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A. Schönberg

6 kleine Klavierstücke, op. 19
Arranged for chamber ensemble by Alexander Shchetynsky
(1997)

While working on this arrangement, I saught to express by instrumentation the motivic-thematic structure of the pieces. Utilizing K. Dahlhaus's terminology, this instrumentation can be considered analytical, in other words, the arrangement applies a visual result of formal analysis, demonstrating those elements of music construction which were hidden under the timbral uniformity of the piano.

The analysis of the work showed that classical instrumentation could not help. It appeared, for example, that it was almost impossible to change the register of one or another phrase, because its octave distribution is never arbitrary, and always perform a formal-creative function. The music gave no occasion for colouristic "decoration", but rather demanded a strict and ascetic sound, when every section pre-conditioned a general structure. At the same time I found a multitude of possibilities for the utilization of Schönberg's recognized discovery - sound-timbral melody (Klangfarbenmelodie). If a phrase is built by two different thematic kernels, it is difficult to overcome the temptation to allow two instruments to play it: one begins, and afterwards the second carefully overtakes it. A complicated timbral scale appears not due to mixture of various colours, but as a result of their positioning one after another in the frame of one integral phrase.

The texture of 6 kleine Klavierstücke is mostly transparent, but contains within itself hidden subvoices. Here is no neutral-accompanying elements, throughout there is thematisism. That is why the selection of instruments for arrangement did not create any difficulties. The ensemble of 11 soloists perfectly adapted the composition elaborated by Schönberg to the smallest details.

Arrangement was made with permission of Universal Edition. Its first performance took place at the festival Contrasts in Lviv, Ukraine, on October 11, 1997, at the concert of the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble.

Alexander Shchetynsky


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