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
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