LEON KIRCHNER (b.1919): Piano Sonatas Nos. 1 (Leon Fleisher) & 2 (Jeremy Denk), 5 Pieces (Max Levinson), Interlude I (Peter Serkin), Interlude II (Jonathan Biss), The Forbidden (Joel Fan).
Catalogue Number: 05I079
Reference: TROY 906
Description: One of Schoenberg's leading American disciples, Kirchner turned away from dodecaphony, which puts in not a single appearance here, either in the passionate, freely atonal first sonata of 1948, or the works of his later career, beginning in the 1980s. The 5 Pieces (1987) originated as a song cycle and retain a sense of cogent narrative, incorporating the vocal line into the fleshed-out piano accompaniment. While frequently straying far from strict adherence to conventional tonality, this and the other late pieces possess an abundance of progressive discourse and a clear sense of direction. Both here and in the 'abstract' piano pieces, there is an exquisite sense of color and in Interlude II especially, a mellifluous lyricism that is a far cry from the angular dissonances of the first sonata. The most recent work here, The Forbidden, from 2006, suggests an even closer approach to a kind of Romantic æsthetic, already apparent in 2002's organic and mercurial, single movement second sonata, in a long-breathed, continuous span.