Sonata für Klavier (1925) by Stefan Wolpe
for piano

I. Sehr schnell
II. Fast langsam (warm, aber nicht zimperlich)
III. Schnell

The Piano Sonata, Op. 1 by Stefan Wolpe is music that is formally experimental in nature, in which the thematic and modulatory elements withdraw to the background in favor of purely rhythmic and dynamic elements. One can apply the term Stehende Musik (music of stasis) to these pieces, as here formal tensions and relaxations are developed from the principle of repetition (in contrast to variation). This music attempts to analyze the concept of musical time to the furthest possible limit.

The first and third (final) movements are characterized by quick aggressive and percussive rhythmic figures divorced from any sense of harmonic progression. The second, and longest, movement explores modal melodic material while paying particular attention to irregular phrasing and crisp articulation — it perhaps hints at a style of baroque keyboard music à la Couperin (or perhaps shades of Satie).

— B. C. B.    

[program note for video premiered March 7, 2022]