Joachim Kjelsaas Kwetzinsky

Polyphonic Dialogues

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The phrase "polyphonic dialogues" is used in the realm of psychology and music therapy to indicate, according to Norwegian pianist Joachim Kwetzinsky in his notes to this unusual release, "the affirmation of someone else's consciousness" in conversation. The "dialogue" constructed here follows that pattern only in general terms. Contemporary Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin crossed paths with Dmitry Shostakovich several times and received key support from him, but the relationship between his 24 Preludes and Fugues for piano, begun in 1964 almost 15 years after Shostakovich's set, at first seems to contain nothing that couldn't be covered by simpler concepts like influence and tradition. Kwetzinsky's program is of a risky sort: he breaks up discrete works -- the two sets of preludes and fugues -- and mixes them together, with alternating pairs of preludes and fugues from each set, introduced and concluded with pieces by Shchedrin that set a mood for the eclectic and somewhat experimental qualities of the whole thing. Described in the abstract, the project doesn't seem promising; Shostakovich's set of preludes and fugues is not like Bach's, and Shchedrin's is still less so. Both were meant to be performed whole and contain internal dynamics that are lost when excerpted. Yet Kwetzinsky's performance works strangely well. The preludes and fugues are organized by key and motivic content in such a way that they really do seem to be having a kind of dialogue, with Shchedrin seeming to pick up Shostakovich's ideas in an almost subconscious way (although certainly the Shostakovich set was his conscious model). What's really at issue here is the nature of Shostakovich's influence, which exerted itself on a whole variety of composers both inside and outside Russia and has yet to be fully described and appreciated. Kwetzinsky makes an important contribution to the recorded literature examining the nature of influence, with a disc that can profitably be listened to over and over. A strong outing from the always intriguing Norwegian label 2L. Booklet notes are in English and Norwegian.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Two Polyphonic Pieces
1 4:30
24 Preludes and Fugues
2 0:37
3 1:40
4 0:46
5 3:28
Op. 87
6 0:59
7 1:31
8 2:53
9 5:02
24 Preludes and Fugues
10 1:14
11 2:16
12 0:31
13 2:02
Op. 87
14 1:45
15 1:49
16 1:34
17 2:43
24 Preludes and Fugues
18 1:14
19 2:14
20 2:00
21 1:56
Op. 87
22 4:54
23 3:52
24 3:06
25 1:59
24 Preludes and Fugues
26 0:41
27 2:37
28 0:51
29 1:25
25 Polyphonic Preludes (Polyphonic Notebook)
30 1:41
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