Ernst Krenek: Piano Music, Volume One

Ernst Krenek: Piano Music, Volume One

This first extended survey of the piano music of Ernst Krenek (1900–91) opens with his Fourth Sonata of 1948, which revisits the graceful elegance of the First Viennese School in the style of the Second. It continues with the witty George Washington Variations and the first recording of a brief Prelude written for the Swiss patron of music, Werner Reinhart, and concludes with Krenek’s completed version of Schubert’s unfinished Piano Sonata in C major, d840.

Stanislav Khristenko, piano

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Catalogue No: TOCC0298
EAN/UPC: 5060113442987
Release Date: 03.07.2015
Composer: Ernst Krenek
Artists: Stanislav Khristenko

Listen To This Recording:

  1. Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 114: I Sostenuto
  2. Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 114: II Andante sostenuto, con passione
  3. Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 114: III Rondo. Vivace
  4. Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 114: IV Tempo di minuetto, molto lento
  5. George Washington Variations, Op. 120: I Washington’s Grand March
  6. George Washington Variations, Op. 120: II The same elaborated upon
  7. George Washington Variations, Op. 120: III Battle Music
  8. George Washington Variations, Op. 120: IV Elegy
  9. George Washington Variations, Op. 120: V The Chase (a canon)
  10. George Washington Variations, Op. 120: VI Sarabande
  11. George Washington Variations, Op. 120: VII Grand Finale, with the Martial Cotillion
  12. Prelude, WoO87: Allegro ma non troppo, vigoroso
  13. Piano Sonata in C major, D840: I Moderato
  14. Piano Sonata in C major, D840: II Andante
  15. Piano Sonata in C major, D840: III Menuetto. Allegretto
  16. Piano Sonata in C major, D840: IV Rondo. Allegro

2 reviews for Ernst Krenek: Piano Music, Volume One

  1. :

    The first volume of a new series from Toccata almost always generates a sense of discovery. … there is one, albeit brief, first-ever recording in this disc, namely the Prelude WoO87, written in 1944.
    The other three pieces have all received previous recordings but that doesn’t lessen the interest when they are presented as persuasively as they are here by Stanislav Khristenko. The Piano Sonata No.4 dates from 1948 and is a four-movement work of powerfully contained expression. The conjunction, in the slow movement, of both extrovert and more interior gestures is amplified by Krenek’s precise application of sonorous incident – brief but telling – amidst a generally refined tonal colour. Marked con passione this is the work’s core but the Rondo offers a rather whimsical example of Krenek’s sort-of modified Boogie patterns with the Jazz references powerfully engaged. …
    [The George Washington Variations, Op.120]: This genial and clever set of variations takes in the ballroom and subjects its material to deconstruction and reconstruction, as the notes suggest, with much playfulness. Washington’s Grand March is a central focus, and subject to pithy and witty examples of lightly applied atonalism, jazz-hinting rhythms and much more. Playfully ironic in places it in no way outstays its thirteen-minute length. …
    His completion of the [Schubert] sonata is a valuable sidelight to his interests at the time and also of his application of compositional process. …
    Given the quality of this inaugural volume we can look forward to the second volume with confidence. —Music Web International, August 2015

  2. :

    … According to the description on the back of the jewel case, this is the “first extended survey of the piano music of Ernst Krenek.” …
    The fourth piece is very much an academic exercise, a completion of Franz Schubert’s D. 840 (“Reliquie”) piano sonata in C major. … My personal opinion is that this completion exercise tells us more about Krenek-the-scholar than it does about Krenek-the-composer. The use of Rondo form in the late Schubert sonatas is a frequent one, and renek’s completion of the D. 840 movement suggests that he had internalized an overall architecture consistent with Schubert’s completed efforts. …
    Among the three original compositions, the Opus 120 “George Washington Variations” has a similarly playful aesthetic.This uses the basic framework of variation to explore a broader scope of music from the time when our country was still a colony. …
    The only sonata on this recording is the fourth, Opus 114 composed in 1948. … Indeed, in Opus 114 Krenek demonstrates his mastery of the same kinds of melodic contours that can be found in atonal Schoenberg; but the result almost amounts to ear training for those still trying to get a handle on how to listen to Schoenberg.
    Finally, there is the world premiere recording of a piece that is not yet included in the Grove list of Krenek’s compositions, the WoO 87 prelude composed in 1944. … This is another piece that seems to reflect on Schoenberg’s Opus 29 and its approach to realizing structures of the past through an atonal syntax.
    Nevertheless, this is a recording that allows the listener to approach Krenek from a variety of different points of view, so to speak; and, in that respect, it provides an excellent introduction to what he achieved as a composer. —, August 14th, 2015

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