Alban Berg

Klavierstück, in C sharp minor

    Description by Blair Johnston

    Berg's C sharp minor Klavierstück (ca. 1907 - 1908 -- a student piece) is in many ways very like the C minor Klavierstück composed just a little bit earlier, and it probably isn't too fanciful to wonder if the C sharp minor piece was intended as a development, on a slightly larger scale, of the same ideas -- the same musical patterns and impetus -- that generated the C minor piece. The bold chordal writing, supported by strong octaves in the left hand, at the beginning of the C sharp minor Klavierstück is laid out as a near-facsimile of the other piece's beginning; and the way that a triplet figure appears almost immediately, and then comes eventually to dominate the proceedings, is again strikingly similar to what happens at the start of the C minor piece. The Klavierstück in C sharp minor is a kind of proto-scherzo, a 46-bar preparation (assigned by Berg's teacher Schoenberg) for the task of composing a real, full-sized scherzo.

    The piece is laid out in three short sections of nearly equal length, ABA in their relationship to one another. The music moves into E major for the middle portion. The A section reprise (bar 29 on) veers off at the end to form an exciting, fortissimo seven-bar coda, above which Berg wrote the words "immer rasch" -- faster and faster.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2003 Extraplatte 764005
    2003 Scandinavian Classics 220531
    2000 Stradivarius 33429