Except Chopin: Main Piano Tracks of the 20th Century

What do you imagine when you hear the phrase "piano music"? Probably something deliberately boring - music lessons at school, a splash screen of some program on the Kultura channel, a gift given by parents to the conservatory. But it's not that simple, say the organizers of the Sound Up concert series. Over the past 100 years, a lot of interesting things have happened with piano music - from Karlheinz Stockhausen's experiments to John Cage's play “4'33”, where the music does not sound at all for 4 minutes and 33 seconds.

Confused? For example, I got confused. But that's okay. Life around asked minimalist composer Vladimir Martynov, who will play in the New Tretyakov Gallery on July 25 at the Sound Up Forte festival, to select ten recordings that will help understand and tell about what happened to piano music in the 20th century.

Sound up forte

Alexey Lyubimov, Vladimir Martynov, Mujuice, Mikhail Dubov, Long Arm and others


July 25th


New Tretyakov Gallery

how many

From 3,500 rubles


John cage

"Sonatas & Interludes for Prepared Piano"

Cage's "Sonatas and Interludes" is his pinnacle of works for prepared piano. They combined two different cultural trends - Indian, free and based on nine unchanging emotions of Indian culture, and Western European, consistent and structured. Cage with its system of prepared piano infinitely expands the capabilities of the instrument.

"Music of Changes"

To create the Music of Change, Cage first applied the random process method. The method is based on the Chinese Book of Changes. To compose works, Cage compiled tables including altitude, rhythm and other characteristics of the compositions, tossed coins and wrote down the resulting.

Stephen Reich

"Piano Phase"

The main work of fundamental minimalism. It first demonstrated the action of microprocesses, when the pattern is shifted by a split second - and an amazing moire pattern is obtained.

Morton Feldman

"For Bunita Marcus"

"Palais de Mari"

In my opinion, Feldman is the last great composer, just as for him the last great painter, for example, was Mark Rothko. If Cage and Reich in their music tried to overcome the principles of composition, then Feldman achieved high and surprisingly meditative results within the composition.


"Piano Sonata"

Sonatas for piano by Stravinsky is a manifesto of composer asceticism. After the “Holy Spring”, after the riot of the avant-garde of the tenth years of the XX century and the luxuries of impressionism, he came to a dry and ascetic sound. This is an important milestone for XX century music, since this transition expressed an attempt to overcome the composer's excess, which was whipping over the edge.


"Suite for piano, op. 25"

Schoenberg's work is one of the most rigorous dodecaphonic works, combined with the principles of the Baroque suite.

Anton Webern

"Variations for piano, op. 27"

Anton Webern is one of the most consistent dodecafonic composers. His works are an example of the purest music - if Schoenberg appeals, for example, to Baroque traditions, then Webern’s compositions no longer appeal to anything, but are pure serial music.


"Klavierstücke IX"

"Klavierstücke X"

Stockhausen piano pieces are the pinnacle of 20th century piano music. In these plays, Stockhausen, on the one hand, develops the principles of Webern’s work, and on the other, introduces the principles of the so-called mobile technology, that is, the technique of free choice of fragments of a composition. And by doing this he makes himself the only European composer capable of competing with Cage.

Cover: Inna Zaitseva / Long Arms Records

Watch the video: Chopin Nocturne No. 20 perf. by Wladyslaw Szpilman - "The Pianist" - Original Recording (February 2020).

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