Schoenberg: Piano Music Yoko Hirota

Album info



Label: Navona

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Instrumental

Artist: Yoko Hirota

Composer: Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)

Album including Album cover


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  • Arnold Schoenberg (1874 - 1951): 3 Klavierstücke, Op. 11:
  • 13 Klavierstücke, Op. 11: No. 1, Mässige Viertel03:44
  • 23 Klavierstücke, Op. 11: No. 2, Mässige Achtel06:33
  • 33 Klavierstücke, Op. 11: No. 3, Bewegte Achtel02:42
  • 5 Klavierstücke, Op. 23:
  • 45 Klavierstücke, Op. 23: No. 1, Sehr langsam02:15
  • 55 Klavierstücke, Op. 23: No. 2, Sehr rasch01:23
  • 65 Klavierstücke, Op. 23: No. 3, Langsam03:04
  • 75 Klavierstücke, Op. 23: No. 4, Schwungvoll02:27
  • 85 Klavierstücke, Op. 23: No. 5, Walzer03:17
  • Klavierstück, Op. 33a:
  • 9Klavierstück, Op. 33a02:04
  • 10Klavierstück, Op. 33b03:31
  • 17 Piano Fragments:
  • 1117 Piano Fragments: No. 1, —02:05
  • 1217 Piano Fragments: No. 2, —03:14
  • 1317 Piano Fragments: No. 3, —03:21
  • 1417 Piano Fragments: No. 4, —00:47
  • 1517 Piano Fragments: No. 5, —00:29
  • 1617 Piano Fragments: No. 6, —00:48
  • 1717 Piano Fragments: No. 7, —00:40
  • 1817 Piano Fragments: No. 8, —00:43
  • 1917 Piano Fragments: No. 9, —00:52
  • 2017 Piano Fragments: No. 10, —00:58
  • 2117 Piano Fragments: No. 11, —00:42
  • 2217 Piano Fragments: No. 12, —02:08
  • 2317 Piano Fragments: No. 13, —02:21
  • 2417 Piano Fragments: No. 14, —01:02
  • 2517 Piano Fragments: No. 15, —01:04
  • 2617 Piano Fragments: No. 16, —00:16
  • 2717 Piano Fragments: No. 17, —01:09
  • Total Runtime53:39

Info for Schoenberg: Piano Music

Although Arnold Schoenberg is often seen as a composer strictly concerned with pitch, his interests in timbre and sonority are ever-present in all five of his completed piano works. On SCHOENBERG PIANO MUSIC AND HIS 17 FRAGMENTS, pianist Yoko Hirota performs three of Schoenberg’s completed works along with the 17 fragments that he never brought to completion. Hirota, praised as being “precise and keenly projective” and demonstrating the “highest level of proficiency,” is one of the leading interpreters of contemporary piano repertory, and she brings Schoenberg’s compositions to life with conviction.

The three pieces that make up Drei Klavierstückes op.11 demonstrate Schoenberg’s burgeoning awareness that, as a corollary to the atonal structures he was beginning to use, more emotionally stringent use of the piano made for fertile musical ground. A close examination of the 17 fragments illustrates the composer’s preoccupation with and research into expressivity and color in his piano music — elements that are communicated clearly in Hirota’s performances.

The evolution of Schoenberg’s musical thought can be clearly traced in the fragments, which were written throughout the first quarter of the 20th Century. The influence of Brahmsian piano writing is evident in the first four fragments; by the time he had composed the ninth, his demand for articulation had become predominant. The twelfth fragment contains a character dissimilar to both his previous works and fragments, in that the harmonic language is rather tonal and in the vein of Prokofiev’s works.

Schoenberg’s priority was the expression of music in the creative process. This expressivity became his main concern in the final two fragments, the last of which reveals that his lyrical thinking was central in his compositional process and atonal harmonic language did not deprive his works of their expressivity. On the contrary, atonality enhanced the sonoric experience through the extraordinary color that it produced.

Through this album, Hirota does not only demonstrates Schoenberg’s care for expressivity in music. She highlights the fact that other pianists should strive to present this color and expression in the performance of Schoenberg’s works, in order to deliver a performance that is both rich and true to the composer’s intent.

Yoko Hirota, piano

Yoko Hirota
Having been praised by the press as “precise and keenly projective” and demonstrating “the highest level of proficiency,” Japanese-Canadian pianist Yoko Hirota is considered one of the leading interpreters of contemporary piano repertory of her generation.

Hirota received her doctoral degree in piano performance under Louis-Philippe Pelletier at McGill University. Grants from the Canada Council for the Arts allowed her to study in Europe with Gábor Eckhardt in Hungary, Herbert Henck in Germany, and Florent Boffard in France.

Hirota is a strong advocate of contemporary music and has appeared in recitals including: New Music Concerts (Toronto), Discovery Series (Calgary), Windsor Canadian Music Festival (Windsor), Domaine Forget International Music Festival (Quebec), Innovations en concert (Montréal), the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival (Quebec), Friday Evenings at the Rolston (Banff), and Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur (Montréal). Hirota was invited by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (NEM) to perform the challenging work, Joy (for 23 musicians and tape), by Magnus Lindberg, for its Canadian premiere. The Montreal Gazette gave special recognition of her performance.

Hirota’s performances were broadcast on Société Radio-Canada, and she has received prestigious grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. At the 1996 Clara Liechtenstein Piano Competition (Montréal), a Special Mention Prize was especially created to distinguish her excellence in the interpretation of 20th-century repertoire. In 2013, she was invited to perform at Le 16e Gala des prix Opus.

Hirota released five albums with grants awarded by Canadian arts organizations at both federal and provincial levels. All of her albums focus on contemporary classical music and received rave reviews from Wholenote, Musical Toronto, and The Globe and Mail. Three of her albums exclusively consist of music by contemporary Canadian composers, released by the recording label Centrediscs.

Hirota is currently Professor of Piano at the Music Department of Laurentian University in Ontario Canada and co-founder and co-artistic director of 5-Penny New Music Concerts.

This album contains no booklet.

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