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Webern: Variations, Op. 27; Wolpe: Form; Feldman: Piano; Palais de Mari / Aleck Karis, piano

Album Summary

>Wolpe, Stefan [Composer] : Form, for piano, C. 145
>Feldman, Morton : Piano
>Wolpe, Stefan [Composer] : Form IV
>Webern, Anton : Variations for piano, Op. 27
>Feldman, Morton : Palais de Marie, for piano
Performer Composers

Notes & Reviews:

In 1950, Morton Feldman met John Cage after a performance of Webern's Symphony. Feldman walked up to Cage and said, "Wasn't that beautiful?" Their mutual admiration for Webern began a life-long friendship. Feldman had been studying with Stefan Wolpe for five years. Feldman wrote: "... at eighteen I found myself with Stefan Wolpe. But all we did was arguing about music, and I felt I was learning nothing." Later in life Feldman acknowledged Wolpe's influence. Aleck Karis, longtime pianist for Speculum Musicae, plays a program of key works by this essential triumvirate.

American Record Guide, May/June 2014
Wolpe's Form (1959) acts as a prelude; the work's finely modulated gradations of dynamics and stratified levels of rhythmic activity constituted a unique, nervous lyricism that sets the stage nicely for the subtle exploration of gesture and register in the works to follow. Piano (1977) is the longest work on the record, at 23 minutes. While the piece makes abundant use of the gentle, reflective, luminous, and resonant approach that Feldman is known for. Wolpe's Form IV: Broken Sequences (1969) follows, reasserting a level of energy. The program ends with Palais de Mari (1986), Feldman's final composition for solo piano, coming in here at exactly 22 minutes. An exquisite work. A well-constructed program, nicely played and recorded.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Sommer Center Chapel, Concordia College, Bronxville, Ne (03/02/2013-03/04/2013).



Reviews

Connections and Contexts
Atonal music -- just like tonal music -- is all about the relationships between notes. This new recording by Aleck Karis is also about relationships. In this case, the one between three composers. Anton Webern, who distilled the essence of Schoenberg's dodecaphonic theories, taught Stephen Wolpe. Wolpe, in turn, taught Morton Feldman.

While the works presented on this album by these three men have the same overall sound, placed side-by-side one can hear the subtle differences between their compositional voices.

Webern's "variations, Op. 27" is almost epigrammatic; a concise and precise working out of 12-tone motifs. Wolpe's "Form" and "Form IV: Broken Sequences" are also short, but of a totally different character. There is an underlying lyricism in these works, which make them sound somehow warmer and less purely intellectual than Webern's work.

Morton Feldman's works are the longest in the program. "Piano" and "Palais de Mari" each run over 20 minutes. Feldman slowly and carefully builds his soundscapes. In context, one can hear how Felman's music grows out of the same theoretical basis as Webern's and Wolpe's. And one can hear how Feldman further shaped those theories to conform to his unique musical vision.

Aleck Karis performs admirably, bringing out the expressive qualities of each work. This album isn't for everyone. But if you're a fan of 20th Century music, I highly recommend this release.
Submitted on 01/17/14 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Wolpe, Stefan [Composer] : Form, for piano, C. 145
  • Performer: Aleck Karis (Piano)
  • Notes: Sommer Center Chapel, Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, NY, Unites States (03/02/2013-03/04/2013)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 05/1959

>Feldman, Morton : Piano
  • Performer: Aleck Karis (Piano)
  • Notes: Sommer Center Chapel, Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, NY, Unites States (03/02/2013-03/04/2013)
  • Running Time: 23 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1977

>Wolpe, Stefan [Composer] : Form IV :: Broken Sequences, for piano, C. 171
  • Performer: Aleck Karis (Piano)
  • Notes: Sommer Center Chapel, Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, NY, Unites States (03/02/2013-03/04/2013)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1969

>Webern, Anton : Variations for piano, Op. 27
  • Performer: Aleck Karis (Piano)
  • Notes: Sommer Center Chapel, Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, NY, Unites States (03/02/2013-03/04/2013)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Feldman, Morton : Palais de Marie, for piano
  • Performer: Aleck Karis (Piano)
  • Notes: Sommer Center Chapel, Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, NY, Unites States (03/02/2013-03/04/2013)
  • Running Time: 22 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1986