Broekmans en van Poppel Amsterdam

Sonata No. 2
By Avi Schönfeld

Avi Schönfeld displays an individual style in this
ambitious, large-scale three-movement Sonata. The
Harmonic language seems to be a compromise between
The rigorously discipline dissonance of the 2nd Viennese
School and the simpler chromatic tonality of Barber. The
pianism is extremely fluent. In fact, while reading through
it at the piano, it seemed to me so immaculately “playable”
despite the high level of energy and virtuosity that once
in a while I almost wished for the odd “thorny” bit to come
along. There' s plenty to grapple with musically, through
with the great variety of gesture and expression.

Schönfeld' s music is very much concerned with the
subtleties of declamation. Phrase lengths are generally
short, and clearly punctuated by breathing marks or
rests, rather like human speech. The music tends to
present a series of statements to build a compelling
argument, rather than to transport the listener with al long
sweeping line. This technique works very well to create
a convincing sonata, form in the first movement. Sonata-
writing in our century carries with it the danger of over-
compensating for the lack of tonic/dominant ballast in
traditional tonal harmony by differentiating and
sectionalising the material into all-too-obvious sections.
Schönfeld's subtle understanding of declamation and
gesture helps to overcome this obstacle, so that the form
is clear and logical without being rigid or contrived.

The middle movement provides lighter relief between
the powerful outer movements. The first section contains
striking contrasts between short, gentle “parlando” phrases
and violent outbursts, almost in a kind of puppet-like or
“Commedia del Arte” style. The music changes from duple
to triple time, leading to a brilliantly virtuosic waltz section
before ending somewhat in the opening mood again,
through without any traditional recapitulation. The last
movement is filled with forceful drive and refined
fireworks. The ending of this movement, as well as the
first, strike me as a bit too stable and final, and seem to
be so more by will than by design. But that is a quibbling
point to make about a work otherwise so full of
imagination and authoritative craftsmanship.


source: Piano Journal London
Max Eschig

By Avi Schönfeld

This is not an easy piece, not least due to the metronome
marking of 210 to the crochet (moving mostly in quavers
and semiquavers), but its short duration (3 mins.) palatable
harmonic language (somewhere in the range of late scriabin
or Szymanowski) and its eminently pianistic qualities make
it an impressive display vehicle for an advanced piano student.
Commisioned as a set piece for the Ecole Normale (Paris)
Diplôme Superieur.


source: Piano Journal London
Broekmans en van Poppel Amsterdam

Évocations -3 pieces for piano-
By Avi Schönfeld

"Évocations are written for pianists who are in love with their intrument and its expression and colour possibilities". So describes the composer Avi Schönfeld (who works in Holland) his three part composition, which has been published recently in a beautiful printed form by "Partitura" Editions in Utrecht. The work is written in an expressionist, modern idiom in which the piano is treated in the traditional manner. It is felt already bij the first reading of this not easy but very clear score that Schönfeld cares very much about colour and beautiful sound effects. He uses the possibilities of nuances and contrasts of the instrument in a most effective way as well in the tone level and different kinds of touchée. In this is this work indeed a hommage to the intrument as the composer has characterised his work. The first piece is in this aspect the most soundinspired. It has a flexible fluent rhitme in which there is much variety. It is a light and shadow composition. Everything depends on the timing of the performer and his tone and colour possibilities. The middle part is especially difficult because it demands a "sempre pianissimo" passage work playing. The second piece is texturally less free, a kind of solemn procession with triples movement in the middle section. The third part is called an "enigma" by the composer. There again rich colour effects with arabesques and chords formations. I won' t analyse the work deeper because i' ve never heard a performance of it and didn' t have (yet) the possibility to work on it seriously. The first impression is however such that i can advise every pianist with an interest for modern music to study and deepen in it. The piece is according to me also especially useful for the professional music student, because it can help to develop the feeling for sound.


source: Piano Bulletin Amsterdam