Hauer: Early Piano Music

Album cover art for upc 760623222028
Catalog: 613220-2

Steffen Schleiermacher

At the same time as Arnold Schönberg, Josef Matthias Hauer developed a very individual system for twelve-tone composition. The works of the two Austrians could not be more different, as Steffen Schleiermacher has impressively documented in several album productions. Now the versatile pianist has addressed Hauer's earliest works, providing an exciting insight into an important chapter of 20th-century music history. Hauer calls his opus 1 "Nomos", which implies a great claim: like a law of nature, this composition already contains everything that makes up music - new works are only further elaborations. Of course, the public at the time could not follow Hauer in this - the premiere of the orchestral version did not even take place until 30 years after Hauer's death. Of the few works by Hauer that make it onto today's program from time to time, the "Nachklangstudien", which in their delicate texture develop a very special, somehow oriental aura, are probably the best known. Quite different are the "Five Little Pieces" from the same year, which, with their reminiscences of Reger and other contrapuntalists, seem almost traditional. The cycle "Music-Film" is downright enigmatic. The 21 character pieces have programmatic titles, as if they were meant to illustrate a silent movie - or are they even a parody of this genre? In any case, Hauer actually wanted to publish the collection under a pseudonym. And indeed, the pieces have nothing in common with Hauer's other tonal language. Steffen Schleiermacher, however, approaches this work with the same seriousness as he does the other pieces, and he succeeds in a fascinating rehabilitation for someone who has been unjustly almost completely forgotten.

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