Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Schoenberg, Piano Music and his 17 Fragments, Yoko Hiroto

The piano music of Arnold Schoenberg is foundational in conveying his ideas about pitch relations and clustering. It too is meant to be expressive and filled with timbral, sonaric explorations that allow a poetic selection, a making the piano sound in various ways. The liner notes to pianist Yoko Hiroto's Schoenberg Piano Music and His 17 Fragments (Navona NV6214) remind us, and most importantly so too do Ms. Hiroto's performances on the recording. If we should think in these terms now it is in part because Schoenberg's twelve-tone approach was after all not the change in music for all-time that some thought it was to become. And Schoenberg's music like all after him that explored dodecaphonic possibilities needs to be heard as music instead of science or advancement, like Ars Nova is no longer so much "nova" to us any longer, though it is certainly "ars."

So we have on this disk three series of Klavierstucke, the three of Op. 11, the five of Op. 23, and the two of Op. 33. Then the 17 Fragments, which show once again a miniaturist framework but also reveal Schoenberg working on ideas without necessarily thinking of their dissemination at that moment?

The fragments include some fascinating Brahmsian attempts and a chromatic insurgence as we might expect, with some contrapuntal writing, a full range and dynamics. There is the movement from one style-state to another as we know, but these details are new to me anyway and musically quite interesting. There is a surprising influence of Prokofiev in one fragment. All the fragments give us Schoenberg "thinking out loud" musically, pursuing possibilities that he does or does not make much use of in completed works. They add another dimension and supplement the three published collections of pieces we hear in this program. And we get a fuller picture of his surety along with his hesitation.

Yoko Hirota makes all of this music come alive with a sensitive sympathy and understanding. One must listen intently and more than once if this music is to get inside your understanding. And once you do that you appreciate the music itself and Ms. Hirota's way with all of it. The Fragments are a revelation and make the program especially attractive.

Happily recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment