CATALOGUE

 

 

The entire Ivan Wyschnegradsky collection is deposited at the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basle (Switzerland).

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information about the catalogue and scores:
contact@ivan-wyschnegradsky.fr

 

 

NB The works for several pianos are divided up as follows:
→ in the category ‘Chamber music’ : works for 2 pianos, for 2 pianos and another instrument, for 3 pianos.
→ in the category ‘Instrumental ensemble’ : works for 4 and for 6 pianos.

 

 

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[9 works]
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Opus 17 Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra, 1929-30, summer 1936)

Symphony in quarter-tone system for orchestra of four pianos tuned two by two a quarter-tone apart (1929-30, originally for reduced orchestra, version lost; Part I at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France?? Transcription for four pianos, revision of movements II and III, summer of 1936).


details

Playing time: 23’45

Publisher: the score for 4 pianos was published by L’Oiseau Lyre, Monaco.

First performance: 25 January 1937 at Salle Chopin-Pleyel, Paris, by Monique Haas, Ina Marika, Edward Staempfli and Max Vredenburg, under the composer’s direction.

 




Opus 23b Premier Fragment symphonique (First Symphonic Fragment, 1934/67)

For four pianos tuned two by two a quarter-tone apart (1934 rev. 1953 and ’67).

details

Playing time: 11′

Publisher: Belaïeff, in 1936

First performances: 25 January 1937 at Salle Chopin-Pleyel, Paris, by Monique Haas, Ina Marika, Edward Staempfli and Max Vredenburg, under the direction of the composer.

Followed by numerous performances in France, including 10 November 1945, at Salle Chopin-Pleyel, Paris, by Yvette Grimaud, Yvonne Loriod, Pierre Boulez and Serge Nigg, as well as in Belgium, Canada, Italy, Holland, Austria, Germany.

 

The work begins with a short exposition of a very rhythmic theme followed by a brief interlude that leads to a lilting theme. Both themes are written in a 13-note scale (including two leaps by quarter-tones in two different places) with constant modulations. Then comes a brief return to the initial rhythm, followed by a majestic interlude. After that, on the initial rhythm, the lilting theme returns, but this time outside any scale, by intervals of semi- and quarter-tones (3, 5 and 7 fourths, etc.). A progressive dynamic crescendo ends in ff, followed by an ‘Allegro energico’ based on the rhythmic theme. Return of the lilting theme (over sustained chords). A brief ‘Allegro marziale’, and the work ends with a rhythmic theme (in the 13-note scale) with superposition, in the upper register, of chords based on the second theme (lilting), also in the 13-note scale, but in other tones than the rhythmic theme (the relation there is always an augmented fourth) simultaneously the notes of B flat and E, for ex., a kind of quarter-tonal bi-tonality. José Bruyr (Le Guide du Concert, January 1937 – English translation: John Tyler Tuttle)

 




Opus 24 Deuxième Fragment symphonique (Second Symphonic Fragment, 1937, rev. 1952 and ’53)

For four pianos tuned two by two a quarter-tone apart, plus percussion ad libitum.

details

Playing time: 13’30

Unpublished

First performance: 28 November 1951 in Paris, by Pierre Boulez, Yvette Grimaud, Claude Helffer and Ina Marika, Pierre Chailley conducting.

 




Opus 28 Cosmos (1939-40, rev. 1945)

For four pianos tuned two by two a quarter-tone apart.


details

Playing time: 15′

Publisher: Belaïeff

First performance: 10 November 1945, Salle Chopin-Pleyel, Paris, by Yvette Grimaud, Yvonne Loriod, Pierre Boulez and Serge Nigg, under the composer’s direction; followed by several performances in Germany, France, Italy, Canada…

 

The score includes a considerable ‘Theoretical Preface ‘ by the composer, with the description of the 27 cycles used.
 

I saved the programme from the 10 November 1945 concert in the course of which, in a jam-packed Salle Chopin, were given four first performances by Ivan Wyschnegradsky – this by the devoted attention of a quartet of urchins, each aged barely twenty: Yvonne Loriod, Yvette Grimaud, Pierre Boulez and myself.
‘We had spent long days working under the direction of an author who looked like a prophet, visibly inspired by Heaven, and whose long arms, beating immutable quavers, pointed alternatively at each of us as if to denounce with a vengeful finger his melodic lines quartered between the four pianos.
‘But what joy finding ourselves as if immersed in the magical world of micro-intervals, unreal harmonies, in a fantastical atmosphere, an Ali-Baba’s cavern where diamonds, carbuncles and other precious sound gems glittered.
‘The letdown was hard the day after the concert, when we returned to the ordinary sound world, a bit commonplace and prosaic, of our good old 12-note scale of which the chromatic intervals seemed to us to flirt with gaping holes in which all enchantment had vanished
.’ (Serge Nigg – January 1985 for the programme of the 1st March 1985 concert, organized by the Association Ivan Wyschnegradsky in the large hall of the Centre Pompidou, Paris – English translation: John Tyler Tuttle)

 




Opus 31 Troisième Fragment symphonique (Third Symphonic Fragment, 1947, rev. 1964)

For four pianos tuned two by two a quarter-tone apart and percussion ad libitum.


details

Playing time: 12’

Unpublished

First performance: 7 January 1977, at the Maison de la Radio, Paris, by Sylvaine Billier, Martine Joste, Jean-François Heisser and Jean Koerner, conducted by Michel Decoust.

 

Stravinsky’s rhythms with the jerky accents of The Rite of Spring seem much more distinct in the first part of the work, but they are soon blurred by an expressive melody. Right in the middle of the central part and in the upper register a severe, archaic four-part chorale phrase suddenly appears in the traditional diatonic system. It enters into fascinating conflict with the modern world of quarter-tones: stylistic pluralism, as is found only in very young music. These multiple levels are finally condensed to form packets of massive chords. Gottfried Eberle (liner notes from the double-LP set released by Edition Block/Berlin – English translation: John Tyler Tuttle)

 




Opus 37 Arc-en-ciel (Rainbow, 1956)

Six pianos tuned a twelfth of a tone apart:
Piano 1: normal diapason. Piano 2: 1/12th tone higher. Piano 3: 1/6th tone higher. Piano 4: quarter-tone higher. Piano 5: 1/6th tone lower. Piano 6: 1/12th tone lower.




details

Playing time: 9′

Unpublished

First performance: Autumn 1988 in Graz (Austria), Steirischer Herbst, Christian Aigner, Janna Polyzoides, Isabelle Poncet, Elisabeth Schadler, Karl-Heinz Schuh, and Rita Solymar, pianos, conducted by Georg-Friedrich Haas.

 




Opus 38c Quatrième Fragment symphonique (Fourth Symphonic Fragment, 1956)

For ondes Martenot and four pianos tuned two by two a quarter-tone apart.

details

Playing time: 12′

Unpublished

First performance: 8 January 1993, at Salle Pollack, Montreal: Concert ‘Homage to Ivan Wyschnegradsky ‘, with Pierrette Lepage, Paul Helmer, Marc Couroux, François Couture, pianos, and the Ensemble d’Ondes de Montréal, conducted by Bruce Mather.

 




Opus 52a Arc-en-ciel II (Rainbow II, 1956-58)

Six pianos tuned a twelfth of a tone apart, unfinished work.


details

Unpublished

 




Œuvre sans titre (Untitled work, 1945?)

Four pianos tuned a quarter-tone and a sixth of a tone apart.
Score reconstructed by Bruce Mather based on the separate parts.

details

Unpublished

 




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