Presentation on theme: "Program Partita No. 2 in C Minor, BWV 826 Johann Sebastian Bach Sinfonia (1685-1750) Allemande Courante Sarabande Rondeaux Capriccio Ballade No. 2 in."— Presentation transcript:
Program Partita No. 2 in C Minor, BWV 826 Johann Sebastian Bach Sinfonia (1685-1750) Allemande Courante Sarabande Rondeaux Capriccio Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38 Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) Intermission Fantasy in C, Op. 17 Robert Schumann (1810-1856) Durchaus phantastisch und leidenschaftlich vorzutragen Durchaus energisch Langsam getragen: Durchweg leise zu halten
The Partita (or Suite) No. 2 in C Minor was written between the years of 1727 and 1730 and was assembled for publication by its composer Johann Sebastian Bach with six other keyboard suites in 1731. These six partitas were Bachs first attempt at publishing his music. What is curious is that at the time, this volume was designated as his Opus 1 (an indication stating that this was his first work). Having already composed the greater part of his surviving works, including the two and three part Inventions, the first book of the Well- Tempered Clavier, the organ works, the chamber music, the violin concertos, the orchestral suites, the Brandenburg Concertos, cantatas and two Choral/Instrumental Passions, this use of the term Opus 1 seems ridiculous. However, the custom of the time was to give opus numbers only to printed works, and among printed works only to instrumental music. His music has since then been re-catalogued with the Bach Werke Verzeichnis (BWV), or the Bach Works Catalogue system. Written in the C Minor tonality, this partita sounds with a dark, brooding feeling behind it. As is typical in many of Bachs instrumental suites, it does not open with a dance movement but rather with an instrumental influenced Sinfonia, an announcement with dotted rhythms much like a French overturesignaling that an event is about to take place. Bach does not disappoint. As the Sinfonia ends, Bach leaves both listener and performer breathless with his fugal, or layering of voices, compositional ability. The following dance movements, the Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Rondeaux and Capriccio are all relatively close in tempo in this keyboard suite and do not contrast each other in relationship to speed. However, the distinct, overall distinctiveness of each movement follows the tradition of the German (Allemande), French (Courante and Rondeaux), Italian (Capriccio) and Spanish (Sarabande) influenced dances. Each movement is in bi-partite form (: A :: B :) with each section being repeated and ornamented as directed by performance practices from the Baroque Era (1600-1750). (Parts of these program notes based on the preface of the Wiener Urtext, Schott/Universal edition). Published in 1840, Frédéric Chopins Op. 38 in F Major was the second of four large single movement works which he called Ballades. Not to be confused or compared to the old poetical ballad made up of three strophes followed by a refrain, these ballades are thought to have been indirectly influenced by the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz, whose narrative poems tell of legendary or fantastic subjects. This piece was dedicated to Robert Schumann and opens with a charmingly beautiful theme, followed by a second contrasting theme full of dramatic energy. After a developmental section of the first theme, the repeated second theme (this time being altered) leads to a furious coda section, and finally ends impassioned emotions with a haunting and tragic whisper of the opening.
Robert Schumann had great expectations of his Fantasy, Op. 17 which perhaps left a deep spiritual impact on the composer. Schumanns diary contains the following entry in December 1836, Work: Sonata for Beethoven (the initial title of the work). Except for minor details, completed at the beginning of December…Plans, tears, dreams, work, collapse, awakening, much affection from less familiar ones. Initially he wanted the work to be published by Friedrich Kistner of Leipzig as a dedication in Beethovens honor. A monument had been planned in Bonn for the great Beethoven as early as 1835, but the actual unveiling ceremony did not take place until 1845. Schumanns work did not wait for the unveiling – it was published in 1839 by a different publisher, Breitkopf and Härtel, with the title as Fantasy, Op. 17. In 1838, Schumann wrote to his bride to be, Clara Wieck, …the work is perhaps the most passionate of all I have ever composed – a deep yearning for you. The first movement is marked with the note To be played fantastically and passionately throughout, and Schumann also included the following poem by Schlegel on the score of the first movement: Furch alle Töne tönet Among all the sounds Im bunten Erdentraum In the bright dream of earthly life Ein leiser Ton gezogen There is emitted a soft tone Für den der Heimlich lauschet For him who listens in secret Although this work has been compared to a large scale sonata with three movements, its overall form does not comply. The second movement entitled Durchaus energisch (to be played energetically) is unusual to the sonata form in that it is the virtuosic movement of the entire work, with sentiments of grandeur as well as playfulness as heard in the skipping rhythms that permeate. In this amazing display of pianistic writing, one can truly hear the elements of compositional style we so strongly associate with Schumanns early piano works: an ever-present specialized approach to lyrical phrasing while at the same time using rhythmically altered accompanimental figures, accents on the off beats, and contrasting characters representing Schumanns altered personalities named Florestan (extrovert) and Eusebius (introvert). As most sonatas end with a lively and exciting movement, Schumann has reserved the last movement for a slow and stately, almost sacred sentiment in which he asks the performer to hold without exception, a feeling of quietness and safekeeping. It is for this last movement that our performer tonight has chosen to study this work. (Program notes based in part on the preface of the Henle edition).