Hans Werner Henze-Solo Sonata (Original Version)

Posted on April 2nd, 2017 by


A favourite letter from Henze, on my desk. 2 4 17


After a break from 1991 till 1996, Hans Werner Henze and I worked together on his solo works until 2001. He asked me to perform the great solo sonata, written in 1978 for Jenny Abel, and I confessed that I was surprised and a little frustrated to find that in the interregnum in our collaboration (in 1994) he had ‘revised’ the work. The revision consisted of a number of enormous cuts, and the removal of certain motives from this extraordinary work. Under protest, I performed and recorded this revision (listen here: http://wp.me/sH1iH-17173). But I felt strongly that the revision was a mistake, as if he had decided that certain aspects of his 1970s language needed editing out. So I told him so, and he laughed: ‘All right then, we will agree, that for now, you will perform it and record it my way’ he said. ‘But later … you can do it the old way.’ I have waited nearly 20 years, performing the piece in the revision many times. But now, I have recorded the original version. I confess that I prefer it. It is far more rough-hewn, and feels closer to the ancient origins of the Tuscan folk-theatre on which it is based, and wildly suited to the colours offered by the early Amati on which I have recorded it.

Hans Werner Henze – Solo Sonata (1978) Original Version

Peter Sheppard Skaerved – Girolamo Amati 1628

  1. Tirsi
  2. Mopso
  3. Aristeo

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