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

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