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Wolpe: Compositions For Piano (1920-1952) / David Holzman


Release Date: 05/28/2002 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9116   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Stefan Wolpe
Performer:  David Holzman
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


I don't know what more it will take to establish the perennially underrated Stefan Wolpe as one of the major composers of this (or any) century, but this disc may help. His music is atonal, fierce, and unrelenting; but unlike the more famous of his contemporaries such as Carter or Boulez, Wolpe can swing, and he can create a piece that's enjoyable to hear, even for the uninitiated. He creates large-scale, directed narrative structures, more akin to Cecil Taylor than any post-Schoenbergian (though well before), and draws some rather dashing sonorities from the piano. His music is always going somewhere, with clearly outlined points of arrival and departure: he thinks big, and writes to be heard
Read more rather than analyzed.


The energy of the Sonata No. 1 alone would make this disc a worthwhile investment, so taut and exciting are Wolpe's rhythmic ideas (and so well executed by the demonic David Holzman). But this composer also can calm down, which makes his inexhaustible capacity to invent fast music even more thrilling. He doesn't just knock you upside the head with blinding filigree or rhythmically charged pounding, but uses slower, more elegiac portions for contrast. The spare middle section of the Sonata No. 1, the gorgeous opening sonorities of the Zemach Suite, or the whole of Adagio, Gesang are beautiful examples of Wolpe in a quieter, more pensive mood.


He also is facile in various styles--Tango, Waltz for Merle, and The Good Spirit of a Right Cause (a demented, off-kilter "fight" song) are wonderful pieces of non-pastiche imitation, strictly Wolpe. But it is in his epic Battle Piece that he pulls out all the stops: listeners unfamiliar with this composer and looking for a good place to start need look no further. This work almost could be Wolpe's manifesto in music--from its frenetic opening to its menacing conclusion, this work is as seminal as it gets. It has all the qualities of a good symphony, one that just happens to be scored for piano. Holzman's committed, intelligent playing--he never employs that precious, metallic "new music" sound--makes this disc not only valuable to Wolpe admirers, but an entertaining and fun listening experience, something you can rarely say about a recording dedicated to avant-garde piano music.
--Daniel Felsenfeld, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. The Good Spirit of a Right Cause by Stefan Wolpe
Performer:  David Holzman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; USA 
Date of Recording: 2000-01 
Venue:  Sonic Temple, Roslindale, Massachusetts 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
2. Gesang, weil ich etwas Teures verlassen muss by Stefan Wolpe
Performer:  David Holzman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920 
Date of Recording: 2000-01 
Venue:  Sonic Temple, Roslindale, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs. 
3. Tango for Piano by Stefan Wolpe
Performer:  David Holzman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927 
Date of Recording: 2000-01 
Venue:  Sonic Temple, Roslindale, Massachusetts 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
4. Zemach Suite by Stefan Wolpe
Performer:  David Holzman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939 
Date of Recording: 2000-01 
Venue:  Sonic Temple, Roslindale, Massachusetts 
Length: 11 Minutes 33 Secs. 
5. Waltz for Merle by Stefan Wolpe
Performer:  David Holzman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; USA 
Date of Recording: 2000-01 
Venue:  Sonic Temple, Roslindale, Massachusetts 
Length: 5 Minutes 6 Secs. 
6. Stehende Musik by Stefan Wolpe
Performer:  David Holzman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925 
Date of Recording: 2000-01 
Venue:  Sonic Temple, Roslindale, Massachusetts 
Length: 13 Minutes 49 Secs. 
7. Battle Piece by Stefan Wolpe
Performer:  David Holzman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943-1947; USA 
Date of Recording: 2000-01 
Venue:  Sonic Temple, Roslindale, Massachusetts 
Length: 24 Minutes 30 Secs. 

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