Piano Sonata, Op.1 (Berg, Alban)

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Carolus (2010/9/8)

Performers Jonathan Biss, piano
Publisher Info. Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
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Lumineux (2014/12/13)

Performer Pages Peter Bradley-Fulgoni (piano)
Publisher Info. PianOLYPHONY: Music of and around the 20th Century
Peter Bradley-Fulgoni
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Misc. Notes Recorded 2012, St. Paul's Hall, Huddersfield University. Peter Hill (sound engineer)
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Sheet Music

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Massenetique (2012/6/15)

Editor First edition (reprint)
Publisher. Info. Berlin: Schlesinger, n.d.[1910]. Plate S.9539.
Reprinted New York: Associated Music Publishers, n.d.
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Misc. Notes This file is part of the Sibley Mirroring Project.
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Geo (2012/10/16)

Editor First edition (reprint)
Publisher. Info. Berlin: Schlesinger, n.d.[1910]. Plate S.9539.
Reprinted Vienna: Universal Edition, 1926. (with spurious copyright claim)
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Jujimufu (2006/12/27)

Publisher. Info. Moscow: Muzyka, n.d.(ca.1970). Plate 6250.
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Misc. Notes from unidentified collection
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General Information

Work Title Piano Sonata
Alternative. Title
Composer Berg, Alban
Opus/Catalogue NumberOp./Cat. No. Op.1
Key B minor
Movements/SectionsMov'ts/Sec's 1
Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp. 1907–1909?
First Performance. 1911-04-24 in Vienna. Etta Werndorff, piano
First Publication. 1910 – Berlin: Robert Lienau
(Hofmeister's Monatsbericht (1910), p.251)
Composer Time PeriodComp. Period Early 20th century
Piece Style Early 20th century
Instrumentation piano
External Links Wikipedia article

Misc. Comments

The early sonata sketches of Berg while being a student under Schoenberg eventually culminated in this sonata; while considered to be his "graduating composition", it is one of the most formidable initial works ever written by any composer (Lauder, 1986)

This sonata consists of a single movement centered in the key of B minor, but Berg makes frequent use of chromaticism, whole-tone scales, and wandering key centers, giving the tonality a very unstable feel. The piece is in the typical sonata form, with an Exposition, Development and Recapitulation, but the composition also relies heavily on Arnold Schoenberg's idea of developing variation, a method to ensure the unity of a piece of music by deriving all aspects of a composition from a single idea.

Schoenberg stated that the unity of a piece is dependent on all aspects of the composition being derived from a single basic idea. Berg would then pass this idea down to one of his students, Theodor Adorno, who in turn stated: "The main principle he conveyed was that of variation: everything was supposed to develop out of something else and yet be intrinsically different". The Sonata is a striking example of the execution of this idea — the whole composition can be derived from the opening quartal gesture and from the opening leitmotif.