2. Konzert für Klavier und Orchesterby Hans Werner Henze

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  • 2. Konzert fr Klavier und Orchester by Hans Werner HenzeReview by: Richard SwiftNotes, Second Series, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Dec., 1971), pp. 306-307Published by: Music Library AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/940408 .Accessed: 14/06/2014 20:54

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  • London Symphony Orchestra under Colin Davis, 27 February 1966; the soloist was Barry Tuckwell, to whom the work is dedicated.

    With its eight short movements con- nected without pause, the Concerto con- veys a fantasia-like impression rather than one of a full-fledged concerto. The textures are preponderantly homophonic though serialized; there are few passages that could pass for counterpoint. Typical har- monies superimpose perfect and aug- mented fourths, and the melodic material is especially rich in tritones and seconds and sevenths, both minor and major.

    While writing a virtuoso piece, the com- poser makes no really unusual demands upon soloist or orchestra. The instrumen- tation specified is substantial: winds in threes (including the orchestral horns, providing an opportunity for the regular first horn to play the solo), plus tuba, harp, and piano/celesta, with the usual strings and percussion.

    One would hesitate to call this an in- gratiating work, and it does not abound in conventional kinds of horn writing. But it does provide a good deal of variety, and some moments of genuine drama.

    A few notational oversights: m. 34, first flute and glockenspiel should probably play E-flats; m. 261, solo horn should con- tinue the half-tone trill C-Db; m. 383, solo horn should have treble clef.

    HALSEY STEVENS

    University of Southern California

    Hans Werner Henze: 2. Konzert fur Klavier und Orchester. [3333; 4221; timp.; perc.; hrp.; str.; solo pno.] Mainz: B. Schott's S6hne; U.S.A.: Belwin-Mills Publishing Co., Rockville Center, N. Y., 1969. [Study score, 180 p., $12.00]

    At the time of the world premiere of his Second Concerto in 1968, Henze wrote: "unnecessary are museums, opera houses, and world premieres... Necessary, the creation of mankind's greatest work of art: the World Revolution." As is too often the case with Marxist polemic about the arts, it is difficult to see much relationship between Henze's party-line statement and the composition receiving its world pre-

    London Symphony Orchestra under Colin Davis, 27 February 1966; the soloist was Barry Tuckwell, to whom the work is dedicated.

    With its eight short movements con- nected without pause, the Concerto con- veys a fantasia-like impression rather than one of a full-fledged concerto. The textures are preponderantly homophonic though serialized; there are few passages that could pass for counterpoint. Typical har- monies superimpose perfect and aug- mented fourths, and the melodic material is especially rich in tritones and seconds and sevenths, both minor and major.

    While writing a virtuoso piece, the com- poser makes no really unusual demands upon soloist or orchestra. The instrumen- tation specified is substantial: winds in threes (including the orchestral horns, providing an opportunity for the regular first horn to play the solo), plus tuba, harp, and piano/celesta, with the usual strings and percussion.

    One would hesitate to call this an in- gratiating work, and it does not abound in conventional kinds of horn writing. But it does provide a good deal of variety, and some moments of genuine drama.

    A few notational oversights: m. 34, first flute and glockenspiel should probably play E-flats; m. 261, solo horn should con- tinue the half-tone trill C-Db; m. 383, solo horn should have treble clef.

    HALSEY STEVENS

    University of Southern California

    Hans Werner Henze: 2. Konzert fur Klavier und Orchester. [3333; 4221; timp.; perc.; hrp.; str.; solo pno.] Mainz: B. Schott's S6hne; U.S.A.: Belwin-Mills Publishing Co., Rockville Center, N. Y., 1969. [Study score, 180 p., $12.00]

    At the time of the world premiere of his Second Concerto in 1968, Henze wrote: "unnecessary are museums, opera houses, and world premieres... Necessary, the creation of mankind's greatest work of art: the World Revolution." As is too often the case with Marxist polemic about the arts, it is difficult to see much relationship between Henze's party-line statement and the composition receiving its world pre-

    mitre; such a statement by a composer who cannot be said to eschew publicity, first performances, recordings, or publica- tions of scores should be accounted, per- haps, as amusing.

    When such statements are made about music, we usually expect a mauvais quart d' heure of undigestible plastic "worker's songs," much in the way of big tunes on the strings, pseudo-martial brass, and a few wrong notes. However, the Second Concerto is a gigantic post-romantic ma- chine lubricated by its obvious indebted- ness to Berg, Stravinsky, and the Bart6k of the twenties. Although devoid of "work- er's songs," its uninhibited rhetorical ges- tures are put together with heartlessly glossy instrumental sonorities, perhaps in- tended to obscure the essential structural simplicity of the work. In these moment- to-moment seductive sounds it is difficult to discern anything specifically populist.

    The forty-five minute Concerto is di- vided into three large, interconnected movements played without pause. The first movement begins moderato with an or- chestral cluster that expands from the initial half-step, E-F. As this fades away, the solo piano begins a gradually expand- ing statement whose wide-ranging melodic lines strongly emphasize the minor second and tritone. Slowly, the melodic material accelerates in motion-from eighths to six- teenths-reaching a cadence that empha- sizes three pairs of fifths: Eb-Bb, A-E-B. Here the solo instrument pauses while the orchestra meditates on the material. The piano solo resumes in quasi-palindromatic fashion, with pitches transposed down a fourth and with rhythms sometimes al- tered. Gradually the rapidity of movement decelerates to the eighths of the beginning. The piano's penultimate phrase, indeed, returns to the actual pitches of its open- ing, in reverse order (mm. 7-12 and 205- 11). A return to the opening orchestral statement, here transposed to B-C over a G pedal, concludes the movement.

    The second movement, Vivace, is a mo- toric and excitable scherzo. The opening orchestral statement has a strong bass movement G-Ft-A, and concludes with a cadenza by the piano. This settles down into a rapid ostinato figuration using G- F$-A as essential pitches. After a number of contrasting episodes and three cadenzas,

    mitre; such a statement by a composer who cannot be said to eschew publicity, first performances, recordings, or publica- tions of scores should be accounted, per- haps, as amusing.

    When such statements are made about music, we usually expect a mauvais quart d' heure of undigestible plastic "worker's songs," much in the way of big tunes on the strings, pseudo-martial brass, and a few wrong notes. However, the Second Concerto is a gigantic post-romantic ma- chine lubricated by its obvious indebted- ness to Berg, Stravinsky, and the Bart6k of the twenties. Although devoid of "work- er's songs," its uninhibited rhetorical ges- tures are put together with heartlessly glossy instrumental sonorities, perhaps in- tended to obscure the essential structural simplicity of the work. In these moment- to-moment seductive sounds it is difficult to discern anything specifically populist.

    The forty-five minute Concerto is di- vided into three large, interconnected movements played without pause. The first movement begins moderato with an or- chestral cluster that expands from the initial half-step, E-F. As this fades away, the solo piano begins a gradually expand- ing statement whose wide-ranging melodic lines strongly emphasize the minor second and tritone. Slowly, the melodic material accelerates in motion-from eighths to six- teenths-reaching a cadence that empha- sizes three pairs of fifths: Eb-Bb, A-E-B. Here the solo instrument pauses while the orchestra meditates on the material. The piano solo resumes in quasi-palindromatic fashion, with pitches transposed down a fourth and with rhythms sometimes al- tered. Gradually the rapidity of movement decelerates to the eighths of the beginning. The piano's penultimate phrase, indeed, returns to the actual pitches of its open- ing, in reverse order (mm. 7-12 and 205- 11). A return to the opening orchestral statement, here transposed to B-C over a G pedal, concludes the movement.

    The second movement, Vivace, is a mo- toric and excitable scherzo. The opening orchestral statement has a strong bass movement G-Ft-A, and concludes with a cadenza by the piano. This settles down into a rapid ostinato figuration using G- F$-A as essential pitches. After a number of contrasting episodes and three cadenzas,

    306 306

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  • the opening returns over G-A, this time to reach a final, quiet cadence on F$.

    The last movement begins immediately with the prominent minor seconds and other melodic material from the opening movement. A long cadenza intervenes which is followed by a broad, passionate section extending the chief melodic ma- terials, and moves slowly toward the con- clusion (again over F#).

    The first two movements, for all their simplicity, are the most convincing. The final movement falls apart under its bur- den of expansive rhetoric. The bulky score is handsomely printed, but there are a number of misprints and errata that should be corrected in future editions.

    RICHARD SWIFT University of California at Davis

    Pal Jardanyi: Concertino per violino e orchestra d'archi (1964). Budapest: Editio Musica Budapest; U.S.A.:

    Boosey and Hawkes, New York, 1970.

    [Score, 28 p., $3.75]

    In 1964 the Hungarian Pal JfrdAnyi composed this modest Concertino in G for violin and string orchestra. It is in two movements (Andante sostenuto-Vivace) and lasts approximately 8'.

    Formally, the Concertino is traditional in that clearly recognizable themes recur to establish clearly delineated formal sec- tions. Stylistically it is a mixture of De- bussy and Bart6k. In both movements the melodies and harmonies are based pri- marily on pentatonic scales, and in the second movement there are additional ethnic scales, often played as scales, which include sequences of augmented seconds and other patterns. The diatonic scales, when they occur, seem just varieties of some Hungarian ones. The melodies are continuous, not spatially or rhythmically pointillistic, and resemble typical late eighteenth-century violin figurations. At times, largely owing to square rhythms, these figurations became banal or at least uninspired. The orchestra is often in uni- son; the composer also relies heavily on ostinatos; counterpoint, when present, is uncomplicated. The harmonies are usually open fifths and fourths, major ninth chords, and occasional superimposed chords.

    the opening returns over G-A, this time to reach a final, quiet cadence on F$.

    The last movement begins immediately with the prominent minor seconds and other melodic material from the opening movement. A long cadenza intervenes which is followed by a broad, passionate section extending the chief melodic ma- terials, and moves slowly toward the con- clusion (again over F#).

    The first two movements, for all their simplicity, are the most convincing. The final movement falls apart under its bur- den of expansive rhetoric. The bulky score is handsomely printed, but there are a number of misprints and errata that should be corrected in future editions.

    RICHARD SWIFT University of California at Davis

    Pal Jardanyi: Concertino per violino e orchestra d'archi (1964). Budapest: Editio Musica Budapest; U.S.A.:

    Boosey and Hawkes, New York, 1970.

    [Score, 28 p., $3.75]

    In 1964 the Hungarian Pal JfrdAnyi composed this modest Concertino in G for violin and string orchestra. It is in two movements (Andante sostenuto-Vivace) and lasts approximately 8'.

    Formally, the Concertino is traditional in that clearly recognizable themes recur to establish clearly delineated formal sec- tions. Stylistically it is a mixture of De- bussy and Bart6k. In both movements the melodies and harmonies are based pri- marily on pentatonic scales, and in the second movement there are additional ethnic scales, often played as scales, which include sequences of augmented seconds and other patterns. The diatonic scales, when they occur, seem just varieties of some Hungarian ones. The melodies are continuous, not spatially or rhythmically pointillistic, and resemble typical late eighteenth-century violin figurations. At times, largely owing to square rhythms, these figurations became banal or at least uninspired. The orchestra is often in uni- son; the composer also relies heavily on ostinatos; counterpoint, when present, is uncomplicated. The harmonies are usually open fifths and fourths, major ninth chords, and occasional superimposed chords.

    the opening returns over G-A, this time to reach a final, quiet cadence on F$.

    The last movement begins immediately with the prominent minor seconds and other melodic material from the opening movement. A long cadenza intervenes which is followed by a broad, passionate section extending the chief melodic ma- terials, and moves slowly toward the con- clusion (again over F#).

    The first two movements, for all their simplicity, are the most convincing. The final movement falls apart under its bur- den of expansive rhetoric. The bulky score is handsomely printed, but there are a number of misprints and errata that should be corrected in future editions.

    RICHARD SWIFT University of California at Davis

    Pal Jardanyi: Concertino per violino e orchestra d'archi (1964). Budapest: Editio Musica Budapest; U.S.A.:

    Boosey and Hawkes, New York, 1970.

    [Score, 28 p., $3.75]

    In 1964 the Hungarian Pal JfrdAnyi composed this mode...

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