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Malcolm MacDonald

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195172010

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172010.001.0001

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Solo Keyboard Music

Solo Keyboard Music

(p.226) Chapter Ten Solo Keyboard Music

Malcolm MacDonald

Oxford University Press

Schoenberg was no pianist, and showed no especial interest in the piano in his first mature works, except as accompaniment to the voice. His earliest pianistic attempts have little distinction. Yet the first true totally chromatic work was the epoch-making Three Piano Pieces Op. 11, of 1909. It may be that entry into this new musical region had liberated Schoenberg from any inhibitions about the instrument, for the new harmonic vocabulary dictated an entirely new kind of pianism, in which he need fear no competitors, and could have no peers. This chapter examines several piano pieces composed by Schoenberg. The Variations on a Recitative is utterly characteristic Schoenberg, and one of his most searching works; but as one of the most difficult pieces in the organ repertoire, it is seldom performed.

Keywords:   Schoenberg, keyboard music, piano pieces, Variations, Recitative

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