Steffen Schleiermacher

Josef Matthias Hauer: Melodies and Preludes for Well-Tempered Instrument

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

In the 1920s and 1930s, Arnold Schoenberg developed his "method of composing with twelve tones which are related only with one another," as he described it, or as it is more concisely called, twelve-tone music or dodecaphony. Yet in approximately the same time period, Schoenberg's colleague Josef Matthias Hauer began experimenting with arrangements of pitches in what he called tropes, which also involved cycling through all 12 tones before any could be repeated. Yet in spite of their shared ideas and similar methods, there is a considerable difference between Schoenberg's and Hauer's results, chiefly in the area of expression. Schoenberg's music often conveyed disjointedness, angularity, and conflict, while Hauer's interest in balance and the logical unfolding of ideas called for a slower and calmer approach. In this three-CD set from MDG, Steffen Schleiermacher performs the complete Melodies and Preludes, which give a thorough presentation of Hauer's methods and expressions. Schleiermacher recorded these pieces on piano, harmonium, and celesta, so there is a mix of tone colors that helps break up the constant flow of single lines and simple counterpoint, usually presented in steady rhythms and moderate to slow tempos that tend toward monotony. The drama and energy that course through Schoenberg's best music are absent in Hauer's, and his keyboard works have a rather dry, academic feeling that is best appreciated by hearing a few pieces at a time. However, the Preludes for celesta are strangely delightful and stand out as the most appealing selections in this comprehensive set.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Melodies, Op. 22 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
1
1.
3:36
2
2.
2:58
3 4:22
4 1:57
5 4:41
6 5:19
7 4:46
8 6:10
9 6:22
10 5:43
Melodies, Op. 31 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
11
1.
2:22
12
2.
2:43
Melodies, Op. 32 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
13
1.
2:02
14
2.
1:25
15 5:17

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:49
2 5:51
3 5:05
Melodies, Op. 37 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
4
1.
2:02
5
2.
1:26
6
3.
2:08
Melodies, Op. 38 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
7
1.
0:56
8
2.
1:10
9
3.
1:24
Melodies, Op. 39 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
10
1.
4:54
11
2.
0:59
12
3.
1:04
Melodies, Op. 40 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
13
1.
3:43
14
2.
1:37
15
3.
1:03
Melodies, Op. 41 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
16
1.
1:33
17
2.
0:20
18
3.
1:40
19 2:17
Melodies, Op. 43 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
20
1.
1:10
21
2.
1:48
22
3.
1:49
23
4.
2:57
24 3:22
25 3:09

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:06
2 6:12
3 3:31
4 4:17
5 2:38
Melodies, Op. 50 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
6
1.
2:26
7
2.
5:33
Melodies, Op. 51 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
8
1.
2:28
9
2.
2:21
10
3.
1:26
Melodies, Op. 52 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
11
1.
1:38
12
2.
1:44
13
3.
0:36
14
4.
1:40
Melodies, Op. 53 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
15
1.
2:56
16
2.
2:30
17
3.
1:34
18
4.
3:06
Melodies, Op. 54 (Melodies and Preludes for the Well-Tempered Instrument)
19
1.
5:43
20
2.
1:22
21 2:30
blue highlight denotes track pick