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Barraque- Sonate pour Piano (1/5)

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Uploaded on Nov 7, 2008

Jean Barraque's monumental sonata for solo piano, performed by Pi-Hsien Chen. This is one of the most important pieces in the piano repertoire, modern or non, and is in some ways beyond the Deuxieme sonate pour piano of Pierre Boulez, or at the very least quite comparable. It is a total serial piece in two sections linked together as a single movement, the first noted as Allegro and the second as Lent. This piece does not have the bombastic and savage feel that the Boulez work does, but is more akin to the Troisieme sonate in regards to its general feel; slightly more seething and tense; this is not to say it does not have its explosions of energy, which it most certainly does. I also feel it is my responsibility to note that this piece is an absolute MONSTER in regards to its difficulty, and with the exception of Martino's Pianississimo and a couple choice passages in Bussotti's Pour Clavier, is probably the most difficult serialist piece I'm aware of, taking very little pianism into account, possibly due to the fact that Barraque was primarily known as an innovator of electronic music. The tension and stress in the music is derived from the toying with dynamics other than tone, particularly the attempt at a very free-flowing and erratic rhythmic structure placed around the rigidity of the total serialist format. To be honest, this is not my absolute favorite recording, but it is better than the others that are easily available. If you're willing to spend the time, money and effort, hunt down Loriod's recording, or Roger Woodward's. Avoid at all cost Herbert Henck's and Claude Helffer's, though. Anyway, I will be presenting this piece in single movement format.

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