HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1930): Lucy Escott Variations, Variationen, Op. 13, Une petite phase, 4 Preludes to "Tristan", Cherubino, Toccata mistica, Sonatina 1947, Sonata.
Catalogue Number: 04I098
Label: col legno
Reference: WWE 1CD 20250
Description: Henze's output for solo piano is a relatively small, but important, part of his œuvre. The pieces are mostly not long, and espouse a classical economy and abstraction, far removed from Henze's political-theatrical pieces or the impassioned symphonic canon. The recent (2003) Preludes contain the greatest degree of spiritual and emotional wrestling here; one senses the aging composer summing up the ghosts of his political past and those of a troubled century, with fragmentary references to German romanticism and popular forms, the whole turbulent and unresolved, yet seen from afar. Elsewhere, as in the sonata or the early sonatina a blend of acerbity and wry wit, incisiveness of rhythm and touch produce a kind of stripped-down purity in which the essence of the composer is revealed in a very personal way, absent the global concerns of the works for larger forces. Harmonically the music ranges from neoclassical to frank atonality, but with consistent clarity and openness of expression and readily assimilable structural integrity. Jan Philip Schulze (piano).