Although composed already in 1911, these six piano expressionist miniatures can still sound extremely modern to most ears, which tells us not necessarily how advanced were Schoenberg for his time, but rather how times have slowed down since.
These six pieces, “dialectic in miniature” (Matthew Greenbaum) are basically atonal, which in this context means that they do not rely on a single note as centre, but on the relationships among notes (i.e. in the intervals) to achieve personality, a particular sonority, coherence and a sensation of completeness. For instance, in the second piece the main interval is the third (both major and minor) and in the sixth piece it is clearly the perfect fourth.
From an aesthetical point of view, these six gems offer a self-contained world, an abstract world; abstract as a desert is abstract and full of hidden life; fascinating (for both performer and listener) once we can get into it. I am aware that this kind of world of finesse and subtleness is not necessarily the one that most people are used to (mainly if they prefer to listen -and contemplate- to Lady Gaga, Madonna or Beyoncé).
“Solare bewies mit diesem Konzert, dass er gestalterisch wie spieltechnisch ein kompetenter Pianist der Avantgarde ist. (…) die 6 kleinen Stücke für Klavier, op. 19, von Arnold Schönberg habe ich selten so polyphon und gleichzeitig organisch kompakt gehört.”
“Solare demonstrated with this concert that he is a competent pianist of the avant-garde. (…) I seldom listened the 6 little pieces for piano op. 19 by Arnold Schönberg so polyphonic and at the same time organic compact.”
(Michael Pitz-Grewenig, “Bevor die Musik schweigt – Solare im Theatersaal der Universität“, Weser Kurier [Bremen, Germany] 12th June 2006, page 11.)
I am extremely satisfied that the British artist Catherine Archer-Wills made the cover art for this release. On her picture you will see six pebbles (representing each music piece) forming a circle. Since Schoenberg’s work might be compared to Wassily Kandinsky’s paintings (and there is an extensive correspondence between Kandinsky and Schoenberg during Schoenberg’s expressionist period), Catherine painted each of the pebbles in the style of Kandinsky – “I listened carefully to each piece and drew what I heard, and took some pebble photos on the beach.” About the font used: the artist has left the text severely plain in a Bauhaus style.
Recorded at the Theatersaal of the University of Bremen (Germany) on 25 July 2014
Grand piano Bösendorfer
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Juan María Solare
Cover Art by the British artist Catherine Archer-Wills [http://www.carcherwills.com]
Release: 13 December 2014 (i.e. 12-13-14 in USA): the number 13 was of Schoenberg’s obsessions. He was born on a 13th (of September) and died on another 13th (in July).
Label Janus Music & Sound, catalogue number JMS-006
Juan María Solare (Buenos Aires 1966) is one of those musicians that open scarcely travelled paths. The originality of his music stems from the confluence between post-Piazzollian tango and classical contemporary music. His singular style represents a synthesis of North and South, classical and popular, wit and melancholy, performance and composition.
He has given piano recitals in Buenos Aires and dozens of Argentinean cities, plus Berlin, Istanbul, Finland, Denmark, Amsterdam, Madrid, Graz, Geneva, Seville, London, Texas… The audience at his concerts is fascinated by his warmth and quality.
Solare conducts the Orquesta no Típica at the university of Bremen (Germany) and the symphony orchestra of the Bremer Orchestergemeinschaft. At the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen he teaches Composition and Arrangements. As a pianist with over 400 concerts on his account, he has participated at the World Tango Summit on three occasions. He is the editor of four albums for the publishing house Ricordi Munich. His compositions have been awarded prizes eleven times and are performed from New York to Tokyo, from Mexico to Australia. Fourteen CDs by different performers include at least one piece by Juan María Solare