STEFAN WOLPE (1902-1972): Music for 2 Pianos - March and Variations, 2 Studies on Basic Rows (First Recordings), The Man from Midian - Ballet Suite.
Catalogue Number: 05U054
Description: Noted contrarian Wolpe aspired to be a Dadaist, and was a dodecaphonist who wrote left-wing agitprop and straightforward songs and choruses for kibbutzim. In some works, though, perhaps influenced by his early studies with Busoni and Schreker or by Hindemith, he suppressed his natural atonal tendencies and produced compelling concert works in a muscular neoclassical, tonal style of which Busoni would likely have approved. Two such are presented here. The March and Variations is a powerful and inventive 20-minute work, running the gamut of moods in full-textured writing that makes idiomatic use of the two-piano medium. The Man from Midiam was a ballet suite in two movements divided into 18 sections, on the story of Moses from the Old Testament. This hugely appealing work at its most 'popular' is very reminiscent of Eisler, and at its least is still tonal, though admitting some iconoclastically spicy dissonance. With the Two Studies we are in more familiar Wolpe territory; bracing expositions of the composer’s personal version of Schoenberg's 12-tone technique; resolutely atonal, but rich in harmony and with a sense of drama and a complete absence of academic dryness. Quattro Mani.