Transparency of Time and Silence

by Stanley Fefferman

Alban Berg: Piano Sonata, Op. 1:  The opening phrase floats like a question,
uncoils a slither of tones chromatic, improvised and moody textures
alternately emphatic and dreamy. The future of jazz is here—Monk and John
Lewis—riffing amid    suspended silences.

Franz Liszt: Piano Sonata in B Minor.  From the deliberately carved
descending scale     in the left hand     extrude four augmented themes
worked into a grand architecture that runs   for 30 minutes. It is an
important work. Richard Wagner          loved it, Brahms    slept through it,
and aspects of the keyboard fingering were studied by       Fats Waller
and James P. Johnson.

Shostakovich’s Eighth String Quartet is full of grief—personal
and collective. In the opening Largo   we feel the languor of long-standing
sorrow    made transparent by time        till it feels almost like       a
baroque lullaby.

Haydn’s London symphonies are full   of sweeping optimism
and more than a little swagger. No. 95 bursts out with a forceful
figure in winds and strings that rules the entire movement, but always trails a
gentle answer in the strings, as if to say
force in his work is tempered with courtesy.

Alexander Glazunov’s Oriental Reverie for clarinet and string quartet is
a tightly       textured      fabric of sound     as if woven of linen and wool
embroidered with silk       that dissolves in the transparency         of silence.

— from Juniper Volume 1, Issue 1