Edna Stern : Fire of Black and White (CD)

Edna Stern : Fire of Black and White (CD)


XXth Century Great Piano Sonatas and other pieces by Samuel Barber, Gideon Klein, Karel Reiner, Lili Boulanger, Bohuslav Martinu and Benjamin Britten

Edna Stern, piano

Audio Note Music ANM 1603

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Samuel Barber (1910 - 1981) : Sonata Op. 26 (1949)
1 - Allegro energico
2 - Allegro vivace e leggero
3 - Adagio mesto
4 - Fuga - Allegro con spirito
Gideon Klein (1919 - 1945) : Sonata (1943)
5 - Allegro con fuoco
6 - Adagio
7 - Allegro vivace
Lili Boulanger (1883 - 1918) :
8 - Thème et Variations (1915)
Karel Reiner (1910 - 1979) : Sonata No. 2 Op. 35 (1942) - World Premiere Recording
9 - Allegro moderato. Energico
10 - Andante
11 - Tempo di polka
12 - Allegro vivo
Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976) :
13 - Night Piece (Notturno) (1963)
Bohusnav Martinů (1890 - 1959) :
14 - Bagatelle (1949)

Fire of Black and White explores art and creation at times of war and a disintegrating world. How do composers react to the horrors of a crumbling world under fire? The title obviously refers to the black and white keys of the piano, as well as to the written notes on white paper; to noise and silence. A fiery response in black and white to a world which is no longer so.

This recording brings the musical worldview of several composers who have written under the war.

Lili Boulanger wrote her piece “Theme and Variations” in 1915. Gideon Klein, who died in Auschwitz at age 25, wrote his only Piano Sonata in 1943 in the concentration camp of Theresienstadt. Karel Reiner who survived the war and three concentration camps wrote his 2nd Piano Sonata op. 35 “Victory” in the underground of Prague in 1942, and this is here its world premiere recording. Samuel Barber’s Sonata op. 26 was written in 1949, when all the war’s inhuman atrocities were by now public knowledge. Benjamin Britten’s “Night Piece” voices the appeased tone of dusk falling on terrible events, and Bohuslav Martinu’s little piece “Bagatelle” is the illustration of an emerging new world and new hope through children.

A collapsing world : The three great Piano Sonatas brought here have this in common: they are written, at least partly, using the twelve-tone technique developed by Arnold Schönberg and associated with the Second Viennese School. The development of this new musical language coincides with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It’s structure is based on the equal use of twelve notes rather than on tonal relations of harmonics. An attempt to bring order to chaos.

Recorded in Paris, February 2018

Sound Engineer, Editing, Mixing and Mastering : Damien Quintard
Assistant : Sébastien Germain
This CD was made at The Mono Company, Paris, with a full Audio Note System
Cover image : Julie Polidoro, 2017 “Unstitched World Map”, carved feld, 220 x 160
Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration, Palais de la Porte Dorée, Paris

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