Alexander Zemlinsky is best remembered for his Lyric Symphony, his tone poem Die Siejungfrau and his operas — all works that take full advantage of orchestral color and the inherent lyricism of the human voice.
I was quite interested, then, to hear his solo piano works. What would Zemlinsky’s music sound like stripped down to its essence?
As it turns out, it sounds quite nice. Zemlinsky only wrote a handful of piano pieces, most of them in the very early part of his career.
Stylistically, they owe much to Brahms and Schumann — especially the short little pieces of Ländliche Tänze, Op. 1 and Fantasien über Gedichte von Richard Dehmel, Op. 9 But the
melodies are all Zemlinsky. Rather than sounding derivative, the works are nicely turned miniatures.
These are by no means major works — but not everything has to be. These piano works are well-constructed pieces, with rich romantic harmonies and engaging melodies. And that’s enough for
Alexander Zemlinsky: A Ray of Light Complete Piano Music
Emanuele Torquati, piano
Brilliant Classics 95067