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by Tomoko Uchino

________________________ Copyright © Tomoko Uchino 2007

A Document Submitted to the Faculty of the SCHOOL OF MUSIC In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR OF MUSICAL ARTS In the Graduate College THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA


THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA GRADUATE COLLEGE As members of the Final Examination Committee, we certify that we have read the document prepared by Tomoko Uchino entitled An Analysis of Three Impromptus for Piano Op. 68 by Lowell Liebermann and recommend that it be accepted as fulfilling the document requirement for the Degree of Doctor of Musical Arts.

Date: 6/15/07 Rex Woods Date: 6/15/07 Paula Fan Date: 6/15/07 Janet Sturman Final approval and acceptance of this document is contingent upon the candidate’s submission of the final copies of the document to the Graduate College. I hereby certify that I have read this document prepared under my direction and recommend that it be accepted as fulfilling the document requirement.

Date: 6/15/07 Document Director: Rex Woods


This document has been submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for an advanced degree at the University of Arizona and is deposited in the University Library to be made available to borrowers under rules of the Library. Brief quotations from this document are allowable without special permission, provided that accurate acknowledgement of source is made. Requests for permission for extended quotation from or reproduction of this manuscript in whole or in part may be granted by the copy right holder.

Signed:________________________________________ Tomoko Uchino

special thanks to my family and especially to my husband Greg for his never-ending support and encouragement through the years of working on this project. for his patience. Paula Fan. I thank the publishers who gave me permissions to use their music as examples in this document. David Korevaar and Antonio Pompa-Baldi for taking their time to answer my questions regarding the Three Impromptus and issues related to the work.ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This document could not have been made possible without those who assisted me over the course of research. Janet Sturman who kindly stepped in at the last minute to fill in for Prof. for her advice and support during the years of my degree. I would like to express my sincere gratitude towards Lowell Liebermann. Theodore Presser. G. writing and endless editing: Dr. Dr. and Dr. Finally and most importantly. Henle Verlag and Dover Editions. Rex Woods. I am also greatly in debt to Academic Student adviser Lyneen Elmore who guided me through the process. . Nicholas Zumbro. guidance and expertise in critical writing.

......................... Op........................ INTERVIEW WITH LOWELL LIEBERMANN..................................... 16 Liebermann as Pianist... 21 CHAPTER III A BRIEF HISTORY OF IMPROMPTUS Voříšek’s Impromptus.................................................................................. ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH DAVID KOREVAAR.... 11 ................... 24 34 Schubert’s Impromptus............................................................................... 52 Impromptu II................................................................ 97 .............................................. 68 Impromptu I........................................................................................ 95 ............................................................................ 74 CHAPTER V APPENDIX A APPENDIX B APPENDIX C REFERENCES SUMMARY......................... 64 Impromptu III................................................................................................ 12 INTRODUCTION.............. 83 86 93 ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH ANTONIO POMPA-BALDI..................................................................................................5 TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF FIGURES LIST OF TABLES ABSTRACT CHAPTER I CHAPTER II ............................. 13 BACKGROUND INFORMATION A Brief Biography of Lowell Liebermann............................ Later Composers’ Impromptus................. 6 ....................................................................................... 28 CHAPTER IV AN ANALYSIS OF THREE IMPROMPTUS.........................................................

... 25 Voříšek Impromptu in D major.........5 FIGURE 3. Op....... 1.2b FIGURE 3.. 5........ 4. Op..... Bars 1-4....1..6 Voříšek Impromptu in C major........ Bars 1-9..4a FIGURE 3........3 FIGURE 3.............. Bars 1-4.. 33 33 34 35 Schumann Impromptus Op. 5..3 FIGURE 3.. 7 No.3. D 899 No....... 6...... D 899 No............. Bars 1-6... 5.. Schumann Impromptus Op.. Op.. D 899 No..........1.... Schumann Impromptus Op.......2. Variation II.... Bars 123-125...... 40 ....... 9......3.......1e FIGURE 3......... 25 Voříšek Impromptu in G major. Bars 1-4...3... Chopin Fantasy-Impromptu in C-sharp minor.1........ Op..... Bars 83-86.... 7 No... 26 26 30 Reichardt Erlkönig..... Bars 1-4.2....... 7 No.. Bars 1-8. Schumann Albumblätter Op.......3.1b FIGURE 3.. 29.. 26 Voříšek Impromptu in A major. Bars 1-8......2. 124 No. Voříšek Impromptu in B major...2. Bars 1-4...... Op............... 1.. Bars 1-16........2a FIGURE 3....1..3...3.6 LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE 3. 124 No................. Op.3... 32 Schubert Erlkönig.......1c FIGURE 3........ Schumann Albumblätter Op...... 7 No..4b FIGURE 3... Bars 1-4....1a FIGURE 3.......... 5. 2...2 FIGURE 3. Schubert Impromptu in E-flat major.........4a FIGURE 3.. 7 No... 66.3.. 2... Bars 1-4......1..1 FIGURE 3. Variation VII.. 1....1.... 36 37 37 38 39 Chopin Impromptu in A-flat major...... Op.2..... 3............... Bars 1-3... Bars 1-3..1f FIGURE 3. Theme.. Bars 1-16... Bars 1-4.. Op.... 5.. Variation I........ 36 Schumann Impromptus Op. Schubert Impromptu in C minor... 2.... Bars 1-8.......... 7 No.....1d FIGURE 3.........4b FIGURE 3... Schubert Impromptu in E-flat major..1 FIGURE 3... 26 Voříšek Impromptu in E major...

..... Schubert Impromptu in E-flat major..... 3 in A-flat major. Op.. Bars 49-57. 41 Glazunov Impromptu in D-flat major... Bars 37-41.... Bars 35-37.........3.. Scriabin Impromptu.3.. Bars 1-4..... Bars 1-10.... Bars 1-8....3.3... Bars 1-16..................7a FIGURE 3.10c FIGURE 3.12 FIGURE 3...... Schubert Impromptu in G-flat major..... 2 in F minor.. Bars 1-7. Bars 1-9.. 68... Glazunov Impromptu Op..14b FIGURE 3...11 FIGURE 3..3.... Bars 1-12......8 FIGURE 3. Scriabin Impromptu.1.. Bars 1-7....... Scriabin Impromptu.... 47 Fauré Impromptu No. 2 in F minor...... 54 No...... 48 Fauré Impromptu No.......... 31... Op...3...3......... Bars 1-4. 2....4 FIGURE 4.. 3....... 42 43 43 44 44 45 46 Poulenc La Carpe from Le Bestiaire.. Op...3 FIGURE 4......9 FIGURE 3. Op.... 7 No........... D 899 No............ 49 Liebermann Three Impromptus Op..3..5 Chopin Impromptu in F-sharp major.... D 899 No.1. 7 No................ 1.15 FIGURE 4.. 29............ Bars 35-40......3.... Bars 1-6.. 53 54 55 55 57 ....................10a FIGURE 3..... 31.7 LIST OF FIGURES – Continued FIGURE 3........... 2.. Poulenc Impromptu II................1..............1 FIGURE 4..3.......3........ Op.. Op..14a FIGURE 3.7b FIGURE 3.......13 FIGURE 3... Schubert Nacht und Träume... Bars 86-95.......1..... Op. 49 Fauré Impromptu No...... Op........ 7 No........... 25........ Fauré Impromptu No.... 40 Chopin Impromptu in A-flat major.2.1... Poulenc Le Dramadaire from Le Bestiaire........... Bars 1-10. 2....2 FIGURE 4. 1 in E-flat major...10b FIGURE 3.... Bars 1-5..... Bars 1-7..........3.. 54 No......3.............. Op...... Impromptu I.... 34.. 36........... Op. 1.....

. Liebermann Three Impromptus Op................. Impromptu I and II Main Motives.........4 66 ..... 58 59 59 60 61 62 63 63 63 65 65 66 FIGURE 4..................... 68.................. Impromptu I Bars 23-30........2 FIGURE 4............................. 68...1........................... Impromptu II Bars 1-2................1 FIGURE 4.... 68....................................... Prokofiev Violin Concerto No............. 68.. Schumann Im wunderschönen Monat Mai from Dichterliebe Bars 23-26... 68.. 68....7 FIGURE 4..8 LIST OF FIGURES – Continued FIGURE 4.. Liebermann Three Impromptus Op. Bars 1-4........................9b FIGURE 4.3 Liebermann Three Impromptus Op.........2............ Bars 1-6.......... Liebermann Variations on Theme by Anton Bruckner........................... Impromptu I Bars 43-50.......11 FIGURE 4........ Op...........2.....1.13 FIGURE 4.........1.... Impromptu I Bars 63-65....12 FIGURE 4.............. Impromptu I Bars 59-60...................2......1......... 68...... Liebermann Three Impromptus Op.. Impromptu I Bars 63-72.8 FIGURE 4..... Liebermann Three Impromptus Op..6 FIGURE 4........ 19 Violin Solo Line.......1. Liebermann Three Impromptus Op................................................1... Schumann Aus meinen Tränen spriessen from Dichterliebe Bars 1-3...... Op............. Liebermann Three Impromptus Op....1.. Liebermann Three Impromptus Op....9a FIGURE 4.... Impromptu I Bars 63-78.............10 FIGURE 4................... 68.............1... Liebermann Three Impromptus Op............1....... Impromptu I Bars 36-38...... 1 in D major.... 68..2.... 19 Variation III.....

68..............3b FIGURE 4................4 FIGURE 4................... 68............ Bars 1-2................2 FIGURE 4..2.............. Bars 1-2...2.. 68..9 FIGURE 4.. Bars 1-2.2....... Liebermann Three Impromptus Op.. Liebermann Three Impromptus Op........3a FIGURE 4... Liebermann Three Impromptus Op...........1 FIGURE 4.............. Impromptu III Melodic Fragments...5 FIGURE 4. Impromptus I and III Bars 1-2..3.... Liebermann Three Impromptus Op... Impromptu II Bars 51-53.. Liebermann Three Impromptus Op.......8 FIGURE 4..........................3.... Impromptu II Two Patterns from Section B.3...... 68.......................3...... Impromptu II Bars 13-16...........7 FIGURE 4.... 68......... 76 Liebermann Three Impromptus Op.... 77 77 78 80 ..........6 FIGURE 4............. 68... 68 69 70 70 71 73 74 76 Liebermann Three Impromptus Op. Liebermann Three Impromptus Op. Liebermann Three Impromptus Op............................................9 LIST OF FIGURES – Continued FIGURE 4.......2. Impromptu III Melody Line.. 68.. 68............... Liebermann Three Impromptus Op.. 68..... 43 Bars 1-12... Impromptu II Bars 7-10................... Impromptu III Alternate Melody Line..................6 Liebermann Three Impromptus Op...................3..... 68.2...3...........2...3.....5 FIGURE 4......... Liebermann Three Impromptus Op. Impromptu II Bars 17-20....................... Impromptu III Bars 42-46............... 68.... Impromptu III Bars 23-30........... 68....... Liebermann Lullaby from Album for the Young Op............ Impromptu II Bars 33-37........10 FIGURE 4..

...3............ Liebermann Three Impromptus Op..................... 2 Op.8 FIGURE 4....... 31 Bar 34........ 68.. 68.9 Liebermann Nocturne No..... 81 82 .........7 FIGURE 4....3.............................10 LIST OF FIGURES – Continued FIGURE 4....... Impromptu III Bars 79-102.................. Impromptu III Bars 62-64. 80 Liebermann Three Impromptus Op.......3.....................

...1. Op....3............ 67 Bass Line of Impromptu III.1..... 1..2.... 27 Form of Impromptu I: Liebermann Three Impromptus Op.. Bars 23-53: Liebermann Three Impromptus Op. 68........ 52 Form of Impromptu II: Liebermann Three Impromptus Op....11 LIST OF TABLES TABLE 3... 7 No.. 79 ...1 TABLE 4..1 Form of Voříšek Impromptu in C major. 68..1 TABLE 4. 68..1 TABLE 4..


ABSTRACT American composer Lowell Liebermann (b. 1961) wrote his Three Impromptus Op. 68 in 2000. They manifest his self-proclaimed intention to be a composer espousing the traditions of Western music and aiming to be part of that continuum. Liebermann’s Impromptus exhibit spontaneity and a sense of improvisation, the most pervasive aspect of the antecedent Impromptus. His personal lyricism embraces tempo rubato, inventive harmonies, distinctive textures, and dramatic gestures. Liebermann’s Impromptus, however, are tightly organized works employing simple motives that unify individual Impromptus within a basic tripartite template. This study begins with a brief summary of Liebermann’s life and then examines antecedent examples of Impromptus by Jan Vaclav Voříšek (1791-1825) and Franz Schubert (1797-1828) as well as some of the prominent composers from the 19th and 20th centuries, including Gabriel Fauré. A thorough analysis of Liebermann’s Impromptus constitutes the body of the document. Appendices contain transcriptions of the author’s interview with the composer himself, as well Antonio Pompa-Baldi and David Korevaar who have performed and recorded the Impromptus. These contemporary commentators confirm the value of comparing Liebermann’s music to earlier models to better understand how he creates his unique sound environment.


CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION American Composer, Lowell Liebermann (b. 1961) composed his Three Impromptus Op. 68 in 2000 for the 100th anniversary commemoration of Yaddo, a working community of writers, visual artists and composers in Saratoga Springs, New York.1 The same year, the set of pieces was premiered by world-renowned pianist Stephen Hough at Alice Tully Hall in New York City.2 In his review of the premiere performance, the New York Times music critic said, “Lowell Liebermann’s Three Impromptus pay homage to those of Schubert... Mr. Hough’s sensitive performance made the most of the hazy tonal harmonies and seductive piano colors.”3 In 2001, the work won the first American Composers Invitational Competition at the 11th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas.4 The silver medalist Antonio Pompa-Baldi, who won a special award for his performance of the Impromptus, favors the intimate and introspective nature of the work created by the predominantly tonal language and sensitive keyboard writing.5 He also observes that the work has received enthusiastic approval from various audiences and music critics alike.6

Yaddo was founded by Spencer Trask and his wife in 1900. Since its establishment, artists who have been involved with the colony have won 60 Pulitzer Prizes, 56 National Book Awards, a Nobel Prize, and countless other honors. Aaron Copland, Virgil Thompson, Ned Rorem, and David del Tredici are among the composers who have been in residence. Lowell Liebermann, Three Impromptus for Piano (King of Prussia, PA: Theodore Presser Co., 2001), Preface. The work was premiered on May 4, 2000. Anthony, Tommasini, Music Review: Celebrating Yaddo With Works It Helped Spawn (New York Times, 9 May 2000, late ed. sec. E, p. 5).
4 3 2


Lowell Liebermann, Three Impromptus for Piano, Preface.


Liebermann’s reputation had spread beyond the classical music world in 1998 when his Piano Concerto No. 2 received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.7 This achievement caught the attention of the academic world and in 2003, a stylistic analysis of the concerto was written by a doctoral piano student, Wei-Hui Yu, at the University of Northern Colorado.8 There have been a couple of others completed by doctoral students: Mayumi Kikuchi from the University of Illinois wrote her doctoral dissertation on selected Liebermann piano works in 1999: Gargoyles, op. 29 and Piano Sonata No. 2, op. 10; and Dean Alan Nichols, the University of Kentucky student, completed his on the composer’s keyboard works in 2000. The latter contains a thorough analysis of the composer’s most well-known piano work, Gargoyles, as well as all of the other pieces for the instrument up to 1996.9 Therefore, no significant study of the Impromptus exists today. The primary intention of this document is to introduce the Three Impromptus for Piano to the reader by examining this work and exploring to what degree Liebermann

5 Pompa-Baldi, Antonio, Piano Instructor at Cleveland Institute of Music. Interview by author through e-mail correspondances on 13 January 2005.

Antonio Pompa-Baldi, “Three Impromptus by Liebermann: Music Performed in the 2001 Cliburn Competition,” Clavier 41 (September 2002): 26.
7 8


[], accessed on January 14, 2005.

Wei-Hui Yu, “A Stylistic Analysis of Piano Concerto No. 2 Op. 36 by Lowell Liebermann” (D.M.A. diss., University of Northern Colorado, 2003).
9 Mayumi Kikuchi, “The Piano Works of Lowell Liebermann: Compositional Aspects in Selected Works” (D.M.A. diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999); Dean Alan Nichols, “A Survey of the Piano Works of Lowell Liebermann” (D.M.A. diss., Lexington, University of Kentucky, 2000). In 2005, Aryo Wicksono, then an honors undergraduate pianist at the University of Arizona, wrote yet another analysis of Liebermann’s Gargoyles, Op. 29 for Solo Piano, augmenting and challenging aspects of Nichol’s analysis.

Liebermann mentioned that Fauré was an important composer for him in terms of treatment of harmony and harmonic progression.11 Thus. This exploration begins with a concise history of the Impromptu form with a brief survey of works bearing this title by composers in the past.15 combines identifiable ideas from the past and the present to create his personal writing style. would be important to this study. particularly Fantasy-Impromptu. For a full transcript of the interview with the composer see Appendix below. encompassing motivic development and examining how the composer manipulates sound parameters to create his unique sound environment. The Impromptus of Schubert will serve as comparative and influential antecedents to Liebermann’s Impromptus. especially for the keyboard. . 11 Ibid. In addition. It will be followed by indepth analysis of Liebermann’s use of the form. 10 During the interview. Also included in this document. Chopin Impromptus are discussed not as a comparison but only as part of the evolution of the genre. we will also briefly review certain elements of Fauré’s harmonic language as an important influence on Liebermann’s writing. New Jersey.10 Although one might suppose Chopin Impromptus. are a current version of Liebermann’s biography and a transcript of an interview with the composer on the piece as well as on his philosophy of composing and contemporary music. the composer was not thinking of them as the antecedent. The interview took place at his residence on 3 February 2005 in Weehawken.

like many of her forbearers in the great value of art. a concert pianist at the turn of the century who once studied with Joseph Hoffman. Her approach to composing was to combine European musical tradition with contemporary language and to experiment 12 The biographical information was taken from several sources.12 Although his parents. He continued his piano lessons all through his teenage years. they enjoyed and appreciated music. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Living just outside of Manhattan provided opportunities for the family to attend concerts and operas in a regular basis.. html]. When Lowell was six. Baker's biographical dictionary of twentieth-century classical musicians (New York : Schirmer Books. 1997).M. “A Survey of the Piano Works of Lowell Liebermann”.. diss. “The Piano Works of Lowell Liebermann: Compositional Aspects in Selected Works” (D. [ body. Dean Alan Nichols. Mayumi Kikuchi. New York that Lowell started studying with Ruth Schonthal (1924-2006) who gave him formal instruction in composition in addition to his piano lessons. Ignacy Jan Paderewsky and Theodore Leschetitzky. 1999). Lowell Liebermann. to Westchester. also of German descent and a pupil of Paul Hindemith and Manuel Ponce. New York on February 22. may have had a great influence on young Lowell. were not musicians. She was of German heritage and strongly believed. One of his teachers was Ada Segal. ed.A. 2006.16 CHAPTER II: BACKGROUND INFORMATION A Brief Biography of Lowell Liebermann Lowell Liebermann was born in Forest Hills. As for his composition lessons. Schonthal. 1961. Nicholas Slonimsky. Edward and Nicole Liebermann. accessed on August. it was not until his family moved from Queens. his mother encouraged two of her sons to start taking piano lessons. . New York.lowellliebermann.

14 15 16 Lowell Liebermann. had a duty explore uncharted musical terrain. (KOCH International Classics 3-7552-2 HI (CD).” Mayumi Kikuchi. mastery of counterpoint and texture. 13 Who’s Who in American Music. it was assumed that living composers. Lento. “Schonthal (-Seckel). 1. especially those in musical academia. Presto. Nichols. 15. 5. perpetuated styles which had been considered avant-garde while ignoring trends outside of academy. Nichols. he gave the debut performance of this work at the Carnegie Recital Hall at the age of fifteen. Liebermann won the First Prize at the National Composition Contest sponsored by the Music Teachers National Association in 1978 and the Outstanding Composition Award from the Yamaha Music Foundation in 1982. During the time he spent at Juilliard in the 1980s. II. [2004]). consequently. . 1. 1. In 1977.14 This four-movement work (Adagio. as well as being a showcase for Liebermann’s technical prowess at the keyboard although most of the work sounds contrived and academic. 15.v. Presto strepitoso) is a remarkably sophisticated work for a young composer and demonstrated creative promise. Ruth.13 It was with her that Liebermann wrote his Piano Sonata No.16 In 1979. Liebermann was accepted at The Juilliard School to continue his studies under composer David Diamond with whom he had already been taking lessons for a year. s. His document includes a thorough analysis of Liebermann’s Piano Sonata No. many academic composers.15 The slow movements exhibit one of the most important characteristics of the composer’s music – lyricism. The use of ostinato. and many flavors of virtuosity in the faster movements are also Liebermann’s characteristics seen in his future pieces. Vol. “Piano Music. Ironically.” Performed and Liner notes written by David Korevaar.17 with structure and extended tonality.

Diamond would not approve of tonal music and would insist that he put down wrong notes in the music to make it sound “modern. Liebermann declares his composing philosophy is to write pieces that follow the tradition of Western Classical Music: 17 Nichols. with an inventive use of rich harmonic language from the Romantic and even the Impressionistic eras. (1997). no.” “Post-Modern. Terry Teachout.” or “Neo-Romantic” in contrast to more traditional composers of the twentieth-century American classical music such as Roger Sessions. and Milton Babbitt.”18 Some critics seem to view the composer’s style of writing as not as contemporary or modern but as something old which does not fit into music of our time. These composers were considered as “Post-Romantic.18 Liebermann’s recollection of an incident describes such tendencies in a vivid way: during his lessons. Some critics categorize Liebermann’s compositions as “Neo-Romantic” or “NeoTonal. and William Bolcom.” “Neo-Tonal. This label comes from his pieces being predominantly tonal.” Commentary 104.” This realization ultimately led him to decide to switch teachers from Diamond to Vincent Persichetti. 156-157. but needed to write down what came out of his true creative “well. 18 . As a result. Edgard Varèse. 6.”17 Liebermann eventually had to come to terms with the fact that he was not happy writing what the world of music critics and academics wanted to hear. he found himself sharing a path several twentieth-century composers who did not fit into the tradition of American experimental music such as David Del Tredici. “The New Tonalists.

which started several years before composition lessons. Yamaha Artist Services. Lowell Liebermann knew that he was going to become a composer. This dogged determination perhaps earned him his current status.” [http://www.yamaha. “A Survey of the Piano Works of Lowell Liebermann” (D. 21 . interview with the author.html].”21 Despite this rather pessimistic view of the profession. 3 February 2005.. even before he began his formal composition studies at the age of fourteen.19 This close connection to the Western European tradition is possibly attributable to some of Schonthal’s values and influence. accessed on June 6. 2005. University of Kentucky. 20 Dean Alan Nichols. he chose his dream to become a successful composer. I am interested in the traditions of Western music and am interested in working in that continuum. He also recalls the time when his first composition teacher told him that being a professional composer was not going to be easy and “many selfclaimed composers would have to make their living by teaching and would end up not having their pieces performed.20 He recalls his desire to put down some notes on a piece of paper to create music without comprehending what he was actually writing while he was taking his piano lessons. Liebermann may be one of the most prolific and the most performed American contemporary 19 Lowell Liebermann. 2000): 155-156.M. “Natural Born Composer: Lowell Liebermann. Lexington. which is why I always named my pieces Sonatas and Concertos and what-not because I want to put forth a clear message that I am part of that tradition.A. diss.19 I am not one of those of composers who believe that important art is always a radical break with the past. com/publications/accent/Accent402/09liebermann.

his Symphony No. Review of Lowell Liebermann: Piano Music. two symphonies. several song cycles and instrumental and chamber works as well as a great number of piano solo works. the Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra Op. 23 24 22 ASCAP stands for American Society of Composers. 21 June 2003. his latest composition is Piano Concerto No. At the age of forty-five. Walter Simmons. According to Liebermann’s official website. His Flute Concerto was commissioned by James Galway in 1992 and was given its premiere by the flutist on November 6th.24 Since opus 23. 3 Op. Fanfare 27 (Jan-Feb 2004): 145. 1 KOCH International Classics 7548 performed by David Korevaar. the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. 95. every piece has been commissioned25 and his wide range of works include three piano concerti. Victor Herbert/ASCAP23 Awards. The concerto was commissioned by a consortium of eighteen orchestras and was premiered in May 2006. . Vol. Late Edition. 2 was composed and premiered by the DSO and Chorus in February 2000 and a couple of months later.20 composers of his generation. Anne Midgette. 25 Nichols. Accessed in August. Inwardness and Showmanship in the Quirky and Familiar.” New York Times. written for the Spoleto Festival. 157. Authors and Publishers Awards. 4. and the American Composers’ Invitational Award at the Eleventh Van Cliburn Competition. Sonata for Flute and Piano. 2006. “Classical Music Review. two operas. 1992 with the Saint Louis Symphony. While holding a position of a composer-in-residence at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra between 1998 and 2002. 64 was given its first performance by Philip Smith and the New York Philharmonic under the Kurt Mazur. some of the large works were written.22 His achievements so far include top awards from several national and international competitions such as the Delius International Composition Contest. his œuvres exceed opus 95.

the Silver-Medalist of 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano .26 Pompa-Baldi. Currently Liebermann works as a full-time composer. he has written a large number of pieces for piano. the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Many of his works have been recorded and are available via major labels including RCA Victor Red Seal. the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.21 Distinguished musicians throughout the world such as James Levine. Charles Dutoit. The New York Philharmonic. and his keyboard works have been performed by many pianists. Stephen Hough. Kurt Masur. and he considers the piano as his principal instrument. Nonetheless. L’Opéra de Monte-Carlo premiered Liebermann’s first opera The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1996. Koch and Centaur. the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Liebermann as Pianist Because of Liebermann’s close association with the flutist James Galway and the numerous recordings of Liebermann’s works for flute. His relationship with the instrument began early in life. the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and others have premiered his orchestral works. the composer may be better known by flutists than pianists. Hyperion. Albany. NJ. residing in Weehawken. and the two-act opera Miss Lonelyhearts commissioned by The Juilliard School for its centennial celebration received its premiere by The Juilliard Opera Center in April of 2006. James Galway. Joshua Bell and Jean-Yves Thibaudet have performed his works.

email interview with the author. pedagogue and judicator. have expressed repeatedly that his works possess a favorable pianistic SaratogaBenefit2003. he has become more active as a pianist. performing his Piano Quintet with the members of the Berlin Philharmonic. he debuted in Berlin. Jacob Lateiner is a renowned pianist. interview with the author. The same year. 3 February 2005. the Boston Symphony. Undoubtedly. 13 January 2005. He has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra.29 In 2002. Those who have played Liebermann’s piano music. Antonio Pompa-Baldi. he gave a premiere of his Cello Sonata No. affirms that because Liebermann knows the keyboard as well as any other skilled pianist. “ Yaddo Summer Benefit to feature a Piano Duo. he is able to exploit the instrument to the fullest.shtml]. he continued to take private lessons with Jacob Lateiner28 from whom he gained valuable insights into the instrument.” [http://www. the New York Philharmonic. the BBC Symphony. Yaddo. Erich Leinsdorf. its literature and compositional aspects of the vast piano repertoire that eventually formed the aesthetic of his current writing. presenting other composers’ music as well as his own. Zubin Mehta. 29 . 26 27 28 Lowell Liebermann. Recordings include the premiere of the Carter Piano Concerto and Roger Sessions Piano Sonata No. 3. including myself. In recent years. He also studied composition with Arnold Schoenberg.22 Competition. the Berlin Philharmonic and other orchestras under the baton of Leonard Bernstein. accessed in August 2006.yaddo. Serge Koussevitzky. and Georg Solti. As a chamber musician. He has been a faculty member at Juilliard since 1966. 3 at an all-Liebermann concert presented by the Van Cliburn Foundation on his forty-fifth birthday. this is due to his familiarity with the instrument as a performer. Georg Szell.27 During his studies at The Juilliard School. the Chicago Symphony. he collaborated frequently with Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky as well as with the Amadeus Quartet.

Understanding the strength and weakness of the instrument as well as having in depth knowledge of the keyboard literature maximizes his creativity in composing for the keyboard. . 30 Lowell Liebermann.30 Many of the songs such as Six Songs on Poems of Henry W. 57 demand refined and advanced technique and sensitive musicianship on the keyboard.23 He also collaborated with tenor Robert White in a recording of his [http://www. released on Arabesque in 2004. accessed in August 2006. Longfellow Op.html].lowellliebermann.

the son of a school-master and music teacher in Bohemia (corresponds to the modern Czech Republic).”31 The title Impromptu is thought to have been used for the first time in 1817 in the music periodical Allegemeine musikalische Zeitung. 33 Ibid.24 CHAPTER III: A BRIEF HISTORY OF IMPROMPTUS 1) Voříšek’s Impromptus According to The Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians. diss.” 32 Alan Ira Weiss. 22 and 23. Juilliard School. 7.33 Voříšek. of Jan Václav Voříšek: A Transitional Work Linking Tomášak’s eglogues and Schubert’s Moments Musicaux and Impromptus” (D. “The Impromptus. .32 The Impromptus. usually for piano. “Impromptus. Although his output was cut short due to his early death at the age of thirty-four. 2nd ed. In 1814.A. 1. Opus 7 were then published in 1822 by Pietro Mechetti in Vienna. April 1977): 1. He received musical training from his father during his teenage years. is a composition. also known as Van Hugo Worzischek. was born in 1791. as the name of a work in B-flat major for piano by Jan Vaclav Voříšek (1791-1825). “in the 19th century and since.v.. Op. s. he successfully produced a number of piano works that 31 The Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musician. an Impromptu.M. along with Heinrich Marschner’s Impromptus Opp. he was a frequent guest at musical soirées that included Beethoven whom he greatly admired.. while a student in Prague. in an offhand or extemporized style or perhaps intended to suggest the result of sudden inspiration.

No.25 appeared to have been popular at the time of their publications. Beethoven was among those who formed a favorable opinion on Voříšek’s music. 7 are cheerful and charming pieces whose tempo indications – Allegro. According to some sources. Although the author made attempts to get a hold of the publisher and its distributor. 35 . 1 in C major) Bars 1-4 (Example 3. it seems to be that the music is no longer under copyright.1.1.1a to 3. (Examples 3. The date of publication is unknown.1a – Voříšek Impromptus Op. 7. Allegro Moderato or Allegretto – are strikingly uniform. 6.1f)35 The use of major keys also supports the consistency of the cheerful characters in this opus.34 The six Impromptus of Op.1. 7.1. No. 2 in G major) Bars 1-3 34 Ibid. (Example 3. The examples are taken from an edition by Export Artia in Prague.1b – Voříšek Impromptus Op.

26 (Example 3. 6 in B major) Bars 1-6 . 3 in D major) Bars 1-4 (Example 3. No. No.1. 5 in E major) Bars 1-4 (Example 3. No. 7.1.1c – Voříšek Impromptus Op.1e – Voříšek Impromptus Op. 7.1.1d – Voříšek Impromptus Op. 7. 4 in A major) Bars 1-4 (Example 3.1f – Voříšek Impromptus Op. 7.1. No.

The first piece is set in C major and an extra sharp is added to the key signature as one goes onto the next piece. modulates to G major and then back to C. that a more accurate representation of the form is ABA-CDC-ABA. Voříšek studied the violin and composition under his father.1) The middle section of the Impromptus.36 The A section begins in a major key. . (Table 3. for instance. CDC. modulates to either its relative minor or dominant using the same theme. 1) Section Key Sign A C repeat B G A C repeat/fine C a repeat D e C a repeat Da capo The pieces are numbered in ascending order of difficulty and length. housing at its center a contrasting sub-section in another key. No. relying instead on repeat signs and the Da Capo sign. (Table 3.Voříšek Impromptus Op. begins in C major.1 . therefore.1. One might argue. and returns to the tonic. These pieces manifest an inherent improvisational quality in that each piece derives from a single musical idea. The first Impromptu. Perhaps Voříšek intended that pieces be studied in sequence so that the student would have a bigger challenge with each new piece. 8. 7. Voříšek never wrote out the second ABA section. is built on new thematic material though it is closely related to the outer sections. each large section. and he also learned how to 36 Ibid.27 All of the Impromptus are in an expanded ABA form.


improvise at the keyboard.37 His improvisational skill may suggest that he wrote down what he “improvised” at the piano, or at least that he generated his principal material through improvisation. Regardless of how these pieces actually came to life, it is plausible that the reason he called them Impromptus may have been to encourage the performer to play in an extemporaneous manner.

2) Schubert’s Impromptus

Some of the most celebrated Impromptus of all time were composed by Franz Schubert (1797-1828) relatively close to the time of Voříšek’s Opus 7. Schubert composed a total of eight Impromptus. The first set of four Impromptus, D 899, Op. 90 was named by the publisher in 1827, a decade after Voříšek’s first publication. The remaining four, however, were named by the composer.38 Although he did not conceive the earlier pieces as “Impromptus,” perhaps Schubert endorsed the publisher’s choice, leading him to subsequently adopt it himself. It is believed that Schubert conceived a second set, D 935, Op. post. 142, as a continuation of the first set, by numbering the four Impromptus in the second volume Nos. 5 through 8.39 Although these numbers were eventually corrected by Schubert to Nos. 1 through 4, it may be appropriate that the


Ibid, 4.

Charles Fisk, Returning Cycles: Contexts for the Interpretation of Schubert’s Impromptus and Last Sonatas (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001):141-142. Schubert Impromptus D 935, Op. post. 142, First edition, Critical Notes (Vienna: Wiener Urtext Edition, 1973): X.



Impromptus in both volumes can be played either singly or in smaller groups or as a set. The Impromptus of Voříšek and Schubert bear some similarities and differences. Both composers use the same overall Ternary Form. Voříšek’s Impromptus show an interesting kind of ABA form: Ternary Form within Ternary Form (ABA-CDC-ABA) whereas Schubert uses a similar structure in some of his eight Impromptus though they show far greater formal diversity and thematical and musical development. The A-flat major Impromptu may be one of the best examples. This comparatively short eighty-six measure piece, compared to the others written by the composer, some of which as long as five-hundred, has a beautiful theme embedded in a Sarabande rhythm. Beginning in Aflat major leads to a clear section break with a double-bar and a change of key signature. The middle section is set in the subdominant key. Here, however, is one of the significant differences between Schubert and Voříšek works: the latter simply had a Fine marking sign at the end of the first section and Da Capo at the end of the middle section. Schubert, however, marks the middle section “Trio” instead, even though the piece is not marked “Scherzo,” and still writes out the second A section. In fact, Schubert uses the same marking in the A-flat minor Impromptu. The Trio section in both of Schubert’s pieces contrast more dramatically with the main sections than in parallel places in Voříšek’s Impromptus. The Bohemian composer seems to organize his pieces through one musical idea that is subtly developed in the middle section. He does not move far from the tonic but uses its dominant or relative key as a new key. Schubert, on the other hand, often modulates to a distant key; for example, the Trio section of the A-flat minor Impromptu is in C-sharp minor, using A-flat as the


pivot to the fifth scale degree of the new key. The material of the Trio is completely new. As a result, the music conveys a different character not unlike the way a B section of a Da Capo Aria introduces a new thought or emotion. It is also interesting that Schubert writes out the return of A materials. He uses a bridge to make a smooth transition back to the original music and never repeats verbatim what he did the first time. He often extends the conclusion with a coda, some of which are long while others last only a few measures. Schuber’s Impromptus manifest a wide variety of moods owning to a diversity of forms, keys, and tempo indications. Perhaps he intended that his sets be played as a group. Each set includes a through-composed piece, a Theme and Variations movement, and a Ternary piece. For example, the first Impromptu of D. 899 is through-composed, but permeated with the process of variations. This C minor piece could be the freest of all Schubert Impromptus. It begins with a fanfare-like unison held for almost an entire measure before welcoming a somber theme. (Example 3.2.1)
(Example 3.2.1 – Schubert Impromptu D 899 No. 1 in C minor) Bars 1-9

Schubert sets half of them in minor and the other half in major keys. with different harmonizations and accompanimental figures. Schubert’s version of Erlkönig. München. Ludwig Spohr (1784-1859) and Johann Carl Gottfried Löwe (17961869). The themes in Schubert’s Impromptus encompass a striking range of moods and dramatic evocations when compared with Voříšek’s themes. is a great example of Schubert’s imaginative and narrative writing. with an introduction by Philip L. like the composer is meandering over a theme almost without a goal of time or destination. G. 40 . 1966). Schubert “improvises” on the theme. Printed by permission) As the music progresses. also wrote songs using this text though they were relatively simple. rather. Henle Verlag.31 (Copyright 1976. Schubert’s contemporary composers.40 A contemporary of Goethe. Miller (Garden City NY: Doubleday. 26. the most important contribution to variety of sound and expression in Schubert’s Impromptus may be the fact that he was one of the most influential and innovative song composers of the period with an impeccable sense of drama and lyricism. A wider range of tempi reinforces the differences as well: in addition to Allegro and Allegretto. Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752- The Ring of Words: An Anthology of Song Text. a poem taken from the Schauspiel called Die Fischerin by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. However. Schubert marks some with Andante and Allegro scherzando. Perhaps a wider range of keys contributes partially to the variety of the characters and moods. The “variations” are not so complex as one observes in an actual Theme and Variations form: it sounds.

(Example 3.32 1814). and depicts the Son’s terrified emotion. Reichardt wrote the song in strophic setting which the poet actually preferred.2. Printed by permission) It was a characteristic of the time for songs to be written with a simple melody and accompaniment so that an amateur could sing and play. creating a screeching minor second against the right hand of the accompaniment.3 illustrates the climactic moment where the Son cries for help for the one last time. however. also set the poem to plain homophonic music. München. Schubert’s song. the father. Each of the characters in the poem – the narrator. G. At bar 124.2) (Example 3.2. the son and the Erlkönig – has a distinct melodic characteristic sung over a never-ending piano accompaniment reminiscent of horse’s galloping. a successful and well-known song composer during his lifetime. Henle Verlag.2. . is much more dramatic and recalls the scope of an operatic scena.) Bars 1-16 (Copyright 1964. The example 3.2 – Reichardt Erlkönig. the voice part hits G-flat.

2.2.2. The contrasting section of the E-flat Impromptu is set in the key of B minor which is a tri-tone away from the key of the piece. a storm or harsh environment in the wilderness.) Bars 123-125 Schubert’s Impromptus have a similar narrative quality and portray distinct and unique characters. (Example 3.4a – Schubert Impromptu D 899 No. The modulation from E-flat major to B minor is as striking as the startling character change between the two themes.4a and 3. (Example 3.2.3 – Schubert Erlkönig.4b) The main theme seems to portray a stream or breeze and the other. 2 in E-flat major) Bars 1-4 . the lyricism and dramatic writing seen in his songs such as Erlkönig is clearly displayed in his E-flat major Impromptu. For instance.33 (Example 3.

The last section based on material from the B section modulates back and forth between the keys of B and E-flat – a battle between the A and the B material – and the piece finally ends fortissimo in E-flat minor. Some of them manifest a literal attempt to musically reflect the word while others reflect its meaning only loosely. Exemplary models from the 19th and 20th centuries include those composed by Robert Schumann (1810-1856). one of the common musical processes used in the 19th century. Others utilize Ternary form in order to create formal unity in the presence of quasi-improvised material.34 (Example 3. Many composers favor the variation technique.4b – Schubert Impromptu D 899 No. 2 in E-flat major) Bars 83-86 The way Schubert continues to build the drama in the Coda is especially intriguing. Frederic . 3) Later Composer’s Impromptus There have been a number of works written bearing the title Impromptu since Voříšek first used it for his piano pieces in the early 19th century.2.

1 – Schumann Impromptus Op. Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936). Robert Schumann.35 Chopin (1810-1849). 41 . 1981). Concluding Remarks. Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915). with Clara Wieck’s melody taken from her Romance variée pour le piano. Robert Schumann’s Impromptu Opus 5. and the work now consists of ten variations. (Example 3.1) This work is known to be based on a simple Passacaglia bass line. Œvre 3. 5) Theme (Used by permission of Dover) Robert Schumann.41 Schumann later decided to revise it in 1850. C-F-G-C.3. dédiée à Mons. is a theme with variations subtitled Impromptus über ein Thema von Clara Wieck. Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) and Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924). (Example 3.3. Impromptus Opus 5 For Piano (Leipzig: Edition Peters. written in 1833.

3.2b) (Example 3. (Examples 3.2a – Schumann Impromptus Op.3. 5) Variation II (Used by permission of Dover) .36 Schumann retains the original bass line instead of the melody in the first two variations.2b – Schumann Impromptus Op.3.3.2a & 3. 5) Variation I (Used by permission of Dover) (Example 3.

15. (Examples 3. 1) Bars 1-4 .3) (Example 3. 17. 5) Variation VII (Used by permission of Dover) Although it may be less popular than some of better-known works such as Davidsbündlertänze. Op. 21 are some of his unconventionally named pieces.4a & 3. 12. and Novelletten. 2. the piece may exemplify an experimental side of his music making.4a– Schumann Albumblätter Op. Carnaval.3. Op. 124 No. (Example 3. 9. Perhaps this choice aligns with his tendency to assign more poetic names to his creations: Papillions. Op.3.3. Albumblätter Op.3. Op.37 The bass line is more audible throughout the work and the only time the melody is used again is in the seventh variation where Schumann uses the original melody as a new bass line.3. and Fantasie. It is interesting that Schumann gave this particular title to a rather strict set of variations. 6. Op. Kinderszenen. Op. Op. Fantasiestücke.4b) (Example 3. 124 also has a poetic title and two out of the twenty character pieces happen to be named Impromptus.3 – Schumann Impromptus Op.

It is as if Schumann had a quick thought that came and went like a gust of the wind.38 (Example 3. In addition. A skilled pianist would deliver a subtle rhythmic displacement by minimizing the second and the third beats yielding a supple and elegant quality. 124. working as a motor until the end of the piece.” the ninth piece of Op. might well evoke a vision of the delicate “Eusebius.4b – Schumann Albumblätter Op. If this music is suggestive of the mischievous “Florestan. 9) Bars 1-4 (Used by permission of Dover) These two little character pieces have the poetic sense of “improvisation” though they are tightly organized motivically. . The first one clearly spins off from a four sixteenth-note motive in the right hand which is then imitated in the left hand.3. Schumann cleverly manipulates time and rhythm. 124 No. setting the piece in simple triple time though grouping the eight notes as if in compound duple. The motive repeats.” It is slower and set in compound meter.

The Music of Chopin (Oxford: Clarendon Press. which was written first and published posthumously. München. G. Frederic Chopin also wrote four Impromptus.5 – Chopin Fantasy-Impromptu in C-sharp minor. the works demonstrate his excellent poetic and pianistic writing. Op.5) (Example 3. Henle Verlag. 1994).42 The FantasyImpromptu. .39 Between 1835 and 1842.2.3. These Impromptus share similar material. 66) Bars 1-8 (Copyright 1971. though on a smaller and simpler scale. 98. Like the Ballades.3. begins with a declamatory octave chord and spins off from there. Printed by permission) 42 Jim Samson. and it is indeed plausible that Chopin was inspired by Schubert’s popular works.2 & 3. Op. 66. (See Examples 3.

(Examples 3.3. Op. (Example 3. (Example 3. 29.6 – Chopin Impromptu in A-flat major. 5 and 8 has a tripartite construction. G. 36) Bars 1-4 . 29) Bars 1-4 (Copyright 1971.3. 1-1-2 bars.7a & 3. 36 in F-sharp major seems to start out with material taken from the middle section of Op. It has a clear ABA form with a coda. 66. München.6) The contour of the melody as well as the overall form seems to be modeled after the Op.3. which is closely related to Op.40 This most popular C-sharp minor Impromptu has the simplest construction. Henle Verlag. Op. Printed by permission) It is not surprising that Chopin did not publish the C-sharp minor Impromptu as he might have considered it a “trial” piece to the A-flat major Impromptu.3. 29. at mm.7b) (Example 3.3.7a – Chopin Impromptu in F-sharp major. The main scheme. Op. after the left-hand introduction.

The impact of Chopin’s music in Russia has been so great that his pieces have been studied by generations of pianists. G. Alexander Glazunov grew up in that tradition and became one of the significant late Romantic Russian composers and influential teachers. once with a triple left-hand accompaniment and the other time with duple accompaniment that is decorated by the right-hand obligato line. München. even . G. like Scriabin. Henle Verlag. 60 and the return of the A is not a mere repeat of it. 29) Bars 35-40 (Copyright 1971. The B section uses an ostinato figure which Chopin later used for his Barcarolle Op.7b – Chopin Impromptu in A-flat major.7a seems to be a retrograde version of Example 3. Printed by permission) (Example 3. This F-sharp major Impromptu is more developed and more interesting than the first two.3. Printed by permission) The upper voice of the contrapuntal lines in Example 3. or Shostakovich. He never became a pianist/composer.41 (Copyright 1971.3. Henle Verlag. but varied twice. Op.7b. Rachmaninoff. München.3.

8 – Glazunov Impromptu in D-flat major.42 though he had the capability of a concert pianist. (Example 3.8) (Example 3. His contribution to the keyboard repertoire is relatively small for an accomplished pianist but his works written for the instrument show a grandiose Russian style with a lyricism influenced by Chopinesque pianism and his set of two Impromptus Op. Although they are set in simple Ternary Form and have the Chopinesque quality. The first one in D-flat major. for instance.3. 54 No. Op. which is reminiscent of Chopin’s A-flat major Impromptu.3. is composed in a larger structure.1) Bars 1-7 (Used by permission of Kalmus) The second Impromptu in A-flat major. also having an irregular phrasing based on a three-note motive. has an interesting seven-bar phrase: 1-1-2-3. The form again is conventional . their phrasings are very unique. 54 clearly shows this quality.

(Example 3.10a – Scriabin Impromptu Op.9) It is reasonable to conclude that Glazunov wrote these two pieces as an item.3.3.9 – Glazunov Impromptu Op.2) Bars 49-57 (Used by permission of Kalmus) The fact that the section shown above is rhythmically displaced and is indicated to be quicker makes it sound like an improvisation. Alexander Scriabin mainly composed for the piano and among his large œuvre there are several Impromptus. In his early work written in 1891/1892. (Examples 3. for example. Chopin’s influence was also apparent in Scriabin’s works. (Example 3. 7 No. 1) Bars 1-6 .3. 54 No.3.10a & 3. there are two beautiful pieces that are greatly influenced by Chopin’s music.3.43 ternary form though it is made more unique by the outer bodies having a varied section which is based on the main materials from the first Impromptu.10b) (Example 3.

7 No. 2) Bars 1-12 (Used by permission of Dover) Like many of his early compositions.3.3.10c – Scriabin Impromptu Op.10b – Scriabin Impromptu Op. However. there is nothing very complex about these pieces but the piano writing is beautiful and rich. (Example 3. 7 No.10c) (Example 3.44 (Used by permission of Dover) It is remarkable that these Impromptus remind us of Chopin’s Waltzes and Mazurkas.3. 2) . it is worth pointing out that there is evidence of his penchant for rhythmic experimentation and complexity in the second Impromptu which he later used extensively in his piano sonatas and etudes. (Example 3.

3.45 Bars 37-41 (Used by permission of Dover) In the late 19th and the early 20th century France.11 – Poulenc Impromptu II) Bars 1-16 .11) (Example 3. connected to Les Six. wrote his a set of five Impromptus in 1921. The second Impromptu is a great example for his overall light-hearted character with short phrases in various moods. Gabriel Fauré and Francis Poulenc established their own unique languages that differ from the characteristics of Impressionism. These miniature pieces share many characteristics with his other compositions written in his twenties which show his love for French Vaudeville. They have an essence of his charming wit and unpretentiousness that one sees in his songs and chamber music.3. (Example 3. Poulenc.

12 – Poulenc Le Dramadaire from Le Bestiaire) Bars 1-7 (Copyright 1920. the piano introduction for Le Dramadaire captures the awkward physical motion of the Dromedary Camel. The songs as well as the Impromptus last less than a minute each and yet capture a vivid image and mood instantly. Masters Music Publication. (Example 3. Paris) Poulenc delivers the tranquil atmosphere of La Carpe in the piano accompaniment and use of marking such as sans nuances. Boca Raton.12) (Example 3.13) .3. très triste and très lent.46 (Copyright 1998.3. Max Eschig.3. Fla. (Example 3. Printed by permission) His set of songs called Le Bestiaire also exemplifies this characteristic. For instance.

3. he stayed closer to the traditional realm of the keyboard language by writing many of his piano pieces with titles such as Barcarolle. Prelude. Max Eschig. Like Poulenc. Fauré also gained his status as one of the most influential and innovative composers around the turn of the last century. he has succeeded in writing pieces in an unmistakably individual style. Paris) Although Poulenc’s compositions have certain lightness and charm which some criticize as a lack of seriousness. and Impromptu. his originality is evident through his unique counterpoint and harmony.47 (Example 3. However. .13 – Poulenc La Carpe from Le Bestiaire) Bars 1-5 (Copyright 1920. It is clear that he was greatly influenced by Chopin’s music. Although his music has Chopinesque qualities. He often breaks away from the 17th and 18th century voice-leading practice and focuses more on linear and chromatic relationship. Nocturne.

2 in F minor has been one of the most popular Fauré pieces44 although Alfred Cortot and Marguerite Long considered the third Impromptu to be the best of all. At the Piano with Fauré. (Example 3. The Impromptu No.14a) One may see a great influence of Chopin throughout the piece. . the last one is a piano transcription of the work originally written for the harp in 1903. 3rd ed.3.43 three in 1883 and the other two in 1904 and 1906. The contrasting middle section has a luscious quality created by the Chopinesque left-hand accompaniment and the use of two-against-three rhythm.14b) (Example 3.14a – Fauré Impromptu No.48 Fauré wrote thirteen Nocturnes over four decades and some of them are wellknown among his piano pieces.” Alfred Cortot. 1981): 91-93. 2 in F minor Op.v.3.45 Fauré used overall ABA form for all of his Impromptus. Guide to the Pianist’s Repertoire. 31) Bars 1-10 Some sources indicate that Fauré wrote six Impromptus. but he also wrote five Impromptus. s.3. “Gabriel Fauré. 44 45 43 Maurice Hinson. (Example 3. trans. trans. French Piano Music. The A section of the F minor has the vitality of Scherzo and the character of Capriccio set by running eighth-notes and accompanied by a brisk and steady pulse. by Hilda Andrews (London: Oxford University Press): 117-120. However. by Olive Senior-Ellis (New York: Taplinger Publishing Company. Marguerite Long.

the second half of the measure begins with an F. . (Example 3. Here.49 (Used by permission of Dover) (Example 3. the latter shows more of his unique harmonic characteristics.15) After the ascending A-flat major arpeggio in the accompaniment. 3 begins in A-flat major with the left-hand accompaniment seemingly alternating between the tonic and the subdominant chord.3. For example. Impromptu No. 2 in F minor Op. 31) Bars 86-95 (Used by permission of Dover) Although the second and third Impromptus were written in the same year.3.14b – Fauré Impromptu No.

Printed by permission) The second half of the measure seems to establish a D-flat major chord. Fauré does not do so.50 Fauré succeeds in creating ambiguous and subtle harmonic progression by an unconventional voice-leading. However. Op. the supertonic. This chord short- . It then forms a B-flat 6/4 chord. but he moves the D-flat to a B-flat at the third sixteenth of the beat.3. (Example 3. creating I-IV progression. 34) Bars 1-16 (Copyright Dover. One might have simply outlined the subdominant chord by arpeggiating it. 3 in A-flat major.15 – Fauré Impromptu No.

Schubert shows more formal variety whereas Schumann consistently utilizes variation technique. the author will examine how directly and indirectly Liebermann’s Impromptus follow the trends of the past. functioning as an appoggiatura. it creates an interesting and ambiguous harmony for the second half of the bar. Each composer has used his imagination and skill to craft these jewels that. Because this upper neighbor is placed on a relatively strong beat.51 lives when the B-flat seems to resolve down to an A-flat at the last sixteenth note of the beat. Poulenc’s extremely short and witty Impromptus influenced by French Vaudeville possess the true extemporaneous sense of the word Impromptu.46 Combining the rich harmonic . they diverge because of his uniquely rich and subtle harmonic language. Since Voříšek’s work. The works of Glazunov and Scriabin demonstrate their unique harmonic and rhythmic invention while showing Chopinesque quality. A survey of Impromptus written for piano by these composers from the past reveals that impromptus are generally relatively short pieces. in one way or another. Impromptus have evolved to be more than just simple and cheerful works. are a product of sudden inspiration. In his eight Impromptus. Although Fauré’s works are aligned with traditional formal ideas associate with impromptus and pay homage to Chopin’s musical language. Next Chapter. He also maximizes his lyricism with a use of extreme drama. An influence of Schubert Impromptus and a trace of the harmonic tendency and the musical nuance that Fauré successfully created in his music will be observed in the works of Liebermann.

. craftsmanship and his interpretation of “Impromptu”. his work successfully creates his elegant. 46 For discussion on Fauré’s influence with the composer see Appendix below.52 language and the formal treatment of the Romantic and Impressionistic periods with his own lyricism. beautiful and yet intense qualities for which the composer is wellknown.

68 1) Analysis of Impromptu I Liebermann uses an overall traditional ABA form for this piece and seems to let the music follow the form not as strictly but to let the “improvisational” aspect of the piece take its course within the structure.53 CHAPTER IV: AN ANALYSIS OF THREE IMPROMPTUS. It is interesting to compare the beginning and the reprise of A at m.1. (Table 4. The A section is rather chordal whereas the B section is contrapuntal. 2. Moreover. it is broken down into 2. Liebermann combines both textures to heighten the intensity of the moment. the characteristic textures of the sections are distinct.1 – Form of Impromptu I) A Bar # Bass Line Key Center Texture 1 F 8 A 17 F B 25 D 36 D 43 47 Eb 51 Eb 55 A 59 F 74 D 78 F 85 D F: Chordal D: Contrapuntal Transition F: Chordal+ Contrap Coda The main theme of A is a seven-bar phrase.1) The irregularity of the phrase and the meter change at m. Although Liebermann’s approach to composition is . OP. 7 with an indication of sostenuto. an elegant swaying affect is created by the shortening of bars at mm.1.1. (See Example 4. 2 and 3 measures. 59. 7 make this main theme very supple and distinctive. 4 and 6 and speeding up of the pulse in m.1) By means of different tonal centers – F from the A section and D from the B section – he defines the strong formal divisions. (Table 4. Additionally.

54 traditional enough to employ a key or tonal center. The interval of the minor-second in the first bar of the melody is one of the most components of the first impromptu and also for the rest of the set. Movement I) Bars 1-7 (Copyright 2001. Theodore Presser. Liebermann develops and unifies the entire work. Printed by permission) This theme manifests stylistic elements essential for understanding the meaning of the entire piece. (Example 4. This obsessive motoric pattern certainly links Liebermann’s work to . By manipulating this interval. Second.1 – Three Impromptus. The piece definitely begins with an F tonal center which is eventually confirmed as the key of the piece. the interval of a minor-second is a pervasive unifying element. King of Prussia. there is a continuous oscillating accompaniment pattern underneath the melody.1. he uses a more modern approach to notation in that most of his scores do not include a key signature. A minor-second interval and a tremolo figuration hold the whole piece together thematically. PA. First.

(Example 4. G. This time.55 Schubert’s.1. 3 in G-flat major) Bars 1-4 (Copyright 1976. Henle Verlag. Schubert uses the perpetually rotating rhythmic figure in the inner voice with a delicacy suggestive of an Aeolian harp.1.3) 47 See the interview with the composer in Appendix below. München.47 For instance. one of the beloved Schubert Impromptus is woven together with sextuplets. as shown in the example below. In this warm and exquisite G-flat major Impromptu.2 – Schubert Impromptu D 899 No. Printed by permission) His E-flat major Impromptu also features a continuous rhythmic pattern. (Example 4. . the perpetual triplets are a melody in the soprano.

(Example 4. this technique is also used to depict a physical object. 2 in E-flat major) Bars 1-9 (Copyright 1976.4 – Schubert Nacht und Träume) Bars 1-8 . the piano accompaniment of one of the most famous Schubert Lieder Nacht und Träume portrays the quietness of a holy night. certain scenery or mood.4) Sehr langsam and pianissimo instruct the pianist to play the accompaniment in the calmest manner. (Example 4.1. For instance.1. Printed by permission) This continuous movement can be seen in almost all Schubert Impromptus.1. In many of his songs. München.3 – Schubert Impromptu D 899 No. G. Henle Verlag.56 (Example 4.

This restlessness combined with ambiguous harmonic movement instantly creates an elusive atmosphere. Furthermore. Peters Corporation) Without a doubt. As the melody moves from C to D-flat. While the soprano moves back to D-flat.57 (Used by permission of C. What is interesting here is what follows after the second F major chord in the second measure.1. this minor chord does not resolve into another chord but instead functions as a resolution itself within a sub-phrase.F.1 The consistent sixteenth notes in Liebermann’s Impromptu stimulate uneasiness or anxiety. it is harmonized by a D-flat major first inversion chord and then returns to an F major triad. The juxtaposition of major and minor . making for a nice and easily sing-able melody. creating a D-flat minor chord. Nothing is out of the ordinary so far. but the I-VI-I progression is made in the first measure. the bass line unexpectedly descends by step-wise motion to F-flat. one can clearly see a similar consistent rhythmic motion in Liebermann’s first Impromptu in Example 4.

1.48 According to Liebermann.5) This section of the piece is centered at A-flat. (Example 4. using the two common notes. 37. Liebermann expressed an influence of Fauré on his music and the importance of Fauré’s “sliding kind of harmonic change” in his music. The harmonic alternations created by the mobility of the 3rd are typical of Fauré. arising from his avoidance of a tonic-dominant tonal axis. 1 in E-flat major includes a lowered 3rd degree in the chord in m. 1 in E-flat major Op. (Example 4.5 – Fauré Impromptu No. a harmonic similarity may be drawn between both composers’ works. This creates a curious sense of release. F-flat/E and A-flat/G-sharp.58 sonorities may leave the listener suspended and insecure. The rocking between an F major chord and D-flat minor sonorities undermines the listeners’ anticipation of progression. 48 . Fauré avoids an expected D-flat major chord familiar to the 19th century ears in favor of the modal D-flat minor chord. 25) Bars 35-37 (Used by permission of Dover) The New GroveDictionary of Music and Musicians. The sub-phrase is then repeated and at m. Indeed. It is then enharmonically spelled in the following measure and a series of modulations ensues. For instance. “Fauré. For the complete transcript of the interview see the Appendix below.1. 2nd ed. the sub-dominant to the key of the piece. 5. Fauré is an important influence on his own harmonic processes.. the line moves by a thirdrelation from the D-flat minor chord (enharmonically spelled C-sharp) to the E major chord. However.v. the middle section of Fauré’s Impromptu No. s.” In the interview with the author.

49 (Example 4. Movement I) Bars 23-30 (Copyright 2001.59 The B section begins at m. This is significant and crucial because the effect one could have with holding versus clearing the pedal. 49 . PA.1. King of Prussia. 25 in D major and is prepared by the D major chord established clearly in the preceding two measures. Although the contour of the melody does not have a neighboring motion but rather a descending three- Liebermann expressed his frustration regarding pianists who disregard the pedal markings that he has put in. (Example 4.6 – Three Impromptus. It is also important to observe the pedal marking at m. 24 that is carried over for the next five measures. For a transcript of the interview with the composer see Appendix below. Printed by permission) It is also important to point out that the melody in this section is derived from the minor-second motive that we saw at the beginning of the movement.1.6) The transition from the end of the previous section to this section is seamless because of the uninterrupted tremolos in the accompaniment. Theodore Presser.

Theodore Presser.1. 19) Variation III: Bars 1-4 (Copyright 1987. 19) Violin Solo Line: Bars 1-6 . PA. it consists of a minor second and a major second combined together linearly.60 note motion. (Example 4. The turn at the end of the first bar has the function of a leading tone to the dominant in the following measure. (Example 4. Op.8) The main theme of the Concerto. (Example 4.1.4. 1 in D major.8 – Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. (See Example 4. Printed by permission) The phrase containing a turn-like figure also seems to be reminiscent of Prokofiev’s lyricism demonstrated in his first Violin Concerto.1. uses an augmented third while a major second is used by Liebermann. Op.7) The melody from the third variation has a similar contour and rhythm. Variations on a Theme by Anton Bruckner. Bryn Mawr. It is interesting to see that the melodic line here may have been inspired by one of his earlier works.7 – Liebermann Variations on a Theme by Anton Bruckner. 19. (Example 4. Op. 25).1. m.1. for instance.

36 as a new statement of the motive: a new bass line plays a diminution-like fragment which increases the density of the texture. for example. and yet they both enjoy an exotic quality created by the chromaticism and floating impression of the theme.9a & 4.1. Printed by permission) 50 Nichols. Nichols suggests an influence of Prokofiev on Liebermann’s music. is added in the lower register at m. and reiterates it throughout the section. 161. King of Prussia.9a) In addition. This shortening of the phrase continues as the next entrance of the theme is diminished even further to four bars at bar 43. (Example 4. 25 to 28. the eleven-bar phrase at the beginning of the section is shortened here to a seven-bar phrase.61 The intervals and their functions differ. Theodore Presser. They have similar sound qualities that are predominantly produced by the way they use chromaticism and extremes of instruments. This section uses more polyphony whereas at the beginning of the piece. PA. Perhaps. mm. . for this reason.9a – Three Impromptus. An extra voice. we see a clear homophonic texture.1.1. (Examples 4.9b) (Example 4.50 One of the interesting aspects of the middle section is the way Liebermann organizes it contrapuntally. Movement I) Bars 36-38 (Copyright 2001.1. The composer utilizes a kind of variation technique here: he takes the antecedent of the theme.

9b – Three Impromptus.1. marked ff. PA. Theodore Presser.1. King of Prussia.62 (Example 4. the next and last variation. 43. Printed by permission) In the variation at m. Movement I) Bars 43-50 (Copyright 2001. an even a thicker texture is formed as two lower voices which are an augmented version of the theme create a stretto at a quarter apart. . (Example 4.9b) Four measures later. with the doubled tremolo in the inner voice enters as the B section culminates.

10 – Three Impromptus.63 The return of the A section at m. The theme is no longer stated in its full length. which ties the whole piece together. (Example 4. It increases the pace of subdivision within the motor which then creates more tension with the surrounding voices leading up to the climax. the dynamics and register of the theme are raised significantly. King of Prussia. The inner triplets at m.1. Movement I) Bars 59-60 (Copyright 2001.1. is transformed from duplets into triplets in the transitional section. but only its first couple of measures are restated twice and further developed in this section. the obsessively running sixteenth-note figure. and time signature. 63 are juxtaposed with the homophonic texture from the beginning of the piece. The theme’s clear arrival into the tonic proves the recapitulation although this time it is transformed from an elegant and comfortable character at the beginning of the piece into an agitated and explosive one with rhythmic vitality. Secondly.1. Theodore Presser. 59 is well-prepared by a transitional section where the composer succeeds in increasing intensity and anticipation by manipulating dynamics.11) . The contrapuntal line is made to become more interesting and unique by the use of octave displacement. Printed by permission) First. (Example 4. PA.10) (Example 4. rhythm.

73 and continuing its line to get to the tonic at m. Movement I) Soprano line of Bars 63-72 (Example 4. Movement I) Bars 63-65 (Copyright 2001.1.11 – Three Impromptus.12 – Three Impromptus.64 (Example 4.12. Example 4.13 – Three Impromptus. PA.1. King of Prussia. Printed by permission) The soprano line.1. Movement I) Bass line reduction of Bars 63-78 . once organized into a close register shown in Example 4.13 shows an overall slow descent in the bass line made over the following ten bars. moving down from F-sharp to E-flat and then reaching F-sharp again at m. 78. (Example 4. is fluid even though it is extremely chromatic.1. Theodore Presser.9.

Liebermann brings back the exact music from the beginning of the piece. Liebermann however does not repeat the material like a replica but adds a contrapuntal line which leads to the final D major chord which does not resolve until the following Impromptu. However. the meaning of the theme seems to have transformed after a dramatic cascade of sound collected into the low A with a fermata at m.65 Liebermann’s brilliant keyboard writing. To conclude this movement. who is a skilled pianist. Liszt-like pianism. For Liebermann. follows in the tradition of pianistcomposers who wrote idiomatically for the instrument in spite of solely evolving musical vocabulary. played by both hands in contrary motion. such as Robert Schumann in his song cycle Dichterliebe . Liebermann impels the listener also to go forward without a break. By directing the performer to move straight into the second Impromptu with attacca marked at the double-bar. 2) Analysis of Impromptu II The second Impromptu begins with a D major chord in the second inversion tied over from the end of the previous Impromptu. This suspension technique has been done by composers in the past. the continuing motion is so important that the suspension created by the lingering 6/4 chord has to broken by another motion without losing momentum. Liebermann. is exemplified at the climax of the piece where there is a succession of blocked chord alternating between the hands and a huge arpeggio moving up and down. 77.

the decision to avoid the . Printed by permission) (Example 4.1 – Im wunderschönen Monat Mai from Dichterliebe by Schumann) Last four bars (Copyright 2005. G. Printed by permission) The musical suspension created by the delay of the cadence successfully reflects the text and emotion expressed by the poet.2.1 and 4. In Liebermann’s Impromptu.2) (Example 4. (Examples 4.2. his confession for the beloved that has not been answered.66 Op. München.2 – Aus meinen Tränen spriessen from Dichterliebe by Schumann) Bars 1-3 (Copyright 2005. Henle Verlag. with an absence of text. München. 48 where the first song Im wunderschönen Monat Mai ending in dominant seventh chord resolves at the beginning of the following song Aus meinen Tränen spriessen. G. Henle Verlag.2.2.

67 resolution from the first to the second is purely for a structural reason or to indicate his intention that these Impromptu pieces be performed as a set. The chord held in the treble is now accompanied by an ostinato figure in the lower voice. 2 .3 – Three Impromptus. (Example 4. F-sharp-G-sharp-A. (Example 4. Theodore Presser. Printed by permission) The motive derives from the minor-second interval that we examined at the beginning of the first Impromptu.2. the motive here is closely related to the theme of its middle section.2.4 – Motives from Impromptus I and II) Section B Motive Impromptu No. as a matter of fact. 1 Main Motive Impromptu No. PA. an initial note of which is taken from the third of the triad. is the first note of a three-note motive.4 shows how the motive from the first movement is inverted and used as a new motive in this movement to achieve a greater unity as a set. Example 4.2.2. The F-sharp. the tonal center of the piece. King of Prussia. Impromptu II) Bars 1-2 (Copyright 2001.3) (Example 4.

2. is not only as a rhythmic motor. As the music continues. Impromptu II) [Bar Number] [Section] [Motive] [Mode] 1 A F#-G#-A F# Minor 18 B F#-G#-A# F# Major 51 A F#-G#-A F# Minor By raising the last note of the motive.68 The three-note motive works in exactly the same manner as the unvarying sixteenth-notes in the first Impromptu. the treble line starts out with b2 and cascades down in a succession of seconds. The form of this movement is much simpler than the previous Impromptu though both Impromptus are in ternary form. however. but also as a determiner of the mode. and the line eventually covers more than a span of five octaves.1. and consequently this alteration switches the mode of the sections from minor to major. Its function here. the intervals between the three notes change from a major-second and a minor-second to two major-seconds. the essential components of the lower voice. The three-note motive that holds the entire piece together determines the tonal center of each section. As shown in Example 4. As one can see in Table 4. is also important in the soprano line. (Table 4. the only significant difference between the motives in Sections A and B is their third pitch. It moves so fast in thirty-second . the intervals in the treble line become larger from a second to a ninth.1.2.2. The interval of seconds.1 – Three Impromptus. Some notes support the harmony implied by the bass line while others simply create a dissonance against it.

In her dissertation. Printed by permission) This use of the outer limit of the keyboard range is one of Liebermann’s trademarks. the last note of the movement ends with the highest note of the keyboard whereas the climax of the first movement explodes at the lowest pitch of the instrument. as high as g3 in mm.69 notes that the dissonances blend into the larger harmonic progression.5 – Three Impromptus. Mayumi Kikuchi points out this aspect as well as the extreme use of a wide dynamic range in many of the composer’s piano works and gives .2. PA. The soprano acts like an obligato line. 7-8 and as low as C2 in m. 10. (Example 4. For instance. (Example 4.2. King of Prussia.5) This spontaneous and flexible soprano line symbolizes the true essence of the title Impromptu. Impromptu II) Bars 7-10 (Copyright 2001. moving as if a bird flying up and down in his free manner. Theodore Presser.

51 . plays a contrapuntal line against the ongoing motive for two bars. Printed by permission) Mayumi Kikuchi. diss. (Example 4.5 how the new voice is introduced while the stable three-note motive continues without interruption. 10. 12 an octave F-sharps is established for the end of the first section. then. moves by perfect-fourths while the soprano descends by perfect-fifths making hemiola against the bass line. It seems like this voice is a new obligato-like line added on the top as the original treble line finishes with the C2. 3.A. 16.70 an example of the Nocturne No.2. It is interesting to see in the Example 4. which enters after an eighth rest. the bass. the three-note motive does not budge until it starts to intermingle with the soprano at m.6 – Three Impromptus.2. 1999): 38. Meanwhile. “The Piano Works of Lowell Liebermann: Compositional Aspects in Selected Works” (D.2. The new voice takes over the role of the soprano as the original soprano line then moves up to tenor at m.. The outer two voices begin to move inward through the transition to the middle section. and at m. especially the highest and the lowest registers. This tenor voice. 11. using counterpoint against each other. Impromptu II) Bars 13-16 (Copyright 2001. The texture thickens when another voice enters at m. King of Prussia.M.51 Liebermann obviously experiments with a wide range of the keyboard. As you can see in Example 4. PA.6. Theodore Presser. and create various timbres. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

These two patterns playing sixteenth-note off of each other make a kaleidoscope effect. The change of the note determines the mode of the new section as a major.8) The middle section moves quickly as a dotted quarter becomes the fundamental pulse whereas an eighth note keeps the steady beat at the beginning of the movement.7 – Two Patterns from B section of Impromptu II) Five-Note Pattern Four-Note Pattern (Example 4. Theodore Presser. (Example 4. PA.71 The mode transforms through the transitional section.2. lacked in the beginning of the .2. and the third note of the motive is now raised from an A to an A-sharp. King of Prussia. framing the running sixteenth-notes.2. Printed by permission) This pattern is juxtaposed with another counter-pattern that has four notes derived from the seconds. This section has a thicker texture with two outer voices moving together. In addition.7) (Example 4. Movement II) Bars 17-20 (Copyright 2001.8 – Three Impromptus.2. (Example 4. the motive is expanded from a three-note to a five-note pattern that keeps playing throughout the section. A sustained C-sharp pedal.

72 movement. the comforting kaleidoscope music is ambushed by a loud bass line.9 – Three Impromptus. flutes.4.D-sharp. marked fortissimo and pesante. at m. bowed and plucked chordophones. It is inverted and augmented.2. gon-chimes. 34. A gamelan sometimes includes singers.octave metallophones.and multi. derives from the main three-note motive. Shown in Example 4.2. Impromptu II) Bars 33-37 Gamelan music is a term used for various types of Indonesian instrumental ensembles that vary in size. small cymbals. drums. bursting in without warning. single. Gamelon music features ostinati and a musical fabric formed from individual parts in interlocking style where different groups of player sound short melodic and rhythmic patterns simultaneously. function.E-sharp . F-sharp .2. 52 .8 shows the soprano line. In the example below. (Example 4. Instruments in a gamelon include sets of tuned single bronze gongs. musical style and instrumentation. provides a harmonic stability. The middle section has an interesting moment where one of the Liebermann’s characteristics is demonstrated. a xylophone. the shape and the intervals of the motive are the same as the beginning of the soprano line of this section. It may be more appropriate to say that the soprano line is taken from the B section of the first Impromptu.52 The mm. 18 and 19 in Example 4. The presence of ostinati in an environment of independent yet interlocking parts recalls the impression of Gamelan music.

However. 34 and 36 are not new but taken from the A section. 47. the same kind of sudden dynamic change can be observed in his Nocturne No. This quiet nocturnal song is disturbed at m. For example. The sudden burst of energy and virtuosity is present in some of Liebermann’s piano works. and then leading back to F-sharp. The walking three-note motive in the bass is doubled in ninths and the falling gesture of the soprano line is also doubled in octaves. the outburst is inserted as a kind of mishap. Printed by permission) The materials for this abrupt and aggressive music between mm. it is now transformed to new music. The reprise of the A . In the second Impromptu. releasing a tension. the bass finally moves up to E-flat at m. PA. after the pesante section.73 (Copyright 2001. Although the soft music resumes. King of Prussia. 2. retaining the musical materials from those two bars of outburst. The piece begins in pp and remains in the range of pp and ppp. Theodore Presser. 22 by ff which is prepared without crescendo. the lighter soothing ostinato music resumes as if nothing happened. The bass line in the B section works almost like a pedal point though it moves between C-sharp and D. The loud music made by the juxtaposition of the materials from the previous section lasts only for two measures and returns to pp. The contrast from the previous music is maximized by the use of accents that guarantee the percussive effect of the keyboard.

The soprano line is now doubled at the thirds. accompanied by a contrapuntal inner line which eventually blends into the bass line after hitting an octave at the down beat of m.74 at m.2. Theodore Presser. PA. 51 is marked by the return of the three-note motive in the lower voice. sometimes expanding to doubling at the fifths. The three-note motive at m. however. (Example 4. both have a function of transitional music between A and B sections. This extra voice increases both musical and technical demand for the pianist.10 – Three Impromptus.2. It is interesting to compare the differences between the beginning of the movement and the reprise of A. 51 is. The last duet . It requires a fine technique to maneuver these thirds in pp and to create a smooth line in spite of awkward fingerings. Impromptu II) Bars 51-53 (Copyright 2001. The first significant difference is an added line in treble. 10-12. Printed by permission) The music at mm. 51-52 is quite similar to mm. 53. repetitions and topographical complexities.10) (Example 4. King of Prussia.

1 and 3) Opening Impromptu I Impromptu III (Copyright 2001. 3) Analysis of Impromptu III The Impromptu No. Theodore Presser. Printed by permission) 53 For a transcript of the interview with the composer see Appendix below.1) The quarter-and-eighth rhythmic motive is prominent in both themes. This relationship may be traced to the genesis of the work: Liebermann reports that these first sketches became the ultimate germs for the first and third Impromptus. King of Prussia. it seems to have a more direct connection with the first.3.75 played by fluttering two notes flies higher and quietly ends with the highest pitch of the piano in unison at the last bars of the piece. The boundaries of the sections are obvious because of contrasting music and tempo changes.3. . Impromptus Nos.3 also exemplifies a conventional ternary form. Although this Impromptu shares many thematic and musical materials heard in both the first and second Impromptus.53 Both the first and last Impromptus demonstrate a similar swaying. (Example 4. (Example 4.1 – Three Impromptus. PA. a hypnotic effect generated and sustained by the use of compound meters.

In the first measure. the right . They begin with blocked chords in root position. Liebermann treats the pivot chord at m. comprises a four-bar antecedent and a four-bar consequent sub-phrase. and the movement relaxes in sostenuto or ritardando. The chordal texture continues supporting the dependant melodic line in the soprano. 1 to 8. one can argue that steady eighth beats function just as an unvaried rhythmic pattern that Schubert and Liebermann share. as opposed to the first two pieces. 14 with a special care.76 The second bar of both pieces is truncated. The main theme. However.1) That by itself would make the third beat of the first dotted quarter absent. for example. For instance. 17. The third phrase made of the same materials as the main theme now begins more slowly. The antecedent includes a gentle dissonance. creating a feeling of stability. The first and the third Impromptus share a homophonic texture by contrast with the middle Impromptu that is more contrapuntal throughout the piece. The theme is then repeated although this time the antecedent takes a different path to get to the following phrase that begins at m.3. that is prominent throughout the piece. più lento. the consequent is considerably dissonant due to the consistent use of major sevenths. with a C major triad and concludes the A section. the A section of the last Impromptu proceeds in regular eight-bar phrases. instructing the performer to play dolcissimo. (See Impromptu III in Example 4. Although the third Impromptu does not have an obvious rhythmic pattern. the left hand initiates a pattern consisting of eighth notes and quarter notes. The harmonic oscillation between a major and a minor further reinforces the elusive character in both themes. This vertical stability seems to be reinforced by the use of clear phrasing. mm.

the eighth note pulse present from the beginning to the end of the piece serves a continuous rhythmic pattern in this Impromptu. we have examined the relationship between the first and the second movements and how the three-note motive was used and tied the pieces together.2) (Example 4. (Example 4. Here.3.3. Another important point that may be raised is the motivic connection used between the Impromptus.77 hand that has a pattern of a quarter and an eighth plays the missing third eighth note instead. (Example – Three Impromptus.3a below shows the line is made of two sets of seconds.2 – Three Impromptus. G – F – E-flat and E – D. Impromptu III) Melodic Fragment in Bars 1-2 plus An alternate interpretation on the construction of the melody could be that the order of notes is slightly altered so that the line moves by thirds. (Example 4. Thus. The melody on the top line in the first two bars consists of five notes: G – E – F – D – E-flat.3b) . Impromptu III) Melodic Line in Bars 1-2 Example 4. In the previous section of the analysis of the Impromptu II.3. superimposed and interlocked with each other. this motive is again manipulated and expanded to make a longer phrase.

and yet the harmonization makes it sound richer and mysterious.78 Instead of a direct linear movement. we can see how the interval of seconds is very important in this Impromptu as well as the first two. the melody makes a nice lilt proceeding in a wavy direction. a tempo (poch. Impromptu III) Alternate Melodic Line in Bars 1-2 Regardless of how Liebermann crafted the theme.4) The accompaniment figure in the left-hand picks up the tempo with the steady and comfortable upward motion after eighth rests.3b – Three Impromptus. The melody is very simple.3. (Example 4. The B section begins at m.3. The use of suspension and chromaticism created at the fourth beat in the first measure also makes it natural to have the flattened third in the following chord in the second bar. 23 with a tempo indication.3.4 – Three Impromptus. movendo) and a clear textural change. Printed by permission) . Theodore Presser. PA. and yet the harmonization based on the third-relation makes it sound richer. (Example 4. Impromptu III) Bars 23-30 (Copyright 2001. The melody is simple and chant-like. King of Prussia. (Example 4.

is not careful with this execution.79 Although Liebermann could have easily been set the accompaniment from the downbeat. which we have seen often in the previous Impromptus. he put the left-hand three-note pattern beginning at the third beat of the measure. If the pianist. Theodore Presser. 43) Bars 1-12 (Copyright 1994. This reaffirms the modal ambiguity.5 – Lullaby from Album for the Young Op. PA. The hollowness of the accompaniment is filled when the initial note of the soprano line enters. (Example 4. Because the third of the chord is never played by the left-hand.3.3.5) (Example 4. Printed by permission) . an unintended accent on the third beat would be created. The similar Barcarolle rhythm is utilized in his earlier piece Lullaby from his Album for the Young Op. there is a modal ambiguity even though the motion between B-flat to E-flat makes a perfect V-I pick-up. 27. The establishment of E-flat minor chord does not last long as the soprano line moves up by a step at m. 43. Bryn Mawr. however.

Impromptu III) Bars 23-53 Bar # Downbeat Pedal Point 23 Eb Bb 29 D 33 Db 35 C 37 B 41 F 45 E 49 D 51 Db 53 C Another interesting characteristic of Liebermann that is seen his music also appears in this section. 53.6) This little figure marked ppp makes the simple soprano line more interesting and unique. a “bird call.3. 12 where G major 6/4 chord complete s a phrase. the E-flat at the downbeats changes to a D at the downbeat of m. This change on the strong beat continues all the way to m. making a tri-tone relation.3. . traveling through chromatically downwards. 29. it still conveys a comparable rowing effect.” a rhythmic pattern that decorates and embellishes in the high register.1 – Three Impromptus. In the Example 4.1) However. From mm. the pedal switches from B-flat to E-flat. (Table 4. to m. The music progresses from G major at the beginning. 54. 23 to 53.3. (Table 4. This piece may also be a good example for one of his characteristic use of chromatic harmony. This bell-like figure appears in Liebermann’s second Nocturne. the B-flat in the left-hand works as pedal point. It is an added voice to the original theme at the beginning of B at m. the third beat of the three-note motion functions as a melodic line as well as a part of the motive. (Example 4. 23.4. making a chromatic descending line. the overall chord does not change from E-flat due to third of the three-note accompaniment.3.80 Although in this little piece. At m.

3. it is not as flexible as these quintuplets. . Bryn Mawr. 79.81 Its basic function is the same as the Impromptu. Impromptu III) Bars 42-46 (Copyright 2001. King of Prussia. (Example 4. Printed by permission) The reprise of A begins at m. however. PA.3. (Example 4.8) The repeat of the theme at m. 87 then takes a different path to end the piece.7) (Example 4.7 – Lowell Liebermann: Nocturne No.6 – Three Impromptus. 2) Bar 34 (Copyright 1996. Theodore Presser.3. Theodore Presser. Printed by permission) (Example 4. PA.3.

Impromptu III) Bars 79-102: A Reprise (Copyright 2001. (Example 4.8 – Three Impromptus. Theodore Presser.82 (Example 4. King of Prussia. Printed by permission) From m. 88 to the end seems to be codetta where the right-hand theme gradually becomes shorter as the end approaches. PA.9) .3. becoming increasingly fragmented and interrupted by the accompaniment from the B section.3.

King of Prussia. PA.3. Impromptu III) Bars 62-64 (Copyright 2001.83 (Example 4. They all come from a single motive that unites them as one composition. and the placement of vigorous second piece set between two less agile pieces presents a well-balanced architecture. Theodore Presser. Printed by permission) The idea of cyclic form is strongly present in these three Impromptus.9 – Three Impromptus. This design may suggest that the performer should conclude the last Impromptu with the similar melancholic character that the first Impromptu possesses. .

unify the work and are compositional elements Liebermann shares with Schubert.84 CHAPTER V: SUMMARY Impromptus for piano – though not as numerous as preludes. Precise musical motives and distinct textures. Both composers treat a constant rhythmic motion as an essential vehicle in the pieces. especially in the way subtle musical colors devolve from modal melodic and harmonic choices and flexible counterpoint technique. composers followed the general patterns Schubert adopted while embracing the flexibility and freedom inherently suggested by the title. the master Lied composer. Schubert wrote his first set of celebrated Impromptus less than ten years after Jan Vaclav Voříšek's early examples of this genre published in 1817. etudes. In subsequent generations. The influence of Fauré’s harmonic treatment is evident. and sonatas – appear regularly in the lists of works of important composers for the piano. A couple of centuries later. Schubert imaginatively expanded the scale of Voříšek’s charming but simpler models introducing more complex musical materials and compositional techniques. governed by an overarching ternary form. Liebermann’s Impromptus advance with a “spur-of-the-moment” character. A tight formal and motivic organization that great Classical composers such as Beethoven were eminently famous for is apparent in this particular piece. Lowell Liebermann’s Impromptus take their place in this tradition. . often manifesting inspiration from Schubert’s musical language. Liebermann uses this continuous motion and a three-note motive to unite the three Impromptus.

especially the often strange juxtapositions of dissonance and consonance -. and the use of virtuosity as an intrinsic but not very showy element (the second piece. the mix of homophonic and contrapuntal textures (first impromptu especially) in a pianistically complex manner. describes Liebermann’s achievement in the Impromptus in this way: [The work] encapsulate a lot of what Lowell's piano writing style has been about in my opinion. modal and chromatic harmonies. and a feel for appropriate tempo rubato. Even though particular sections of the Impromptus exemplify a more assertive and adventurous side of Liebermann’s writing. The author’s E-mail interview with Antonio Pompa-Baldi.54 The Three Impromptus written by a pianist-composer whose pianism inherent in Romantic idiom.the constant references to common practice tonality that actually never are common practice tonality. especially. David Korevaar. decontextualized use of triads. Pianist who has recorded most of Liebermann keyboard works. the ability to create different levels of dynamics to render the subtle polyphony. juxtaposing textures and blending tonal. and the writing is idiomatic and compares in that way with the great keyboard-composers in the past such as Liszt and Chopin. masterful pedaling. His music sounds traditional and romantic at times. the introspective and intimate nature prevails.85 Some critics label Liebermann as a “Neo-Romantic” or “New-Tonal” composer. By synthesizing conventional and unconventional materials.55 The piece also requires a certain 54 55 See the E-mail interview with David Korevaar in Appendix below. one must find the most beautiful quality of sound. transparency. Liebermann’s works sound fresh and progressive. but also the first). As for playing his work. . and yet there is always something new.

56 See the E-mail interview with Antonio Pompa-Baldi in Appendix below. a champion of this work. .56 The lyricism is created by incorporation of musical techniques and languages from the Western musical tradition and the 20th century.86 improvisatory feeling as the title suggests that Liebermann’s artistry combines spontaneity within a classical form and pianism that satisfies and challenges pianists. and it is worth claiming its part in the standard keyboard repertoire of the 21st century. argues that the labels such as “New-Romantic” composer could never encompass a single composer’s production and describes the style of the Impromptus as ‘21st-Century Lyricism’. Pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi. This lyricism combined with the extemporaneous character makes Liebermann’s Three Impromptus a significant work in its genre.

I sometimes get an idea for a piece and sketch it and then wait for an opportunity to finish it. I actually started them on my own. and there was a review. I think.57 You did your research! [laugh] I did my research! [laugh] So. . All American. 43 composed in 1993. Who named that? Supposedly. I think. And [it] got in fact an extremely TU: LL: TU: LL: TU: LL: 57 The author meant Lieberman’s earlier work Album for the Young. I had the sketch for. 2005. a disagreement on that.” I did not know that. you know. Op. and Yaddo was having a big centennial celebration and they wanted to have premiers by certain composers to celebrate it. [As for the genesis of the piece] Well. A half American and the second half was Liszt. New Jersey on Thursday February 3. two of the pieces. the children of the people who started it. I think he did [the] Copland Variations. But this is a little bit of.87 APPENDIX A: INTERVIEW WITH LOWELL LIEBERMANN I conducted an interview with Lowell Liebermann at his home in Weehawken. After chatting about the latest composition project of his opera Miss Lonelyheart over a cup of tea. the first and the last of the beginning sketches. “Ya-dow. we sat down and had an interview. TU: LL: TU: LL: TU: LL: What was the genesis of [the Three Impromptus]? I know that you wrote the pieces for that Yaddo (mistakenly pronounced here as “ya-dū). It was like the children [pieces]. Yá-dow. I’m trying to remember what he did. [It] rhymes with “shadow. And through me we arranged [that] Stephen Hough would do a recital to celebrate Yaddo and I would write the piece for that occasion.” Ya-dō.

I found that to be a rather strange thing. This guy must’ve been a pianist. Then I thought I have the piece and might as well send it in. isn’t it? Yeah. The other reason why I almost didn’t enter the competition was because Van Cliburn used to commission a piece for the competition instead. I was invited to submit a piece. I wrote it for that occasion. and according to the guidelines. like somebody commissioned you because of TU: LL: TU: LL: TU: LL: TU: . So. they started this thing. I think. Competition this year. One person said on Internet. but I won. they are changing. The way it was set up. TU: LL: Why not? I thought it was a strange competition. it would’ve been OK and it’s very unfair as a competition because there easily could have been pianists who play the Gargoyles already. so kind of diluting the whole idea of patronage and support for new music. and they don’t know what they are listening to. Hough was not up to the technical requirements of the Liszt which is the most ridiculous thing. so these changes that we suggested won’t go into effect until the next one. but [by] how many pianists decided they liked it. So. I still have problems with the competition. It was premiered and then about a year later. So. because I remember he said that Mr.88 stupid review from Anthony Tommasini. [laugh] [laugh] Was there a good outcome. But I served for the next round. who cares if I don’t get to. I thought of that. Yeah. I kind of was against that morally because serious music needs its support of getting people to create pieces and [at] this competition people get money only if they win the competition not for creating the music. the winning piece would not be chosen on its merits. but you know the guidelines that they used for this year were still the old ones. I almost didn’t enter it. I thought it was a bad signal to send for a major competition and a major organization that was commissioning works to stop commissioning works. this was the piece I could submit. really. so I can’t complain. He said that you might as well just have turned in the Gargoyles. a new competition for the Van Cliburn. And also you get to a certain point [where] you just don’t want to enter competitions and be judged. and there was a big discussion about the whole procedure and everything. they are making it more logical. I mean it was a phenomenal performance technically. I know there were pianists in the competition who played the Gargoyles. Because it was OK to do that. anyway.

reference to Schubert because they were not directly inspired by Schubert or any particular Schubert piece. pretty unvaried rhythm. In the issue. And that’s another thing that they have in common with Schubert. and it’s funny because you get beyond a certain point of complexity. so. the third TU: LL: TU: LL: TU: LL: . I don’t know how many of the pianists [who] played it actually performed it after the competition. not in a minimalist’s sense. as a Juilliard student. It’s funny because those are two composers who. so it’s hard to separate what exactly. I suppose it doesn’t hurt (for) my reputation. Pompa-Baldi published an article in the Clavier [about the Impromptus] and only the third Impromptu was printed in that article. you know. Then. no. Ok. but I’m always interested in making the most out of a restricted amount of materials. They are related loosely in the thematic way that they all have a three-note motive and a lot of the harmonic relationships are on thirds. Another question: why Impromptus? Let me preface that by saying that I am not one of those of composers who believes that important art is always a radical break with the past. yeah. I’m not sure any of the others did. They’re meant to be played together. Yeah. If I want to sit down and listen to a piece of music. But at this point. I’m analyzing your pieces and I see that very much so. it’s a set. he is a composer that is more and more important to me personally. another question is how those three pieces are related. And randomness doesn’t interest me. I certainly got a lot of exposure. I am interested in the traditions of Western music and am interested in working in that continuum.89 this? LL: Not specifically. I know Antonio Pompa-Baldi did but. I had no use of. it’s not like one can play [only] the third. So. actually. I think if there is too much variety and too much material. You know. it will often be Schubert or Mozart. things just refer back to randomness in a way. They are really not meant to be played separately. that’s a purely business consideration for my publisher because no publisher would give permission to reprint the entire piece. And the Impromptus actually are a “kind-of”. which is why I always named my pieces Sonatas and Concertos and what-not because I want to put forth a clear message that I am part of that tradition. then you just lose track of where you are. I’m busy full-time with commissions. That’s also something that interests me. Schubert has gotten to be a more and more important influence to me or at least. That primarily deals with unvaried. And the Impromptus do have one rather superficial thing in common with Schubert Impromptus which is rhythm. I’m very interested in organizing things tightly.

it’s kind of like a spirit of Schubert is hovering. when he said something like. He did. What’s wrong with Fauré? He is a very subtle composer and a lot people don’t know how to listen to [his music. In fact a critic in Philadelphia. Fauré is a composer also rather important to me. I would like to think that my music does that.] [They] don’t listen to it carefully enough because you really have to be following every note to get to those shifts. at least that’s what I’m trying to achieve. [they] just say it’s pretty. You really have to know [what is happening] because one note changes and then everything changes. So. who’s constantly attacking me. If you let it wash over you. and people who don’t listen actively to Fauré. Yeah. negative criticism. back handed compliments. His songs are so hard to play. “When music is too beautiful. It’s so concentrated and tight. Oh. It’s like speed reading Shakespeare. who actually paid me one of the biggest compliments. and sliding kind of harmonic change. TU: LL: TU: LL: TU: LL: Why not [a] Nocturne. Schubert didn’t write nocturnes. The late pieces of his are like that. I did not realize. But I do think Fauré is a composer who’s had a subtle influence on me in the way his harmonies shift by just one note at a time. That’s the only Schubert Nocturne I know of. but I was thinking of Schubert when I made those pieces. It’s like listening to [a] Shakespeare play. this was in [the] review. It was meant as an absolute criticism.90 relationships. he said. actually. But I definitely meant Schubert rather than Chopin. David Patrick Sterns. then. of course. the mind wanders like in all those Fauré songs or Lowell Liebermann pieces. TU: LL: TU: LL: TU: LL: . then? Well. it’s this… “What was that?” sort of. and you have to be very attuned to it. Or Fauré. it’s very subtle and changes the whole balance and atmosphere with just one note. It’s a beautiful piece. I was very happy to have my name linked with Fauré.” So. you can’t possibly get the sense. One nocturne for Piano trio in E-flat [singing the tune]. [If] you don’t pay attention to every word.

for using the same harmonic [materials] which first of all I don’t feel is accurate. Is that something you are really fascinated with or [do] you love that sound quality? I think so. maybe people would’ve had a totally different impression of my piano music when in fact it is the same composer. But if you just look at the piano music.91 TU: LL: Many of your pieces have that nocturnal. that’s a big aspect of my emotional makeup. And I think in the other music. [they would probably get a different impression]. changing the criterion if you are a living composer as opposed to a dead composer and I get criticized by some critics for a lot of my music sounding too similar. and that’s a personality thing. night-like shimmer. but also I think there is a lot of variety. which is totally stupid. It’s funny because sometimes. it’s my instrument. What are the challenges and joys of writing piano music? Well. And at the same time. if they knew my other pieces. Most of these pieces were slow and nocturnal. if one looks at the music written at the same time. [and that] automatically makes it look like you are preoccupied with that. they say that’s a style. Personality or Individuality or something. I never listen to more than one piece at that time on a recording unless [it is] a recording of a song recital or something. I think I often save a lot of the more private kind of solitary music for that. you see a variety in other pieces. When one starts out writing a series of nocturnes like I did. [Giggling] But I would say. Whereas in fact. the thing is especially early on. So. so it’s a very natural thing. that means that a big proportion of your piano works are nocturnes. so you know it’s very funny. the same critics don’t have a problem with somebody you know. Maybe I could’ve just as easily decided to write a series of twelve Scherzos and then. So. and that was the problem when the very first disk of my music was released which was on Music Heritage Society with David Korevaar. every piece they’re writing being based on one chord. with a recording five different pieces on it as if the composer intended these pieces all to be listened to at the same time. It’s a funny thing with a recording. I don’t know how much pleasure there is in writing it because it’s difficult. and it was some of the pieces that were re-released on the Koch recordings. I think the impression given to a lot of people was a limited emotional span. yeah. It’s just a very natural thing. these critics. With a dead composer’s. and I intend to write twelve of them. It’s much more fun when that’s TU: LL: TU: LL: TU: LL: . since piano is my instrument.

That actually can differ slightly depending on a piece and a type of piece. Oh yeah well. too. it can’t help come through. I could. [Laugh] Well. refer the footnote in Chapter I. I think that affected the way I approach writing music for a while. it’ll still be totally different performances and that’s what makes us human. Within a composer being very specific about what he wants. You know. I really became more and more specific. what I write down. and then it’s not so much hearing other people playing but it’s dinner afterwards or party or whatever.” but there is a certain thing on a piece of paper. I’m putting pedal markings in because I realize how what you think is TU: LL: TU: LL: 58 For his brief biography. It’s very funny because I kind of have been brought up sloppily with the attitude that the notes are sacred but the performer’s interpretation just changes the dynamics. I mean if you take two different pianists and tell them that they have to play everything exactly as written. it’s one of those things I don’t know how much real pleasure a composer ever gets out of his own music. actually. you know. At this point. That certainly doesn’t mean that a performer should approach a piece with rigidity. TU: LL: [Laugh] It’s a very funny process. there’s still a lot of room for a performer’s personality to come through. analyzing Beethoven. I intend. [Pause] TU: How much of the performer’s interpretation do you allow? I don’t want to say “allow. especially going through Beethoven.92 done and you can go hear other people play. I studied piano at Juilliard with Jacob Lateiner.58 I’ve been writing music and taking composition lessons and it was really the first time that somebody opened my eyes clearly to understand that the dots and the slurs and the dynamic markings were just as important and intentional as the notes. studying piano with Lateiner. I’m sure some composers would. That’s like right when it’s done in the first couple of times and after that. I could name a few names [Laugh]. . but more and more. But I tend to be more and more specific to the point where now. There is a brief period where you are actually happy to hear your own music. interpreted by that performer. and seeing that everything was interconnected. you don’t need to hear it again. I mean they should approach no differently than if they were playing a Beethoven Sonata.

but I tend to use a lot of long pedal effects in my piano music where I want like… Like French. I’ve been playing Saint-Saëns recently. You can tell from the way it’s written.” [The] same thing as they put fingerings in. which sometimes affects musically in performance. ninety percent of the time. on Impromptus. a sloppy attitude of “Oh. specifically. they wouldn’t because they had an attitude. I actually had to fight with my publisher about putting pedal markings in and before. it really makes a difference what’s coming out. I think so. and you can tell from the music that he used almost no pedal when played. no but they think that a mid-western piano teacher is going to tell the student how to pedal the piece or something. But I find pedaling is very misunderstood by a lot of pianists and even when I will mark very specific long pedal or something. I thought that wasn’t the case any more. like aura.93 obvious and should be the only way to pedal is. That’s not an integrated part of the piece. That’s strange that they say such a thing. Sometimes. I bet. TU: David Korevaar said [that] you said. [but] pedaling is the most misunderstood. LL: TU: LL: TU: LL: TU: LL: TU: [We started to chat about miscellaneous things and the conversation diverted to him giving me questions about portraits of composers in his living room. It’ll change the piece. Maybe he is in general the kind of pianist who doesn’t use as much pedal? Yeah. just to have just a little bit of [pedal effect]. Yeah. Very shallow. At the end of the tea. I always have to fight with them if there’s a very specific fingering. no. “More pedal” at certain places. They don’t want to see other people’s. no.] . Of course! Because stresses and [what-not]. I thanked him for his time. And I bet Fauré used [it] very sparingly. Pedalings are generally thought of something that the performer adds. Maybe they are putting it down a little bit. pianists do their own pedalings. they’ll ignore that or play something else. you know. Actually Ravel and Debussy used very little pedal when they played themselves. Saint-Saëns. It’s kind of a cliché about French. Cost more to put things in? No.

94 APPENDIX B: ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH DAVID KOREVAAR January 8. The third movement is very difficult to bring off: the simplicity of the textures and the sparseness of the writing (compared to what came before) create their own problems. How much involvement did you have? Any interpretation suggestions by him? Lots of involvement in the Impromptus in particular. The second movement is just hard (the thirds are particularly nasty). the mix of homophonic and contrapuntal textures (first impromptu especially) in a pianistically complex manner. especially the often strange juxtapositions of dissonance and consonance -. According to some of the articles on the piece. It was interesting because I learned the pieces off of an earlier version of the score than the published version. I read in an interview with Liebermann that he worked on your recording project. it is said that Schubert's impromptus were the inspiration for the Liebermann's piece. The first movement also needs to flow in a way that often defies the writing (the canons are particularly hard to keep in the flow/tempo of the movement because of the wide spacings). and there were some changes in the markings that I had to adjust to in the TU: DK: TU: DK: TU: DK: . as well as on the dynamics: he really wanted the pp's to be pp (imagine!). but also the first)." also the focus on beauty of texture and clear and lyrical phrase structures. especially. especially in the context of the flowing sixteenths. also (for _more_ pedal most of the time!). I think that they are more of spirit than of substance. de-contextualized use of triads. He was very hard to satisfy on the rubato in the first movement (I'm not necessarily satisfied myself). What are the challenges you have had or you see one might have? The rubato (indicated to some extent) in the first movement is elusive. and the use of virtuosity as an intrinsic but not very showy element (the second piece. Pedaling suggestions. What connections do you see in the piece? The Schubert mentions come from Lowell's own program note on the the piece. perhaps the use of obsessive accompanimental figures is "Schubertian. 2005 TU: DK: What is your view on the piece? The Impromptus encapsulate a lot of what Lowell's piano writing style has been about in my opinion.the constant references to common practice tonality that actually never are common practice tonality.

and essentially produced as well as offered numerous interpretative suggestions on the Impromptus. Lowell was very active in making sure that I was aware of these changes. .95 recording process. What can you say about his writing in your opinion? I like his writing for piano: I appreciate the compositional power that he brings to it. TU: DK: You have known him and have played his piano music. and his ability to make the instrument sound. the balance of intellectual concept and emotional projection. He was in the booth for the sessions.

I also like the idea that good music can still be composed using tonal language." APB: I guess both "Neo-Romantic" and "New-Tonal" would be appropriate. I understand the usefulness of it. as it unifies the work. transparency. TU: Have you had a chance to talk to Liebermann? . What connections do you see in the piece? Do you see a connection between movements? APB: The connection is in the fact that both Schubert and Liebermann use an unvaried rhythmic pattern for each impromptu. Although I don't think that a word. it is said that Schubert's Impromptus were the inspiration for the Liebermann's piece. 2005 TU: You said you played the piece many times by now. and a feel for the right rubatos. but one needs good technique to play them. but Liebermann creates his own style within it. so evocative of beautiful colors and atmospheres. The technical challenges of the Impromptus are not so evident at first. TU: If you were to categorize the work into a certain style. could encompass the production of a prolific talented composer. The language and the pianistic patterns may be the same that were in vogue in the last 300 hundred years or so. the ability to create different levels of dynamics to render the subtle polyphony. TU: According to some of the articles on the piece. what would that be? Liebermann's writing style has been called "Neo-Romantic" or "New-Tonal. This is also the connecting factor among the 3 Liebermann Impromptus. I would describe the style of the Impromptus as "21st-Century Lyricism". What do you like about it? What is your view on the piece? APB: I love the intimate and introspective nature of this work. A second common denominator is the absence of a program. TU: What are the challenges you have had or you see one might have? APB: One must find the most beautiful quality of sound.96 APPENDIX C: ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH ANTONIO POMPA-BALDI January 13. masterful pedaling. or a slogan. the fact that both Schubert and Liebermann wrote pure music.

.97 APB: Not until after I played the Impromptus at the Van Cliburn Competition. and that enables him to exploit the instrument to the fullest. TU: What can you say about his writing in your opinion? APB: I have read through several of his compositions for piano. the composer being able to create the appropriate sounds depending on what he's trying to express. He's a very interesting person. Also. That is the mark of a very talented composer. he knows the piano and the keyboard extremely well. and deserves the success he has. and even then only briefly. The first thing one notices is that every piece is different from the others.

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II. David. Vol. Lowell. Antonio. Interviewed by author through e-mail correspondences on 13 January 2005. I. Performed by David Korevaar. Interviewed by author through e-mail correspondences on 8 January 2005. Compact Disc. Recording Liebermann. Lowell. . KOCH International Classics 3-7548-2 HI. 2003. Boulder. Piano Music.100 Interviews Korevaar. Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Colorado. Liebermann. 2004. Piano Music. Pompa-Baldi. Piano Instructor at Cleveland Institute of Music. New Jersey on 3 February 2005. Performed by David Korevaar. Lowell. Interviewed by author in Weehawken. Vol. Liebermann. KOCH International Classics 3-7552-2 HI. Compact Disc.