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.

 

 

cd casque2
Click on the icon to go to the CD or audio excerpt.

 


[19 works]
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Opus 2 Deux préludes pour piano (Two Preludes for piano, spring of 1916)


details

Playing time: 3’40 (1’40 + 2′)

Publisher: Belaïeff.

First performance: 7 January 1977 at the Maison de Radio France, Paris, by Jean-François Heisser.

 




Opus 5a Quatre fragments (Four Fragments, Petrograd, 7 November 1918)

1) – Sauvage, quadrangulaire 2) – Parfaitement libre 3) – Fantasque 4) – Avec une nécessité de fer

Version for piano in semitones.

details

Playing time: 2′30

Unpublished

First performance: 5 October 1979 at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, by Jean-Claude Pennetier.

 




Opus 15 Prélude et fugue (Prelude and Fugue, 1927)

Piano in quarter-tones.
Transcription for string quartet in 1928 (version lost).

details

Playing time: 8′ (2’10 + 5’50)

Unpublished

First performance: 19 December 1928 at Salle Chopin-Pleyel, Paris, by the Vandelle Quartet.

 

Ivan Wyschnegradsky wrote in his journal: November 1928. Rehearsal of my fugue by the Vandelle Quartet. The Vandelle Quartet plays my fugue before the Pro Musica committee. The quartet is accepted. 19 December 1928. Hearing of my fugue by the Vandelle Quartet at the Société Pro Musica concert. (English translation: John Tyler Tuttle)

 




Opus 16a Prélude et Danse (Prelude and Dance, 1926)

Piano in quarter-tones.

details

Playing time: 4’05 (2’ + 2’05)

Unpublished




Opus 20a Étude en forme de scherzo (Etude in the Form of a Scherzo, 1931)

Piano in quarter-tones.

details

Playing time: 4’15

Unpublished




Opus 21a Prélude et Fugue (Prelude and Fugue, 1932)

Piano in quarter-tones.

details

Unpublished




Opus 22a 24 Préludes (24 Preludes, 1934)

In all the tones of the chromatic scale diatonicized to 13 notes. Synthetic score with notation in quarter-tones.

details

Playing time: 42’30

Publisher: Belaïeff

 

Excerpt of the Preface of the 24 Preludes by Ivan Wyschnegradsky:
This work is composed in an ultrachromatic quartertone scale; that is in a pitch system containing 24 equidistant tones within an octave. It is written for two pianos tuned a quartertone apart. The first piano remains at the concert pitch, the second is tuned a quartertone lower.
New accidentals were invented to create a quartertone notation : (……)
However, because of the quartertone displacement of the two instruments, this notation was not necessary for the two-piano score. These accidentals are nevertheless applied to the two-stave transcription of the work, the purpose of which is to convey an overall image of the makeup of each prelude and which is edited separetely.
A vertically striped half-moon spanning an interval signifies a tone-cluster, indicating that the hand (held flat) is required to depress the white and the black keys together. Mezzo denotes a dynamic nuance between mp and mf
. (English translation: John Tyler Tuttle)

 




Opus 38a Prélude pour piano (Prelude for piano, 1957, rev. 1964)

For piano in semitones.


details

In the catalogue established by Ivan Wyschnegradsky in 1976, this opus was entitled Two pieces for piano: 1 – Prelude; II – Elévation, composed respectively in 1957 and 1964. Also see Solitude of 1959, integrated into Opus 38.

Playing time: 4’30

Unpublished

First performance: 3 February 1980 in Berlin, by Sylvaine Billier.

 




Opus 40 Étude sur le carré magique sonore (Etude on the magic sound square, 1957, rev. 1970)

Piano in semitones.






details

Playing time: 9′

Publisher: Belaïeff

First performance: 8 April 1971 at the Royan Festival, by Marie-Elena Barrientos.

 

Wyschnegradsky definitively formulated his theory of cyclical tonal space with a regulated internal structure in 1952. The opus 40 is the first composition that strictly follows the rules of this theory. It is based on the Magic Square as it was found in the Roman catacombs.

SATOR
AREP0
TENET
OPERA
ROTAS

The same words are formed vertically downwards as horizontally left to right. Wyschnegradsky replaced the letters of the words with measures, in this case, six of them, the ends of which lead back to the beginning and which, when placed in canonic order, result in the structure of the Magic Square. The form of the Etude alternates between improvisation with the given elements and strict submission of these elements to the structure. If there ever was a case of musical cubism, this is it. Since the order within the tonal space approaches that of Messiaen’s scales, the resulting sound is also very similar. Messiaen even wrote a letter to Wyschnegradsky praising the « uncompromising organization », the « imaginative rhythms », and the « vicissitude of the form, so captivating and full of life. » Gottfried Eberle (LP disc Block, English Translation: Alice Dampmann)

 




Opus 42 Étude ultrachromatique pour l’orgue tricesimoprimal du Pr. Adriaan Fokker (Ultrachromatic Etude for Prof. Adriaan Fokker’s tricesimoprimal organ, 1959)

Organ in 1/31st of an octave.


details

Playing time: 4’30

Unpublished

First performance: 13 February 1998, Amstelveen, Netherlands, by Joop van Goozen.




Opus 44 Deux pièces (Two Pieces, 1958, rev. 1972)

a – Poème, for Julian Carrillo’s piano in sixths of tone
b – Etude, for Julian Carrillo’s piano in twelfths of tone

details

Playing time: 4’45 (3′ + 1’45)

Unpublished

First performances:
– 22 October 1986 in Graz (Austria), Georg Friedrich Haas performed the Etude Op. 44b on the synthesizer.
– 8 May 2002 in Mexico City, Martine Joste played the Etude Op. 44b on Julian Carrillo’s piano in twelfths of tone.

 

Opus 44 Deux pièces




Opus 48 Prélude et Étude (Prelude and Etude, 1966)

For Julian Carrillo’s piano in third of tone.




details

Playing time: 7′ (3′ + 4′)

Unpublished

First performance: 18 August 1972 in Munich, by Martine Joste.

 

The Mexican Julian Carrillo (1893-1965) demonstrated his micro-interval pianos in 1958 in the Salle Gaveau in Paris, which divided the whole step into any desired number of intervals from three to sixteen. Ferruccio Busoni had already developed a third tone system in 1906. The interesting thing about Carrillo’s instrument is the complete absence of the half-step. In opus 48 Wyschnegradsky contrasts a delicate, meditative Prelude with a hectic, screaming-siren-like Etude. Gottfried Eberle (LP disc Block, English Translation: Alice Dampmann)

 




Chant funèbre (Trauer Gesang /Funeral Song, 1922)

Piano in quarter-tones.

details

Playing time: 4’

First performance: 29 November 1993 in Prague, by Vojtěch Spurný on the quarter-tone piano by the August Forster Co.

 




Di-Ra-Te-Lo-Tu (1918)

Piece for the black keys of piano according to Nikolai Obukhov’s notation.

details

Playing time: 1’40

Unpublished

 




Elévation, à la mémoire de N. Obouhov (Elevation in Memory of N. Obukhov, 1964)

Piano in semitones.

details

Became the second of the Three Pieces, Op. 38

Unpublished

First performance: 28 August 2004, Kunnersdorf (Görlitz), Germany, Christoph Staude, piano.

 




Ombres (Shadows, 1916, reconstructed from memory in 1948)

Piano in semitones.

details

Unpublished




Solitude (1959)

Piano solo in semitones.

details

Became the third of the Three pieces, Op. 38

Playing time: 4’20

Unpublished

First performance: 28 August 2004, Kunnersdorf (Görlitz), Germany, Christoph Staude, piano.

 




Trois Epigrammes (Three Epigrams, 1923)

Piano in quarter-tones. See Quatre Epigrammes, Humoresque.

details

Playing time: I and II, c. 5’

Unpublished

First performance: 29 November 1993, in Prague, by Vojtěch Spurný on the piano in quarter-tones of the August Forster Co.

 

Ivan Wyschnegradsky wrote in his journal:’ July 1923: I am writing a piece for violin and piano in quarter-tones [later destroyed] and 2 etudes for piano in quarter-tones (later, with the Humoresque, they will make up the 3 Epigrammes for piano in quarter-tones, of which the sole copy, on the advice of R. Petit, was sent in 1927 to Hába to be played on the piano in quarter-tones and that he will never return to me). Then later, January 1927: I learn that Hába is going to introduce the quarter-tone piano in Paris. Following the advice of R. Petit, I’m sending him my music to be played at this concert (Chant funèbre, 6 Etudes sur la note do, 3 épigrammes). Not only will it not be played, but I will never see my music again (except for the 1st, the former humoresque that will now become a capriccio).’ (Note by Franck Jedrzejewski – English translation: John Tyler Tuttle)

 




Une pièce – Ein Stück (A Piece, 1927?)

For piano in quarter-tones.

details

Unpublished

First performance: 29 November 1993 in Prague, by Vojtěch Spurný on the quarter-tone piano by the August Forster Co.

 

Score in 2 colours, Ivan Wyschnegradsky’s sole attempt at this type of writing in quarter-tones. This score, in red and black, was found in very poor condition in 1992 by the Czech composer and musicologist Martin Smolka amongst Alois Hába’s archives in Prague. See the note from Ivan Wyschnegradsky’s journal for the Three Epigrammes.




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