Another show with contemporary piano music reaching back to the beginnings of the 20th century and them up to the 21st century.

Charles Ives’ Sonata No. 1has its genesis in improvisation: upon leaving Yale in 1898, Ives moved into aflat in New York City with some of his fellow graduates. There was a piano, andIves spent many hours pounding out what his roommates referred to as”resident disturbances.” Ives stated that most of the Sonata waswritten in 1900-1904. The first movement is based on a lost Recital Piece forOrgan.  The second movementincorporates the “First Ragtime Dance” from Four Ragtime Dances, alsoknown as “In the Inn.” The fourth movement contains the last musicwritten for the sonata in 1911 and is derived from the 4th ragtimedance of Four Ragtime Dances for chamber orchestra, although Ives furtheroverhauled the fifth movement in 1914-1917 which originally was from the 4thof Set of Five Take-Offs and barrows from his Study No. 22.   The “finished”formal scheme would be 1) Adagio con moto, 2a) Allegro moderato-Andante, 2b)Meno mosso con moto (“In the Inn”), 3) Largo-Allegro, 4a) no tempogiven, 4b) Allegro-Presto, 5) Andante maestoso.   

 Für Alina written in 1976 byEstonian composer Arvo Pärt and was the first in his Tintinnabuli compositionalstyle which is a simple style characterized by two types of voice, the first ofwhich (dubbed the “tintinnabular voice”) arpeggiates the tonic triad,and the second of which moves diatonically (white keys) in stepwisemotion.   In this case bothvoices are in the treble clef with just a echo in the bass clef.  The tempo markings are “peacefully, inan elevated and introspective manner.” 

In the Mists is a piano songcycle written in by Leos Janáček in 1912.  All four parts ofthe cycle are anchored in “misty” keys with five or six flats; characteristicof the cycle are the frequent changes of meter.  The movement are marked I. Andante, II. Molto Adagio, III.Andantino. IV. Presto   The atmospheric nature of the cycle has been compared to impressionistworks, in particular the works of Claude Debussy.  Here is a performance by Paul Crossley in performance ofLeos Janacek’s.   In the Mistsfrom the album set Janacek: Chamber & Orchestral Works          

Marin Bresnick  Strange Devotion     One of the artist Franciscode Goya’s most enigmatic etchings in his famous series “CaprichosEnfaticos” or “Emphatic Caprices” is entitled “ExtranaDevocion”. The etching depicts a group of ordinary Spanish people as theykneel on the roadside to pray while a donkey pulls a bier with a corpse in astrangely see-through coffin through the street. The donkey’s mute yet somehowknowing expression seems to reveal both the sincerity and futility of thepeople’s unquestioning faith.    This image was Martin Bresnick’sinspiration for this piece.

Many consider his pianoSonata  among Charles T. Griffes’highest musical achievement. The Sonata for Piano has its roots in anunfinished work that Griffes undertook in the fall of 1917, not long aftercompleting his incidental music for the Celtic play The Kairn of Koridwen. Theunfinished piece was the torso of a Sonata for Piano that Griffes wasultimately to abandon in December of that year. At that point, Griffes decidedto start over from scratch, and happily completed the 15-minute sonata in justone month. Griffes himself gave the premiere of the Sonata for Piano at aconcert of his works held at the MacDowell Club in New York on February 26,1918. At this juncture the sonata was cast in a single movement only; however,during preparation of the work for publication, Griffes changed his mind anddivided the piece in three movements to be played without pause.   The Sonata for Piano isunique among Griffes’ output. Whereas his earlier music tended to rely on avariety of approaches ranging from German-styled post-Romanticism topseudo-oriental exotica, Griffes demonstrates a tough and single-mindedattitude in the Sonata for Piano. The sonata shares little if anything withstylistic traits exhibited in Griffes’ earlier works, and is cut from wholecloth that is free from exterior influences. Griffes’ Sonata for Piano isdramatic, even tempestuous, dynamic (much of it is played forte) and makesquite liberal use of dissonance, although that is not to say the sonata is inany way disorienting to listen to. Griffes adheres strongly to a predeterminedstrategy of key relationships, and exercises a masterly control over theoverall structure. Griffes does not digress, and his Sonata for Piano is ataut, highly disciplined, and compelling realization of his ideas.     Virgil Thomson once saidthat the sonata was “shockingly original.” Critical reception to thesonata was immediate and overwhelmingly positive, with pianist/composer RudolfGanz proclaiming it as “the finest abstract work in American pianoliterature.” The quality of the Griffes Sonata for Piano is attested to bythe fact that since its introduction in 1918 there have been relatively fewserious challenges to its status in this regard. The Griffes sonata has such”long legs,” in fact, that in 1941, upon receipt of a manuscript copyof this sonata, Griffes’ publisher G. Schirmer thought it a newly discoveredwork, and promptly signed a contract with the Griffes family to publish it.Only then did Schirmer realize that they’d already had it in their catalog for20 years.

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  • 7:02pm Default User by Live on
  • 7:05pm Charles Ives: Piano Sonata No. 1: I. Adagio con moto by Jeremy Denk on Jeremy Denk Plays Ives (Think Denk Media, 2010)
  • 7:13pm Charles Ives: Piano Sonata No. 1: IIa. Allegro moderato by Jeremy Denk on Jeremy Denk Plays Ives (Think Denk Media, 2010)
  • 7:15pm Charles Ives: Piano Sonata No. 1: IIb. Allegro by Jeremy Denk on Jeremy Denk Plays Ives (Think Denk Media, 2010)
  • 7:19pm Charles Ives: Piano Sonata No. 1: III. Largo-Allegro-Largo. by Jeremy Denk on Jeremy Denk Plays Ives (Think Jeremy Denk)
  • 7:25pm Charles Ives: Piano Sonata No. 1: IVa. (No tempo heading) by Jeremy Denk on Jeremy Denk Plays Ives (Think Denk Media, 2010)
  • 7:29pm Charles Ives: Piano Sonata No. 1: IVb. Allegro-Presto-Slow by Jeremy Denk on Jeremy Denk Plays Ives (Think Denk Media, 2010)
  • 7:29pm Charles Ives: Piano Sonata No. 1: V. Andante maestoso by Jeremy Denk on Jeremy Denk Plays Ives (Think Denk Media, 2010)
  • 7:42pm Arvo Pärt: Für Alina (1976) by Jeroen van Veen on Arvo Pärt: Für Anna Maria, Complete Piano Music (Brilliant Classics, 2013)
  • 8:06pm Janacek: In the Mists (V Mlhách): I. Andante by Paul Crossley on Janacek: Chamber & Orchestral Works (Decca, 2004)
  • 8:10pm Janacek: In the Mists (V Mlhách): II. Molto Adagio by Paul Crossley on Janacek: Chamber & Orchestral Works (Decca, 2004)
  • 8:14pm Janacek: In the Mists (V Mlhách): III. Andantino by Paul Crossley on Janacek: Chamber & Orchestral Works (Decca, 2004)
  • 8:17pm Janacek: In the Mists (V Mlhách): IV. Presto by Paul Crossley on Janacek: Chamber & Orchestral Works (Decca, 2004)
  • 8:22pm Bresnick: Strange Devotion by Lisa Moore on Bresnick: Prayers Remain Forever (Starkland, 2014)
  • 8:33pm Charles Tomlinson Griffes: Sonata by Denver Oldham on Charles Tomlinson Griffes: Collected Works for Piano (New World Records, 1981)
  • 8:51pm Zaimont: Nocturne by Christopher Atzinger on Zaimont: Sonata – A Calendar Set (Naxos , 2012)
  • 8:59pm Hindemith: Ludus Tonalis: I. Praeludium: Moderate – Arioso, Quiet – Slow – Solemn, Broad by John McCabe on Hindemith: Ludus Tonalis & Suite 1922 (Hyperion Records , 1996)
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