Recorded on 02/01/2012, uploaded on 05/19/2012
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Piano Sonata, Op. 1 (11’) Berg
Alban Berg studied under Arnold Schoenberg in the autumn of 1904, taking lessons initially in harmony and counterpoint and later returned to begin studies in composition. Several draft sketches of sonata movements date from this period and it is thought that the Sonata Opus 1 followed from these drafts. The premiere of the Piano Sonata, Op. 1 was given in Vienna in 1911, and Schoenberg was very impressed by the Sonata, commenting “it really is a very beautiful and original piece”.
Berg actually intended for the Sonata to be a multi-movement work, the opening movement followed by perhaps a slow movement and a finale. However, he struggled to begin these other movements. Schoenberg’s advice to this was that Berg must have said all there was to say in the one movement and that the movement stood strongly on its own. Although the sonata’s key center is B minor, Berg makes extensive use of chromaticism, whole-tone scales and shifting key areas, making the tonality of the piece somewhat unstable in feeling – only really finding its way back to a resolution in B minor in the work’s final measures. The structure of the piece is that of a traditional sonata movement, with an exposition, development and recapitulation. However, the genesis of this piece is motivic/thematic development and variation, something which provides a strong sense of unity in the piece - much of the composition can be traced back to the two opening gestures/ motives. Sam Armstrong
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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