The dance is a series of contrasting waltzes, during which the dancers declare their love. At the end he thanks her. They part. Carnaval consists of 22 musical vignettes all constructed from three tiny motifs whose notes are derived from the name of a little German town, Asch. Schumann met Ernestine at the Leipzig home of the piano teacher, Friedrich Wieck, with whom she lodged and studied piano. Matters progressed to the point where Schumann and Ernestine became engaged in December of That month he began writing the music that became Carnaval.
But for the moment, the year-old composer was infatuated with Ernestine. The coincidence seemed to Schumann like fate knocking at the door. He loved puzzles, ciphers and numerical symbolism. This provided just the stimulus he needed to begin a new, large-scale composition.
September 29, 2018
The autobiographical element of Carnaval goes further. Other images of a masked ball at carnival time the pre-Lenten season make fleeting appearances. I enjoyed it very much. I clicked on it and was transfixed and transported by the majesty and sheer magic of his playing. Again, a performance so compelling that I had to immerse myself in it to the end.
I have a confession here. These will be concerts to linger in the memory for a lifetime. The composer called each of his two sonatas Op. In these works, the improvisatory impulse, free flights of fancy and avoidance of conventional forms are carried further than ever before. While the first of the two Op.
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The subtitle, as many people are aware, was not given by Beethoven. The musical and structural as opposed to the romantic and fictitious elements of the sonata are considerable. The Moonlight is written in a rarely-used key, especially for the periodC-sharp minor. Mozart did not write a single work in this key, and Haydn did so only once. Also, most unusually, all three movements are based in the tonality of C-sharp: minor for the outer movements, major for the central one, at least to the ear.
The Allegretto is technically in D-flat major, the enharmonic equivalent of C-sharp major, and easier to read than C-sharp major; the latter would require seven sharps in its key signature! Like the two previous sonatas, this one is an experiment in form, with Beethoven attempting to build a successful structure with the main weight at the end, not the beginning, of the sonata. The opening movement in each of the two previous sonatas had been in slow or moderate tempo, while the finale was not only fast but also the most substantial movement.
In the Moonlight , this approach is carried to extremes. In addition, each movement inhabits a single emotional world without contrasts: the unbroken placidity of the first movement gives way to the blithe, innocent charm of the second, which in turn is succeeded by the tempestuous upheavals of the third.
Gaspard de la nuit ranks as one of the most highly original, imaginative, evocative and technically difficult works in the entire piano repertory. Clearly, Gaspard is something special indeed! ONDINE: Ondine is a beautiful, mischievous water sprite who tries to attract mortal men to her magical kingdom through seductive singing. Ravel portrays her in the rare key of C-sharp major seven sharps! In some of the eeriest sounds in all music, Ravel portrays a corpse hanging from a gibbet, swaying in the wind against a sky reddened by the setting sun.
The scintillating, hallucinatory effects require such technical dexterity as to have earned Gaspard an almost mythic status among pianists. Like many of the great composers, Sergei Prokofiev showed his talent early. He was composing before he was six, he had produced an opera by twelve, and for his application to the St.
Petersburg Conservatory, at thirteen, he submitted four operas, two sonatas, a symphony and several piano works. As a pianist he was no less sensational. He appeared as soloist in his own First Piano Concerto when he was 21 July 25, , in Moscow and less than two years later played the same work, in place of the traditional classical concerto, for his final examination at the St.
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Petersburg Conservatory before a panel of twenty judges, each of whom had the published score in his hands. For the piano alone he left a canon of nine completed sonatas and innumerable smaller pieces, including many written as a boy. The Visions fugitives date from the years Rakhmaninov wrote only two piano sonatas, the First in , the Second in He heavily revised the original version of the Second in , considerably shortening it and lightening the textures in numerous passages.
Although not especially long in minutes, this sonata is big in scope and impact, embracing an enormous emotional range, and approaching symphonic proportions in its textures and polyphonic complexities. The sound of heavy, pounding bells, which fascinated the composer all his life, and which found their way into so many of his scores, are evoked frequently over the course of the sonata. The three movements are not defined as such in the score, and are played without pause, underscoring their close interrelationship.
The first movement conforms to a traditional sonata-allegro structure, whose second subject D-flat major is announced during the first moment of relief from the furious onslaught of dense textures, rhythmic complexities and dramatic flourishes. The second movement serves as an oasis of quiet meditation separating the traumas of the first movement from the virtuoso pyrotechnics of the third.
Both main themes from the first movement make return appearances.
The third movement is launched with a precipitous plunge, fortissimo , spanning four and a half octaves. The first subject is less a theme than a seismic upheaval. The sonata ends with a grand salute to B-flat major. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. How did the New Year start for you? The New Year started with a Messiah concert in Zurich and then 5 days skiing with the kids and friends in Vorarlberg.
September 30, 2018
In my life the influences are too many and too complex to mention. However, in music the dominant influences would be conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Dutch bass-baritone Robert Holl. They are the ones I consider to be masters. You are well known for your performances of music by Schubert and Schumann. What does this music mean to you as an artist? Your Vancouver program is built around the poetry of Heinrich Heine, as set to music by Schubert and Schumann. For you, are music and poetry equal partners, or do you consider poetry first when putting together a program, as seems to be the case for your Vancouver recital?
Many in your Vancouver audience likely will hear you for the first time. For those who do not familiar with your singing, how would you describe your performances and concert experiences? I do not know exactly what I am going to do in my recitals. The interesting thing for me is to be open and sensitive enough to take the inspiration of the moment, and tell a story or a feeling as if it was for the first time.
So it sometimes ends up being pretty much freestyle in proportion to the discipline. For you, what is the role of the piano and the pianist in German art song? Does working with different pianists influence your interpretations and performances?
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I see the singer and accompanist as equal partners. I even consider myself the accompanist to the pianist. Each and every pianist brings their own individual influence to the recital. Also, the same pianist will bring new or different ideas on different days. It is like playing ping pong — one serves and, if lucky, someone plays back! What can you tell us about your collaboration with Roger Vignoles, your pianist for the Vancouver recital? Having the freedom to express myself to an audience, and to be myself in the context of a recital performance. I consider it to be a great privilege.
You are much in demand, and no doubt you travel a lot and often alone. How do you manage to find a balance between the demands on your professional life and your personal life? Thank you for participating in our interview. We are very much looking forward to hearing you in Vancouver on February 19, A recital of Lieder set exclusively to poems of Heinrich Heine and composed solely by Schubert and Schumann is particularly apt inasmuch as Heine was born the same year as Schubert and died the same year as Schumann Heine is best remembered for his exquisite lyrics and ballads.
His Buch der Lieder became one of the most popular books of German verse ever published. Both composers were masters at capturing the psychological atmosphere of each poem, and in both, the piano writing is of utmost importance in defining the mood, which is often extended in the postludes. Schumann wrote his first songs the year before Schubert died. Schumann was seventeen at the time, and was already deeply under the spell of the older composer.
But he wrote no more works in this genre until , his annus mirabilus of song, during which he wrote more than half of his total output of Lieder nearly out of more than , including most of the best as well. Now with legal entanglements out of the way, the future looked bright and rosy, Schumann was in the most buoyant of moods, and he was ready to flex his musical wings in new directions. His abrupt turn from writing exclusively solo piano music to almost exclusively vocal music reflected this turn of events, and he threw himself into his new pursuit with passionate intensity.