Snyprr: check out Beveridge Webster on YouTube! See if you change your mind about the "ugliness" of the piece!
I have not listened to it in years, but the oldie LP recording by Beveridge Webster still sounds great!
The Second Sonata isn't serial at all. Of the three, only the Third uses Sessions's personal adaptation of the 12-tone technique. For that matter, I don't find it ugly; it is violent, to be sure, and the final movement's grotesque march is intentionally quite "crunchy," but the middle movement adagio is extremely delicate, and the first movement has some remarkable flights of fantasy.
Also, Sessions' music is really written from a Romantic perspective of expression. Like Schoenberg, his music is supposed to be played with emotion and feeling, and this does indeed put him in contrast to the cooler, wittier Babbitt.
I enjoyed Holzman's recordings of all three sonatas, personally, and his Second comes with fine recordings of works featuring the violin as well.
OK, it's not Serial, but,... mm,... it's just got TOO MANY NOTES for me, lol. I listened to the Webster, but it sounded no different than the three from yesterday,... which, I suppose, shows the consistency of the piece!?! I think I would need the delicacy of a Ranki to fully appreciate the fist fulls of notes,... it seems the music demands an airtight recording venue and crystalline and uber delicate playing. However, I'm not arguing here...
I do like the 'Lento', sure. I think I just don't like the outer movements' themes, perhaps? It all sounds "plonky, bonky" to me, kind of like Boulez No.2 (Pollini), but that piece does the "flaying" more to my liking. Here it seems as if Sessions is in between two worlds, not able (because the language hasn't advanced that far in 1946?) to go fully over the top.
I mean, sorry if I hear just a touch of the "clangy",... no matter who plays it, I'm still hearing the same things,... I'll see if Holzman's on YT...
Yea, I suppose I need my AvantGarde to be more cerebral and less overtly "emotional",... maybe I'm just done with Germanic Expressionism as Music? The only "emotion" I ever seem to hear is hysterical anger and/or horror (Schoenberg writing his String Trio as an "ode to heart attack").
Yes, the Sessions isn't the most "bangy, clanky" piece in existence, it does have delicacy,... I mean,... I mean,... I wasn't having the same issues with Carter's Sonata (of the same year?).
Could you compare the Sessions with the Carter for me? Yea, the Carter doesn't really start off with all the busy activity...
I think again, the Lawson, with the tighter and "duller" Virgin sound, seems to absorb this piece the best for me. And, he does stretch out the 'Lento' by two minutes to no ill effect.
I think the main problem I'm having is "mid range fatigue": the violence does seem to all occur in that mid range where it "attacks my ear", kind of wanting to induce a "concentration migraine"??!! oy vei, I'm sure I'm just digging my hole deeper now, haha...
OK, ... UNCLE!! UNCLE!!