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Stefan Wolpe: Compositions for Piano (1920-1952)

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Audio CD, May 28, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Wolpe forged his musical thought at the piano, and most works in his wide-ranging catalogue include the piano. He composed an extensive repertoire for one, two, and three pianos, numerous songs, and pieces for instrumental ensembles of all sizes in which the piano is included. Wolpe's music for piano provides a chronicle of twentieth-century repertoire. His unique creative vision combines the stylistically inclusive modernism of Ferruccio Busoni, the revolutionary ideas of the masters of the Bauhaus, and the deconstructive experiments of the Dadas. But Wolpe did not look down on popular music as did many modernists. He could improvise in many popular styles, and he actively integrated into his music elements of the vernacular idioms of his successive homelands - Germany (1902-1933), Palestine (1934-1938), and the United States (1938-1972).

Hailed as a "master pianist" (Andrew Porter, The New Yorker), David Holzman has won acclaim both for his recitals and his recordings. Concentrating his virtuosic talents on the 20th Century’s keyboard masterworks, Holzman has premiered more than 150 works by various composers and has made first recordings of many of them. Mr. Holzman has performed at festivals throughout the world including Darmstadt, Leningrad Spring, the Vienna Schoenberg Festival and Wolpe Festivals in Toronto and Northwestern University.

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This stimulating, variety-filled selection from over 30 years of Stefan Wolpe's piano music includes avant-garde pieces like the early Sonata No. 1, where melody takes a back seat to rhythm and dynamics, especially in the spiky, aggressive outer movements. Another side of Wolpe is heard in pieces like Tango, where popular elements are transformed into ghostly remnants of themselves. Here, the catchy tango tune almost imperceptibly turns into a modernist exploration of changing rhythms and dynamics. Again, in Waltz for Merle, a halting waltz tune evolves into a sophisticated parody of itself. Anti-war sentiments surface in Battle Piece, a cyclic set of seven finger-breaking movements that pack emotional power. Zemach Suite dates from Wolpe's pre-war sojourn in Palestine and assimilates Mideastern influences into his modernist European style. Fascinating and important music, it's performed by Holzman with power and verve. Modern music buffs won't want to miss it. --Dan Davis

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Product details

  • Performer: Stefan Wolpe, David Holzman
  • Audio CD (May 28, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Bridge
  • Run Time: 65 minutes
  • ASIN: B000066F30
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,772 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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VINE VOICEon March 21, 2005
Format: Audio CD
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on April 1, 2003
Format: Audio CD
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