Sonata is the product of an 11yearold‚ while the imposing Second Sonata was written when he was 13. It is no wonder that Mahler and Richard Strauss were full of wonder at the young Korngold’s talent. It isn’t just his natural gift as a tunesmith‚ but his firmness and maturity of style‚ control of form‚ harmonic ingenuity and distinctive voice that are astounding. The Third Sonata (192931) is a more refined and mature work‚ written two decades later.