commentary to opus 7

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Invocation52 for piano solo op. 7 (1952)


Beginning of Invocation52

First performance:
March 1969, Bratislava, Broadcast
Peter Roggenkamp

Duration: 5 Minutes

Publisher: N. Simrock Hamburg-London (Boosey & Hawkes) EE 2947 / ISMN M-2211-0848-7


The piano piece Invocation52, op. 7 was my first compositional - and somewhat individual - involvement with the serial technique of Arnold Schönberg. Bitonal chords, forming sounds containing the complete chromatic material, appear alongside their linear resolutions, in each case supported by held notes and in rhythmic variation. The formal framework is supplied by two "invocations", based on identical musical material, ending both times on the note e-flat, fading at the end in ppp.

Bertold Hummel


Here there are hardly any fixed structures anymore, the whole piece is constantly dissolved in linear quasi-arabesques of melting contours, rhetorical in its whole essence. "Invocation" means appeal or conjuring-up. This music lives entirely on the strength of an experience in sonority, has a nothing less than magical effect. Compared with the sonority, the structure has only secondary significance. And yet, there is even in this music a component which betrays - as so often in Hummel - the mathematician: after 10 rhapsodic introductory bars, a four-bar idea follows, in which six notes are assembled in layers of thirds to form columns of major or minor chords, thus exemplifying Zarlino's dual principle (bars 10-14). After these four bars, 24 bars of free rhapsody follow, which, despite their loosely worked texture, create the formal framework. Remarkably in all this, the fermata at the end of the four bars described above is placed more or less precisely at the "sectio aurea "!

Klaus Hinrich Stahmer (in "Die Kammermusik als persönliches Bekenntnis", Tutzing, 1998)

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