Cherubino: 3 Miniaturen für Klavierby Hans Werner Henze

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  • Cherubino: 3 Miniaturen fr Klavier by Hans Werner HenzeReview by: Barry HanniganNotes, Second Series, Vol. 43, No. 4 (Jun., 1987), p. 926Published by: Music Library AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/898181 .Accessed: 14/06/2014 13:16

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  • 926 MLA Notes, June 1987

    ragtime pieces that contain an equal mea- sure of interest and excitement. They are not as difficult as some of the composer's later rags, but are noteworthy for their in- ventiveness, since Albright twists and turns his melodic and rhythmic material in cre- ative ways. It is particularly interesting to compare these pieces with the later rags; such a comparison shows how Albright de- veloped the form and content of the rag? time style. For those already familiar with his later works, however, the Original Rags may come as a mild disappointment: they do not contain the wonderful harmonies and craziness of pieces like "Burnt fingers" or "The behemoth two-step."

    Jazz (1976) and All.Fall.Down. (1977) are early works of the young British composer and pianist, Michael Finnissy. Both pieces are well fashioned for the piano (Finnissy is active as a recitalist) and exceedingly dif? ficult. The pieces strongly resemble Stock- hausen's Klavierstiicke I-X, including the use of pointillism, clusters, fast passagework containing wide leaps in both hands, and silences after periods of frenetic activity. There are many unusual rhythmic subdi- visions?19:10, 13:8, 29:22, and dozens of others. The texture is consistently thick, covering most of the keyboard most of the time in Jazz and doing a thorough job in All.Fall.Down. as well.

    The music reflects the qualities that are most obvious in Finnissy's performance: an ebullience and excitement that can be quite infectious. The ear is held by the intricate textures, and an audience can be moved by admiration for the performer's virtuosity. The works are seldom lyrical or gentle, though the lighter quality of the soft sec? tions provides a substitute for these quali? ties. Although much shorter, the pieces are comparable to Stockhausen's Klavierstiick X in difficulty. I suspect that they will receive very few performances because of this, even if Finnissy goes on to an important career.

    Hans Werner Henze. Cherubino: 3 Miniaturen fiir Klavier. Mainz: Schott (European American), 1983. [12 p.; $4.95]

    Hans Werner Henze's large catalogue of works is remarkable for a major twentieth- century composer, since it contains many large-scale works in standard genres, in? cluding symphonies, operas, and concer? tos. He has written only three works for piano, however: two sets of variations and a sonata. It is thus a pleasure to receive the three miniatures of Cherubino?each just two-and-a-half minutes long.

    Cherubino is to some extent a throw-back, for it reminds one of Schoenberg's Three Pieces, op. 11. The harmony, like Schoen? berg's, is extremely chromatic and full of dissonance (though not twelve-tone), yet suggestions of tonality peek through the chromaticism. These tonal hints give the composition a nostalgic air, comparable to that of the second piece in Schoenberg's op. 11. The expressive melodies of the middle piece in Cherubino are also reminiscent of Schoenberg, since they contain the large leaps and short melodic fragments that mark much of op. 11.

    Henze's rhythmic style is more classical than Schoenberg's. There is a stream of sixteenth-notes throughout the first piece of Cherubino, and even though the time sig- natures change frequently, the effect is that of a steady pulse. The second piece is straightforward as well, possessing none of the written-in rubato that characterizes op. 11. The third, more unusual, piece in? cludes the use of sharp rhythmic gestures for drama and intensity; in this respect it also resembles Schoenberg's op. 11, in this case the third movement.

    Henze controls the harmony of Cheru? bino in a most impressive manner. Despite the consistently high level of dissonance, Henze's subtle harmonic changes smoothly and effectively shift the mood of the piece. This control testifies to Henze's craft as a composer and makes repeated hearings of the work worthwhile. Although the pieces are very challenging musically, a good col? lege student should be able to solve their technical problems.

    Barry Hannigan Bucknell University

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    Article Contentsp. 926

    Issue Table of ContentsNotes, Second Series, Vol. 43, No. 4 (Jun., 1987), pp. 745-1012Volume Information [pp. 981-1012]Front Matter [pp. 745-750]Defining Music [pp. 751-766]Index to Music Necrology [pp. 767-775]New Music Periodicals [pp. 776-781]Notes for NOTES [pp. 782-784]Book ReviewsReview: untitled [pp. 785-788]Review: untitled [pp. 788-789]Review: untitled [pp. 789-790]Review: untitled [pp. 790-791]Review: untitled [pp. 791-792]Review: untitled [pp. 792]Review: untitled [pp. 793]Review: untitled [pp. 793-794]Review: untitled [pp. 794]

    Books Recently Published [pp. 795-814]Music Publishers' Catalogues [pp. 815-819]Index to Record Reviews: With Symbols Indicating Opinions of Reviewers [pp. 820-899]Compact Disc--Long-Playing Record Conversion Index [pp. 900-911]Music ReviewsReview: untitled [pp. 912-915]Review: untitled [pp. 915-918]Review: untitled [pp. 918-919]Review: untitled [pp. 919-921]Review: untitled [pp. 921-923]Review: untitled [pp. 923-924]Keyboard MusicReview: untitled [pp. 924-925]Review: untitled [pp. 925]Review: untitled [pp. 925-926]Review: untitled [pp. 926]

    Instrumental Solo and Ensemble MusicReview: untitled [pp. 927]Review: untitled [pp. 927-928]Review: untitled [pp. 928-929]Review: untitled [pp. 929]Review: untitled [pp. 929-930]

    Vocal and Choral MusicReview: untitled [pp. 930-931]Review: untitled [pp. 931-932]Review: untitled [pp. 932-933]Review: untitled [pp. 933-934]

    Dramatic MusicReview: untitled [pp. 934-935]

    Music Received [pp. 936-948]Communications [pp. 949]Back Matter [pp. 950-980]

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