Reprinted from yesterday's editions.
Pianist Paul Jacobs is a member of that small but intrepid cadre of interpreters who have penetrated the mysteries of "serial" music, the body of work that emerged in Europe and America as an outgrowth of Arnold Schoenberg's so-called "12-tone method." This music is, among other things pervasively dissonant, highly assymetrical in rhythm, and exceedingly complex from a structural standpoint.
The artist who would perform the serial repertoire must come equipped with an especially keen analytical understnading, as well as an extra-ordinary degree of technical proficiency and control.
In a program of works by Stockhausen, Webern and Schoenberg, (along with some prophetic "Etudes" by Debussy), as part of the continuing International Piano Festival at Maryland University, Jacobs once more demonstrated how well he fills the bill.
Where other pianists have four or five shades of dynamic intensity, Jacobs produces a seemingly limitless spectrum of graduations, from bearest audibility to stentorian loudness. It is the same with every aspect of his pianism. More wondrous still are his powers of persuasion - so firm are his own convictions about his repertorire that one begins to share them through his playing.
Even with so gifted a guide, it is no easy matter to navigate the shoals of serialism, but Jacobs has a way of making the attempt seem worth the effort.
The program was designed, in part, to show the expressive diversity of serial composition, and so it did, pitting the jagged streaks of Stockhausen's Klavierstuecke No. V and XI against the crystalline ethereality of Webern's Variations, Op. 27, and the spidery intricacies of Schoenberg's Suite, Op. 25.