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Pierre Boulez - Piano Music

Boulez: Piano Music
The piano sonatas stand either side of the brief foray into “total serialism” represented by Structures I for two pianos: the two-movement Sonata No. 1 was written by the 21-year-old composer in 1946, and the more ambitious Sonata No. 2 followed two years later – a furious keyboard assault whose jagged lines and unremitting rhythmic pile-ups gave something absolutely new to the world of classical music. The notion of “mobile form” was pioneered by Boulez and Stockhausen at the same time, the latter in Piano Piece XI (1956), the former in his Piano Sonata No. 3 (1955–57), one of the many Boulez works that remains “unfinished”, though the sonata’s use of indeterminacy (the pianist selects the order of movements, as well as tempo and dynamics) means that this is less of a problem than you might expect.

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3X Piano Sonatas Nos. 1–3: Henck (Wergo 60121-50).

Recording quality on Herbert Henck’s 1980s Wergo recording is less good than on the rival set from Naxos, but the performance is even more impressive, with greater delicacy and a wider dynamic range. The Sonata No.2 is taken at a more measured pace, most notably the slow movement.

Sheet Music by Boulez