Music of Stefan Wolpe, Vol. 6
by Stefan Wolpe, David Holzman
Music of Stefan Wolpe, Volume 4
by Heinz Holliger; James Avery; Robert Aitken; SurPlus Ensemble, Stefan Wolpe, James Avery and James Avery; Ensemble SurPlus; Robert Aitken; Heinz Holliger
Stefan Wolpe: Compositions for Piano (1920-1952)
by David Holzman and Stefan Wolpe
Stefan Wolpe: Lieder; Battle Piece
by Stefan Wolpe, Johan Bossers and Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson
Stefan Wolpe: Dr. Einstein’s Address About Peace in the Atomic Era, Songs: 1920-1954
by Patrick Mason; Tony Arnold; Ashraf Sewailam; Leah Summers; Robert Shannon; Susan Grace; Jacob Greenberg, Stefan Wolpe
Music of Stefan Wolpe, Volume 5
by Patrick Mason;Zac Garcia;Wendy Buzby;Mathew Whitmore;Quattro Mani;Ursula Oppens;Rebecca Jo Loeb;Matt Boehler, Stefan Wolpe, Ursula Oppens, Patrick Mason and Zac Garcia
Wolpe in Jerusalem
by Stefan Wolpe, Johannes Kalitzke, Werner Herbers, Ensemble Recherche and Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
Enactments: Works For Piano
by Stefan Wolpe
Stefan Wolpe: The Man from Midian; Sonata for violin & piano
by Stefan Wolpe, Cameron Grant, James Winn and Garrick Ohlsson
by Stefan Wolpe, Harvey Sollberger, Fred Sherry, Group for Contemporary Music and Stephen Taylor
Music at the Bauhaus
by Stefan Wolpe, Josef Matthias Hauer, Wladimir Vogel, George Antheil and Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt
Wolpe: Quintet with Voice; Piece in 3 Parts; Suite im Hexachord
by Jan Opalach, Stefan Wolpe, Spoken Word, William Purvis and Oliver Knussen
Works by Bolcom and Wolpe: Twelve New Etudes/Battle Piece
by William Bolcom, Stefan Wolpe and Marc-André Hamelin
Fathers of the Modern Music Movement
by Schoenberg (Artist) and Wolpe by Koch Int’l Classics
by Wolpe and Feldman by New World Records
Stefan Wolpe: Quartet No. 1; Piece for Two Instrumental Units; Drei Lieder Von Bertolt Brecht; ; Musik for Hamlet
by Stefan Wolpe, Parnassus and Anthony Korf
David Holzman Plays Maxwell Davies, Wolpe & Pleskow
by Stefan Wolpe, Raoul Pleskow, Peter Maxwell Davies and David Holzman
by Ernest Bloch, Paul Ben-Haim, Tzvi Avni, Arnold Schoenberg and Stefan Wolpe
Wolpe: Symphony 1 / Yigdal Cantata / Chamber Pieces 1 & 2
by Stefan Wolpe and Johannes Kalitzke
The Ocean that has no West and no East
by Anton Webern, Stefan Wolpe, Olivier Messiaen, Toru Takemitsu and Oliver Knussen. Peter Serkin, piano
Stravinsky: Serenade In A, Sonata / Lieberson: Bagatelles / Wolpe: Pastorale, Form IV (“Broken Sequences”), Four Studies on Basic Rows, IV: Passacaglia
by Peter Lieberson, Stefan Wolpe, Peter Serkin and Igor Stravinsky
by Sessions and Wolpe,
Zukofsky / Schuller – Composers Recordings
Carisi, Sauter, Wolff, Wolpe
Oboe Quartet/String Quartet
by Wolpe (Composer) cpo records
Stefan Wolpe: Piano Music – Geoffrey Douglas Madge
by Stefan Wolpe and Geoffrey Douglas Madge
Oboe and Piano Music from the 1930s
by Gunter Raphael, Pavel Haas, Walter Piston, Nikos Skalkottas and Stefan Wolpe
Stefan Wolpe – Passacaglia
[Counterpoint / Esoteric Records ES-530]
For Stefan Wolpe
by Wolpe (Artist), Feldman, Cage, Carter and Schollhorn by Disques Montaigne
Wolpe: Wild Roses
by Stefan Wolpe, Emilie Berendsen and David Bloch
Wolpe: Quartet for Oboe, Cello & Percussion & Piano
by Stefan Wolpe, Garrick Ohlsson and Jorja Fleezanis
by Arthur Berger, Stefan Wolpe, University of Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players, Robert Miller and Russell Sherman
Passacaglia: First Recordings 1954
Operattas: Zeus Und Elida / Schone Geschic
by Wolpe, Hirzel, Bischoff, Ebony Band and Herbers
String Quartet 2 / String Quartet 4
by Sessions, Wolpe and Juilliard Quartet by Composers Recordings
Conquest of Melody
Marcus Weiss, saxophone
Harmonies & Counterpoints
by Dietrich Hahne, Erik Lund, Stefan Wolpe, Scott Roller and Manfred Stahnke
- Adagio. Gesang. cpo 999055-2.
- Adagio Nr. 5. MDG 603 0878 2.
- An Anna Blume von Kurt Schwitters. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi HM 1071-2.
- The Angel. Symposium 1216.
- Apollo and Artemis. Symposium 1216.
- Battle Piece. cpo 999055-2. CRI SD538. NW344-2.
- Bearbeitungen Ostjüdischer Volkslieder (2 items). Symposium 1216.
- Brecht Songs from Die Hauspostille. Folkways FH5434.
- Cantata for Voice, Voices, and Instruments. cpo 999 090 2.
- Chamber Piece No. 1. Nonesuch H-71220. Arte Nova 74321 46508 2.
- Chamber Piece No. 2. NW306. Arte Nova 74321 46508 2.
- Cinq marches caracteristiques. MDG 603 0878 2.
- Conquest of Melody. HatÄRT 6178.
- Dance in Form of a Chaconne. cpo 999055-2.
- Displaced spaces (Two Studies, Part I). cpo 999055-2. CRI SD538.
- Drei Kleinere Canons (1936). Montaigne MO 7820948.
- Drei Lieder von Bertolt Brecht. Koch 3-7141-2H1.
- Early Piece [Andante]. Largo 5120.
- Epitaph. Columbia ML5179. Symposium 1216.
- Enactments. Nonesuch 78024.
- Exception and the Rule. Folkways FL9849.
- Form. Ars nova/ Ars antiqua. CRI SD306. NW308.
- Form. Form IV. Montaigne MO 782048. Largo 5120.
- Form . cpo 999055-2. CRI SD308. NW344-2.
- From Here on Farther. col legno 429357-2. Nonesuch 78024.
- Fünf Lieder nach Friedrich Hölderlin. Symposium 1216.
- The Hour Glass. Symposium 1216.
- If It Be My Fate. Columbia ML5179.
- In Two Parts for 6 Players. Koch 3-7141-2H1.
- Lied, Anrede, Hymnus. Centaur CRC2102.
- The Man from Midian. Koch 3-7315-2H1.
- March No. 1. cpo 999055-2
- Music for a Dancer. Centaur CRC2102.
- Music for Any Instruments, Vol. col legno, 429357-2.
- Music for Any Instruments, Three Canons (1944). Montaigne MO 782048.
- Music for Any Instruments, Melische Übungen. HatART 6178.
- Music for Medium Voice and Piano. Symposium 1216.
- Musik für Hamlet. Koch 3-7141-2H1.
- Musik zu Hamlet. col legno 429357-2.
- Palestinian Notebook (Three Time Wedding). Albany Troy 283.
- Passacaglia. Counterpoint 5530, HatART 6182. cp 999055-2. NW344-2. Largo 5120.
- Pastorale. NW344-2.
- Piece for Oboe, Cello, Piano, and Percussion. cpo 999 090 2.
- Piece for Trumpet and 7 Instruments. Crystal S352. Koch 3-7141-2H1.
- Piece for Two Instrumental Units. Opus One, No. 9. Koch 3-7141-2H1. Montaigne MO 782048.
- Piece in Two Parts for Violin Alone. NW308.
- Piece in 3 Parts for Piano and 16 Instruments (1961). Bridge BCD 9043.
- Presto Agitato. Ars nova/ Ars antiqua.
- Quartet for Oboe, Cello, Percussion and Piano. Koch 3-7112-2H1.
- Quartet for Trumpet, T Sax, Percussion, Piano. col legno 429357-2. HatArt 6178. Nonesuch H-71302. Koch 3-7141-2H1. HatART CD 6182. HatART CD6178.
- Quintet with Voice. Bridge BCD 9043.
- Rag-Caprice. cpo 999055-2. Koch.
- Second Piece for Violin Alone. Desto DC7104, Nonesuch 78024. Koch 3-7315-2H1.
- Seven Pieces for 3 Pianos. col legno 429357-2. Montaigne MO 782048.
- Six Songs from the Hebrew. Columbia ML5179.
- Solo Piece for Trumpet. Desto DC7133. Koch 3-7141-2H1.
- Sonata for Oboe and Piano. Harmonia Mundi HM 1071-2. Crystal CD327.
- Sonata for Violin and Piano. HatART CD 6182. Koch 3-7112-2H1.
- Songs from Die Hauspostille. Folkways FH5434.
- Stehende Musik. cpo 999055-2. MDG 603 0878
- String Quartet. CRI CD 587. Vox SVBX5306. Koch 3-7315-2H1. cpo 999 090 2.
- Suite im Hexachord. col legno 429357-2. Crystal S355. Bridge BCD 9043.
- Symphony. CRI 676 Arte Nova 74321 46508 2
- Tango. cpo 999055-2. MDG 603 0878 2.
- Ten Songs from the Hebrew. Columbia ML5179.
- Toccata. cpo 999055-2. Koch
- To the Dancemaster. Koch 3-7141-2H1.
- Trio in Two Parts for Flute, Cello and Piano. CRI SD233. Koch 3-7112-2H1.
- Two Chinese Epitaphs, no. 1. Silver Crest CWP3169
- Two Songs for Alto and Piano from Song of Songs. Columbia ML5179. Symposium 1216.
- Two Studies for Piano, Parts 1 & 2. Largo 5120.
- Variation. MDG 603 0878 2.
- Waltz for Merle. Centaur CRC2102.
- Yemenite Songs and Dances. Centaur CRC2102.
- Yigdal. Arte Nova 74321 46508 2.
- Zemach Suite. Largo 5120.
CD Recordings By Label
- Albany Troy 283 (1998). From Palestinian Notebook: 2 Yemenite Dances, Yiddische Hochzeit, Wiegenlied, Horra. Holzman, pno.
- Antes (1999). Sonata for Oboe and Piano. Fabian Menzel, ob, Bernhard Endres, pno.
- Arte Nova 74321 46508 2 (1996). Symphony No. 1, Yigdal Cantata, Chamber Piece no. 1, Chamber Piece no. 2. Kalitzke, cond.
- Bridge Records BCD 9043 (1993). Suite im Hexachord; Quintet with Voice; Piece in 3 Parts for Piano and 16 Instruments. Speculum Musicae; Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Serkin, pno, Knussen, cond.
- Bybele Records (1999). Trio in Two Parts for Flute, Cello, and Piano. Wolpe Trio.
- Centaur CRC2102 (1993). Music for a Dancer; Lied, Anrede, Hymnus. Holzman, pno.
- col legno 429 357-2 (1989). Musik zu Hamlet; Suite im Hexachord; Music for Any Instruments; Seven Pieces for 3 Pianos; Saxophone Quartet; From Here on Farther. ensemble avance. Williams, Williamson, Ball, pnos
- cp 999 055-2 (1988). Piano Music. Adagio Gesang; Stehende Musik; Tango; Rag Caprice; March No. 1; Passacaglia; Dance in form of a chaconne; Toccata; Battle Piece; Two Studies, part 1 (Music for any instruments); Form IV. Geoffrey Madge, pno.
- cpo 999 090 2 (1997). Oboe Quartet; String Quartet; Cantata for Voice, Voices, and Instruments. Gruppe Neue Music Hanns Eisler Leipzig, Silesian String Quartet, Robert-Schumann Kammerorchester.
- CRI 587 (1990). String Quartet. Juilliard String Quartet.
- CRI 676 (1994). Symphony. Orch. of 20th Century, Weisberg, cond.
- Crystal 327 (1994). Oboe Sonata. Harry Sargous, ob, Laura Ward, pno.
- Deutsche Harmonia Mundi HM 1071-2 (1993). An Anna Blume von Kurt Schwitters; Sonata for Oboe and Piano. Ensemble Aventure.
- HatART 6182 (1996) (reissue of Esoteric 530). Passacaglia; Violin Sonata; Saxophone Quartet. David Tudor, pno; Frances Magnes, vn; Samuel Baron,
- HatART 6178 (1997). Conquest of Melody, from Music for Any Instruments; Saxphone Quartet. Marcus Weiss.
- Koch 3-7141 2H1 (1992). In Two Parts for Six Players; Drei Lieder von Bertolt Brecht; Saxophone Quartet; Musik für Hamlet; Piece for Two Instrumental Units; To the Dancemaster; Solo Piece for Trumpet; Piece for Trumpet and 7 Instruments. Parnassus.
- Koch 3-7112 2H1 (1993). Piece for Oboe, Cello, Percussion and Piano; Sonata for Violin and Piano; Trio in Two Parts for Flute, Cello, and Piano. Group for Contemporary Music.
- Koch 3-7315-2H1 (1996). The Man from Midian; Second Piece for Violin Alone; String Quartet. Group for Contemporary Music.
LP Recordings Out Of Print
- Ars nova/ Ars antiqua. Presto agitato; Pastorale; Form. Anne Chamberlain, pno.
- Columbia ML5179 (1957). Ten Songs from the Hebrew. Arline Carmen, S; Leon Lishner, Bar; David Tudor, pf.
- CRISD 233. Trio. Sollberger, fl; Wuorinen, pno; Krosnick, vc.
- CRISD 306. Form; Form IV. Miller.
- CRISD 503. Symphony. Weisberg, cond.
- CRISD 538. Battle Piece, Music for Any Instruments. Holzman, pno.
- Crystal S 352. Piece Tpt and 7 Instrs. Guarneri, tpt.
- Crystal S 355. Suite im Hexachord. Randall, Williams.
- Desto DC 6435. 2nd Piece Violin Alone. Zukofsky.
- Desto DC 7104. Piece 2 Parts Flute and Piano. Baron, fl; Sanders, pno.
- Desto DC 7133. Solo Piece for Trumpet. Schwartz, tpt.
- Folkways FL 9849. The Exception and the Rule.
- Folkways FH 5434. Songs of Brecht. Bentley.
- New World NW 306. Chamber Piece No. 2. Korf, cond.
- Nonesuch H-71220. Chamber Piece No. 1. Weisberg, cond.
- Nonesuch H-71302. Saxophone Quartet. Weisberg, cond.
- Nonesuch H-78024. Enactments; 2nd Piece Vn Alone; From Here on Farther. Continuum.
- Opus One No. 9. Piece 2 Instrumental Units. Gilbert, cond.
- Silver Crest CWP3169. Two Chinese Epitaphs. C.W. Post College Chorus, Dashnaw, cond.
- Vox SVBX 5306. String Quartet. Concord.
WOLPE, Vol. 3. Excerpts from Dr. Einstein’s Address about Peace in the Atomic Era. 10 Early Songs. Arrangements of Yiddish Folk Songs. Songs from the Hebrew. Der faule Bauer mit seinen Hunden, Fabel von Hans Sachs. Epitaph • Patrick Mason (bar); Tony Arnold (sop); Leah Summers (mez); Ashraf Sewailam (bbar); Robert Shannon, Jacob Geenberg, Susan Grace (pn) • BRIDGE 9209 (65:36 )
WOLPE, Vol. 5. Lazy Andy Ant. Suite for Marthe Krueger. The Angel. 2 Songs for Baritone. O Captain! Songs of the Jewish Pioneers. To a Theatre New • Patrick Mason (nar); Zac Garcia (Andy); Wendy Buzby (Judge); Mathew Whitmore (Anteater); Quattro Mani; Rebecca Joel Loeb (ms); Matt Boehler (bbar); Ursula Oppens (pn) • BRIDGE 9308 (58:3607 )
WOLPE, Vol. 6. 4 Studies on Basic Rows. 3 Pieces for Youngsters. Lied, Anrede, Hymnus, Strophe zart Bewegung. 2 Pieces for Piano. Toccata in 3 Parts. Piano Studies, part 1, “Displaced Spaces.” Piano Studies, part 2. 2 Dances for Piano. Palestinian Notebook. Songs Without Words • David Holzman (pn) • BRIDGE 9344 (73:21)
Austin Clarkson has given a thorough and lucid introduction to Wolpe in the interview above, so I’ll leap into the review now, giving a few final thoughts at the end.
In the series (of six), Vol. 3 is the first disc in the header, with the Einstein setting. I will admit my only reservation about Wolpe up front, in that I feel that his vocal music, though of extremely high quality, and of a stimulating diversity, still does not have as remarkable a profile as so much of his instrumental, and in particular piano, music. Like so much music of a modernist cast from the earlier 20th century, its lyricism is usually not underpinned by as distinctive a harmonic practice, though I’ll readily admit it is often much more harmonically interesting and approachable than much of his contemporaries’ vocal works. For the record, and so readers may know my judgmental filter, I feel similarly about the vocal music of Wolpe’s teacher Webern. I also feel Wolpe’s rigorous experimental impulse came most to the fore in instrumental forms, whose abstraction paradoxically pushed him to greater original, personal expression.
Having said that, these songs and cycles always have clear ideas and a passionate impulse. The Ten Early Songs of 1920 are knotty expressionist gems, redolent of both cabaret and Secession salon. The 1925 Yiddish folk-song arrangements are folkloristic and populist in contrast; one can hardly believe they come from the same artist as the Early Songs. The 1926 Hans Sachs setting is mordant and acidic in the spirit of early Hindemith and classical Weill. The 1938 Epitaph is a pithy work whose concentration, lyricism, and harmonies are somewhat Stravinskian, and surprisingly seems a presage of Sondheim. The 1950 Einstein address setting is a passionate political piece; Wolpe’s intense, economical, and rigorous language suggests a strict moral probity in line with the subject and author of the text. I particularly like the way it fades away on poignant repetitions of the phrase “give and take.” For me the standout of the set is the 1938–54 Songs from the Hebrew (in both English and Hebrew), which evidences an impressive stylistic range, yet also feels consistent as a set.
Vol. 5 is also predominantly vocal, though with an even greater diversity of media and traditions in play. And overall I find it the most persuasive rebuttal to my remarks above about the composer’s vocal music. It begins with a sweet and witty puppet theater work on a children’s story by Helen Fletcher, Lazy Andy Ant (1947). It’s a parable about how the seemingly “useless” artist is in fact the most valuable member of any community, because s/he can think outside the box. Wolpe shows himself entirely capable of writing accessible tonal music for young listeners that doesn’t pander or condescend. The other vocal pieces [Oh Captain!, text by Whitman (1946), The Angel (Blake, 1959), and To a Theatre New (Winthrop Palmer, 1961)] benefit from the highly strophic nature of their texts, which engender clear musical ideas and tight forms. I found myself captivated by the last, which is whimsical and poignant, again a tribute to the “fantastic” power of art. Only the 1940 Suite for Marthe Krueger, a dance score (and the only instrumental work on the program), previously thought lost until a recent rediscovery, struck me as overlong and trying too hard in its heated rhetoric.
But the highlight for me of this set of releases is David Holzman’s piano recital (Vol. 6). It’s in fact the second of what is probably a continuing subseries within the overall set, and it’s a doozie. I was frankly stunned by his playing in the earlier disc, and Holzman continues to live up to the standard he set there. He has a spirit very much in tune with Wolpe’s: fierce, passionate, energetic, steely. The sheer intensity and clarity of his playing has a bracing, cleansing effect on the listener; you’re invigorated, affirmed by the experience.
There’s the usual diversity of Wolpean voices in the piano collection. Some works have sweet lyricism and are largely tonal, such as the Two Pieces. Others refer to popular styles, such as the blues and tango of the Two Dances, the Semitic flavor of the Palestinian Notebook, and the neo-Broadway of the 1959 Songs Without Words (the last has a title of “Lively. Why Not?”). But three works stand out as extraordinary: the 1941 Toccata, the 1935–36 Four Studies on Basic Rows, and the 1946–48 Studies, parts 1 and 2. The first is a sort of neoclassicism balanced with an angular expressionist perspective, ending with a masterly double fugue. The second is one of the remarkable piano pieces of the 20th century, its movements culminating in a passacaglia that is magisterial. Wolpe’s take on serialism was always personal and heterodox, and one of the marvelous things about this music is how economical, direct, and clear its ideas always are. Frankly I find it more satisfying than most of Schoenberg’s 12-tone works, and that’s I think in part because Wolpe was always concerned with intervals, not just pitches, in what elements of the music he wanted to emphasize and project.
The studies from the late 1940s are even more original. Compact to a fault (most are under a minute), they consist of just two lines in a sort of bobbing and weaving boxing match. The rhythmic language is unlike what had ever been heard before, and I think it’s actually quite different from most of the late modernist work (in particular New York “Uptown” music of the ’60s and ’70s) that it influenced. There’s a strange sense of interruption, of shouting, stammering dialogues embedded in these little pieces. The booklet notes that Wolpe was a favored teacher of jazzers in the period, and you can see why. There’s a personal, prismatic rhythmic sense, a type of flow that’s closer to late bop and free jazz than to European models of the era. It feels closer to Thelonious than Arnold.
Overall this is an enormously satisfying set. Don’t let any carps of mine divert you from buying these. If you want only one to start, choose the Holzman. If you want to explore the vocal music, I think the set starting with Lazy Andy Ant is the way (and don’t be diverted by the rather goofy but sweet cartoon art on the cover). But also, even though they have come out earlier, be aware of the other three discs in the set (so far).
Vol. 2 (Bridge 9116) is the earlier Holzman piano recital. Vol. 4 (Bridge 9215) is a collection of music mostly for winds, including among its featured performers Heinz Holliger playing the Oboe Sonata. And Vol. 1 (Bridge 9043) includes an extraordinary performance with Peter Serkin and Oliver Knussen of the 1961 Piece for Piano and 16 Instruments in Three Parts, one of the most persuasive documents about what was so fiercely original about Wolpe’s vision.
Wolpe is perhaps one of the greatest and most recent manifestations of a noble Central/Northern European tradition, the composer who is resolutely abstract in his musical ideology, yet authentically passionate. Add to this his distinct strands of populism, leftist politics, and cultural tolerance, and we have one of the great originals of the century. If you don’t know his work already, now is the time.
— Robert Carl
Scott Noriega, Review of Bridge 9344
Fanfare Nov-Dec (2011): 228
“Four Studies on Basic Rows,” “3 Pieces for Youngsters,” “Lied, Anrede, Hymnus, Strophe zarteste Bewegung,” “2 Piano Pieces: Pastorale, Con fuoco,” “Toccata in 3 Parts,” “Piano Studies, part I,” “Displaced Spaces. Piano Studies, part II,” “2 Dances: Blues, Tango,” “Palestinian Notebook,” “Songs Without Words.” (73:21)
For those who know the music of Stefan Wolpe, perhaps the very first adjective that they might use to describe his music is complex. And in listening to the two major works on this recital, the Four Studies on Basic Rows and the Toccata, one would probably be spot-on with one’s description. And though these works may be complex atonal creations, they are made more palatable by their intrinsic musicality and by David Holzman’s obvious affinity for this challenging music. His account of the Toccata in particular is masterly in how the three parts feed off of each other, leading from the simpler textures of the opening movement to the highly expressive middle section—titled “Too Much Suffering in the World”—to the virtuoso, quasi-jazzy double fugue that concludes the piece. Compared to Peter Serkin’s equally masterly approach, Holzman’s account seems a little less radical in its more restrained, almost Baroque-toccata inspiration, whereas Serkin seems spiky and pointillistic in comparison; he seems to play off of the piece’s modernist tendencies.
The most elaborate of the studies, the Passacaglia, is a highlight of this recital. Holzman’s obvious engagement with the piece’s underlying developmental structures, encompassing the sound worlds of the previous three studies as a sort of climax of ideas for this group of works, in addition to his understanding of its concentrated expressiveness, make this music quite enjoyable in its best moments. His playing lends it the “timeless character” that Holzman and Austin Clarkson describe in their shared program notes.
Interestingly, the rest of the pieces on the recital are much more subdued in comparison to these former works. They are all under 3:30 in timing and display the composer’s other interests: jazz (Blues, Tango, Songs Without Words), his Jewish heritage (the four movements of the Palestinian Notebook), and “simpler musics” (Lied, Anrede, Hymnus, Strophe zarteste Bewegung, the Three Pieces for Youngsters) as he described some of these pieces himself. Holzman relates in his booklet notes that after a day and a half of recording most of the Four Studies, on the suggestion of his editor Matthew Packwood he turned to some of the shorter works on this recital. He relates that a smile began to grow on his face as the “physical and intellectual experience” of the more complex music made this simpler music more magical. Perhaps that is one of the keys to this recital: its need to show how one sound world may be used to understand another. Though Wolpe will never be a household name, if this is the kind of music that interests one, then Holzman provides a very fine guide through this mostly thorny and severe, though sometimes playful, world.
International Record Review, May, 2011:62-63
the ‘Passacaglia’ on an all-interval row which ranks among the high points of twentieth-century pianism and had far- reaching consequences for composers as diverse as Elliott Carter and George Russell. It remains Wolpe’s most recorded piano piece, yet to have it in context is rare and Holzman’s account * drawing its four distinct sections into an inexorably cumulative whole – makes it a fitting conclusion to his powerful rendering of the whole set and a memorable experience which one would be unlikely to encounter in concert.
Particularly noteworthy is the first complete recording of Wolpe’s huge Four Studies on Basic Rows (1935-36). It occupies almost half this CD and includes the composer’s most frequently-recorded piano piece, the ‘Passacaglia’ [tr.4], which is in turn the longest single movement here at getting on for a quarter of an hour. . . . So you’re getting a mixture, a taster, of Wolpe’s output for the instrument. You’re also getting it played by undeniably the greatest interpreter of Wolpe’s keyboard music alive today.
International Record Review, May, 2011:62-63
The ‘Passacaglia’ on an all-interval row which ranks among the high points of twentieth-century pianism and had far- reaching consequences for composers as diverse as Elliott Carter and George Russell. It remains Wolpe’s most recorded piano piece, yet to have it in context is rare and Holzman’s account * drawing its four distinct sections into an inexorably cumulative whole – makes it a fitting conclusion to his powerful rendering of the whole set and a memorable experience which one would be unlikely to encounter in concert.