Piano Sonata, Op.1 (Berg, Alban)
Peter Bradley-Fulgoni (piano)
PianOLYPHONY: Music of and around the 20th Century
Recorded 2012, St. Paul's Hall, Huddersfield University. Peter Hill (sound engineer)
- Martin Malmgren, piano (Piano Society)
- Ahmed Anzaldúa, piano (Piano Society)
- Erik Wickström, piano (Piano Society)
|Work Title||Piano Sonata|
|Year/Date of Composition||1907–1909?|
|First Performance||1911-04-24 in Vienna. Etta Werndorff, piano|
|Composer Time Period||Early 20th century|
|Piece Style||Early 20th century|
|External Links||Wikipedia article|
The early sonata sketches of Berg while being a student under Schoenberg eventually culminated in this sonata; while considered to be his "graduating composition", it is one of the most formidable initial works ever written by any composer (Lauder, 1986)
This sonata consists of a single movement centered in the key of B minor, but Berg makes frequent use of chromaticism, whole-tone scales, and wandering key centers, giving the tonality a very unstable feel. The piece is in the typical sonata form, with an Exposition, Development and Recapitulation, but the composition also relies heavily on Arnold Schoenberg's idea of developing variation, a method to ensure the unity of a piece of music by deriving all aspects of a composition from a single idea.
Schoenberg stated that the unity of a piece is dependent on all aspects of the composition being derived from a single basic idea. Berg would then pass this idea down to one of his students, Theodor Adorno, who in turn stated: "The main principle he conveyed was that of variation: everything was supposed to develop out of something else and yet be intrinsically different". The Sonata is a striking example of the execution of this idea — the whole composition can be derived from the opening quartal gesture and from the opening leitmotif.