From Carnegie Hall: Daniil Trifonov, Piano- Kremerata Baltica


Carnegie Hall

Daniil Trifonov, Piano
Kremerata Baltica

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage

Tickets

1
Daniil Trifonov, Piano

2
Kremerata Baltica

The Guardian has cited Daniil Trifonov’s virtuosity, calling it “elegant and purposeful, [with] every trick deployed to summon new colors, rather than as an end itself.” Trifonov and the Kremerata Baltica showcase Chopin’s complete music for piano and orchestra in this concert. From the sheer brio of the Variations on Là ci darem la mano”from Mozart’s Don Giovanni—which inspired Schumann to comment, “Hats off, gentlemen! A genius!”—to the poetry of the Piano Concerto No. 1, Chopin’s mastery has no better advocate than Trifonov.

Performers
Daniil Trifonov, Piano
Kremerata Baltica

with
Gidon Kremer, Violin
Giedrė Dirvanauskaitė, Cello

Program
ALL-CHOPIN PROGRAM
Variations on Là ci darem la mano from Mozart’s Don Giovanni (arr. Andrei Pushkarev)
Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 8
Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 17, No. 4 (arr. Victor Kissine)
Piano Concerto No. 1 (arr. Yevgeny Sharlat)

Event Duration
The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN

About the Composer

Born in 1810, Chopin graduated at age 19 from the High School of Music in Warsaw, where his teachers singled him out as an “exceptional talent” and “musical genius.” Eager to make his mark, he struck out to conquer Europe and eventually settled in Paris, where he would make his home for the rest of his short life. Chopin demonstrated uncompromising independence as both composer and pianist; his fellow virtuoso Franz Liszt characterized him as “one of those original beings” who are “adrift from all bondage.” It was arguably the exceptional range and subtlety of his keyboard technique that enabled Chopin to cast off the shackles of musical convention so successfully. One contemporary marveled at his arpeggios, “which swelled and diminished like waves in an ocean of sound.” Another recalled how Chopin’s apparently delicate hands “would suddenly expand and cover a third of the keyboard. It was like the opening of the mouth of a serpent about to swallow a rabbit whole.” Chopin’s radically unconventional conception of the piano, and his unique blend of Classical discipline and Romantic freedom, made him one of the authentically revolutionary figures in music history.

Variations on Là ci darem la mano from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Op. 2 (arr. Andrei Pushkarev)

The praise that Chopin’s teachers heaped upon him is amply justified by his highly accomplished set of variations for piano and orchestra on Là ci darem la mano, the beguiling duet in which Don Giovanni attempts to seduce Zerlina, the naive peasant girl, in the first act of Mozart’s opera. Composed in 1827, while Chopin was still a student in Warsaw, the Op. 2 Variations are imbued with the seemingly effortless brilliance associated with the reigning keyboard virtuosos of the day. This unpretentious crowd-pleaser would be Chopin’s passport out of Poland. In the summer of 1829, he traveled to Vienna with several of his former classmates. It was there that his future publisher arranged for him to perform the variations at the prestigious Kärntnertortheater (where Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony had been premiered just five years earlier). “Everyone clapped so loudly after each variation that I had difficulty hearing the orchestral tuttis,” Chopin reported to his family. “At the end, they applauded so loudly that I had to come back twice and bow.” Two years later, a rising composer and critic in Leipzig named Robert Schumann launched Chopin’s international career with a rave review of the Mozart Variations that included the immortal line, “Hats off, gentlemen—a genius.”

A Closer Listen

Chopin took umbrage at Schumann’s literary-minded interpretation of the Là ci darem la mano Variations as a faithful musical re-enactment of Mozart’s seduction scene. According to Schumann, he told a friend incredulously, “They are not ordinary variations, but a fantastic tableau,” adding, “I could die laughing at this German’s imagination.” Yet there is no denying the operatic flavor of Chopin’s music, which owes much of its sparkle and elegance to the florid embellishments of bel canto vocalism. The lengthy Introduction ruminates at leisure on the opening phrase of Mozart’s melody, showcasing the lacy textures and richly embroidered lines that had already become Chopin’s stock-in-trade. After presenting the full theme in its pristine simplicity, Chopin subjects it to a series of five intricately figured variations, punctuated by short orchestral interludes in a prosaic chordal style that contrasts with the piano’s poetic caprice. The minor-key fifth variation, replete with dramatic flourishes and fluttering, leads to the final “Alla polacca,” in which Mozart’s square-cut tune is transformed into a swaggering, triple-time Polish dance.

Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 8

In the fall of 1829, fresh from his triumphant tour to Austria and Germany, Chopin accepted an invitation from Prince Antoni Radziwiłł to visit his hunting lodge in the mountains outside Warsaw. An amateur composer and cellist, the prince was eager for his daughters to have musical instruction. It was for one of the “two young Eves in this paradise,” as Chopin called them, that he composed the Introduction and Polonaise brillante, Op. 3. At the same time, he seized the opportunity to read through his new Piano Trio in G Minor, which he had started the previous summer and finished a few months before his graduation from the High School of Music. Unfortunately for posterity, Chopin would compose only two more pieces of chamber music.

A Closer Listen

The Piano Trio in G Minor opens with a salvo of slashing chords that establish the first movement’s urgent and somewhat peremptory character. Yet for all its fire and fitful fury, the Allegro con fuoco has more than its share of lyricism, as illustrated by the smoothly soaring counter subject that the strings introduce after the initial hubbub dies down. Both here and in the ensuing major-key Scherzo—parts of which echo the delicacy of Mendelssohn—Chopin often seems to be deliberately holding his virtuosity in check, determined to give the violin and cello a weight and presence commensurate with the piano’s. Significantly, however, the piano takes the initiative in both the quietly impassioned Adagio and the springy, Polish-flavored Finale. In these two movements, Chopin’s distinctive voice clearly emerges in the music’s characteristically intricate ornamentation, supple rhythmic give and take, and carefully calibrated balance of energy and repose.

Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 17, No. 4 (arr. Victor Kissine)

Chopin had a special affinity for the mazurka, a triple-meter folk dance from his native Poland that was enthusiastically adopted by the haute monde of Paris. The 60 or so mazurkas that he wrote from the mid-1820s to the last year of his life are marked by a unique blend of folk-like simplicity and sophistication. Although Chopin had little firsthand experience of authentic Polish folk idioms, he knew enough about the mazurka to mimic the characteristic two-part texture of a lyrical descant voice floating above a droning bass (often played by a bagpipe). In addition, the four Op. 17 mazurkas of 1833 are steeped in the operatic style of Chopin’s friend Vincenzo Bellini. Both composers frequented musical soirees at the Paris home of a singer named Lina Freppa, to whom the Op. 17 set is dedicated.

A Closer Listen

Chopin’s mazurkas typically have a basic A-B-A song form, the outer sections enclosing a middle section in a contrasting key. Simple oom-pah-pah accompaniments are set against florid, metrically playful figurations in the right hand. In Op. 17, No. 4, the tonal contrast between A minor and A major is heightened by the distinction between the crisply dotted rhythms, chromatic harmonies, and rippling melodic embellishments of the framing sections and the calm, steady pulse and restrained lyricism of the central panel, anchored by an insistently repeated A pedal note.

Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 11 (arr. Yevgeny Sharlat)

At the beginning of his career, Chopin’s reputation rested on his large-scale “public” works for piano and orchestra more than on his intimate salon pieces. Most up-and-coming composers would have been heartened by the popular success of the two bravura concertos that he wrote back to back in 1829 and 1830 (paradoxically, No. 1 in E Minor was composed after No. 2 in F Minor). Chopin, however, felt discomfited: Despite the rapturous praise that his performances elicited wherever he appeared, the high-profile career of a touring virtuoso held little appeal. Three weeks after premiering the E-Minor Concerto in Warsaw on October 11, 1830, he left Poland in search of greener pastures, never to return. Upon arriving in Paris the following September, he introduced himself to Friedrich Kalkbrenner, the dean of the city’s pianists. Impressed by Chopin’s private performance of the E-Minor Concerto, Kalkbrenner immediately arranged for him to play it and the Mozart Variations in his Paris debut at the Salle Pleyel a few weeks later. Chopin expressed his gratitude by dedicating the concerto to Kalkbrenner.

A Closer Listen

In a letter to a school friend, Chopin confessed his concern that the Concerto in E Minor was “far too original and I shall end up not being able to learn it myself.” The opening Allegro maestoso is indeed somewhat idiosyncratic when measured against the balanced formal structures of the Classical concerto. The orchestra introduces the two principal themes, in E minor and E major—the first restless and urgent, the second tenderly lyrical—and then effectively bows out in favor of the pianist. (Berlioz, one of Chopin’s early champions, criticized the concerto’s orchestral accompaniment as “cold, almost superfluous.”) Characteristically, Chopin shows greater interest in thematic elaboration than development. The same can be said for the E-major slow movement, which Chopin described as “a quiet and melancholy romance. Its effect is meant to be like that of gently gazing upon a place that awakens a thousand sweet memories, like a reverie in a beautiful moonlit night in spring.” In contrast to the Romanze’s muted, nocturnal mood, the final Rondo is a dazzling burst of sunlight, its recurring theme characterized by jaunty dance rhythms and awash in brilliant figurations.

—Harry Haskell

© 2018 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

See the full article here .

Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east side of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park.
Designed by architect William Burnet Tuthill and built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1891, it is one of the most prestigious venues in the world for both classical music and popular music. Carnegie Hall has its own artistic programming, development, and marketing departments, and presents about 250 performances each season
Carnegie Hall has 3,671 seats, divided among its three auditoriums.
Main Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)
Zankel Hall
Weill Recital Hall
The building also contains the Carnegie Hall Archives, established in 1986, and the Rose Museum, which opened in 1991. Until 2009 studios above the Hall contained working spaces for artists in the performing and graphic arts including music, drama, dance, as well as architects, playwrights, literary agents, photographers and painters. The spaces were unusual in being purpose-designed for artistic work, with very high ceilings, skylights and large windows for natural light.

Carnegie Hall is named after Andrew Carnegie, who funded its construction. It was intended as a venue for the Oratorio Society of New York and the New York Symphony Society, on whose boards Carnegie served. Construction began in 1890, and was carried out by Isaac A. Hopper and Company. Although the building was in use from April 1891, the official opening night was May 5, with a concert conducted by maestro Walter Damrosch and great Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.[15][16] Originally known simply as “Music Hall” (the words “Music Hall founded by Andrew Carnegie” still appear on the façade above the marquee), the hall was renamed Carnegie Hall in 1893 after board members of the Music Hall Company of New York (the hall’s original governing body) persuaded Carnegie to allow the use of his name. Several alterations were made to the building between 1893 and 1896, including the addition of two towers of artists’ studios, and alterations to the smaller auditorium on the building’s lower level.

The hall was owned by the Carnegie family until 1925, when Carnegie’s widow sold it to a real estate developer, Robert E. Simon. When Simon died in 1935, his son, Robert E. Simon, Jr., became owner. By the mid-1950s, changes in the music business prompted Simon to offer Carnegie Hall for sale to the New York Philharmonic, which booked a majority of the hall’s concert dates each year.
Most of the greatest performers of classical music since the time Carnegie Hall was built have performed in the Main Hall, and its lobbies are adorned with signed portraits and memorabilia. The NBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Arturo Toscanini, frequently recorded in the Main Hall for RCA Victor. On November 14, 1943, the 25-year old Leonard Bernstein had his major conducting debut when he had to substitute for a suddenly ill Bruno Walter in a concert that was broadcast by CBS,[19] making him instantly famous. In the fall of 1950, the orchestra’s weekly broadcast concerts were moved there until the orchestra disbanded in 1954. Several of the concerts were televised by NBC, preserved on kinescopes, and have been released on home video.

Many legendary jazz and popular music performers have also given memorable performances at Carnegie Hall including Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Billie Holiday, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Violetta Villas, Judy Garland, Harry Belafonte, Charles Aznavour, Ike & Tina Turner, Paul Robeson, Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey, James Gang and Stevie Ray Vaughan, all of whom made celebrated live recordings of their concerts there.

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