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Program Transcription of the Chaconne in D Minor Johann Sebastian Bach/ From the Violin Partita No. 2, BWV 1004 Ferruccio Busoni (1685-1750/1866-1924)

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Presentation on theme: "Program Transcription of the Chaconne in D Minor Johann Sebastian Bach/ From the Violin Partita No. 2, BWV 1004 Ferruccio Busoni (1685-1750/1866-1924)"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Program Transcription of the Chaconne in D Minor Johann Sebastian Bach/ From the Violin Partita No. 2, BWV 1004 Ferruccio Busoni ( / ) Etude in C-sharp Minor, Op. 10, No. 4 Frédéric Chopin Etude in C-sharp Minor, Op. 25, No. 7 ( ) Toccata, Op. 4 (1954) Alicia Terzian (b. 1934) Intermission Piano Sonata No. 7 in D Major, Op. 10, No. 3Ludwig van Beethoven Presto ( ) Largo e mesto Menuetto: Allegro Rondo: Allegro This recital is sponsored by the UTEP Department of Music and Ivories on the Border. To find out how to participate in either organization, please stop by the table in the lobby. The Piano Area thanks you for your support in attending tonight’s performance.

3 Program Notes Born with the extravagant name of Dante Michelangelo Benvenuto Ferruccio Busoni, the only child of two Italian musicians, it is no surprise that this child grew up to not only become a child prodigy pianist, but to also create waves in the world of new music composition. He ran in all of the mainstream, Romantic circles in the late nineteenth century and definitely is a product of this historic time. As a young boy he heard and met famous pianists Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms and Anton Rubinstein, and in 1886, he lived, taught and performed in Leipzig. Thereafter we find him working in Helsinki, Finland (1888), Moscow (1890), and the United States from 1891 to 1894 where he also was sought out for his virtuoso piano performances. Although pianists today mainly know Busoni for his Romantic works for the instrument, Busoni particularly promoted new musical works of the day, as early as Twenty-eight years of age and living in Berlin, he continued concertizing and also conducting. He is said to have influenced the piano playing the great twentieth century Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau. His 1907 article, Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music, which predicted a future music that would break the traditional octave into more than twelve pitches, greatly influenced his students Percy Grainger, Edgard Varèse and Kurt Weill. In Berlin, Busoni died from kidney failure at the age of fifty-eight, leaving a few recordings of his playing as well as a number of piano rolls. The majority of his compositions are for the piano. In 1980 there was a resurgence of piano performances of his works, in particular his keyboard settings of music by Johann Sebastian Bach. Tonight we hear his rendition of the Chaconne from the D minor violin partita. It is interesting that every note of the violin solo is represented in this fantastic piano arrangement, yet set in a Romantic and virtuosic texture. The opening theme in D minor is eight measures long, and is repeated time and time again until the contrasting D major chorale (marked quasi Tromboni ) leads into approximately four minutes of some of the most joyous and fanfare-like writing for the piano of all time. He closes the work transitioning back into d minor (the score being marked espressivo and Più sostenuto ), first very erily and finally resolving the piece with the theme in the most grandiose manner. We can imagine him performing this work, showcasing his own pianist abilities and flair. The 56 th Ferruccio Busoni International Competition is to take place this August and September in Bolzano, Italy. Held in his honor, ut us for young, upcoming pianists. To see more about this composer and this historic competition, visit It was Frédéric Chopin who left the world two amazing collections of study pieces for the keyboard, his etudes of Op. 10 (completed at the age of twenty-three) and Op. 25 (completed at the age of twenty-seven). Surrounded by his unique approach to the instrument—including a wide chromatically advantageous use of harmony, ornamented melodic figures, changes of tempi and mood, and vast range of sound and expressiveness—each etude requires technical prowess in addition to profound musical interpretation. The pianist has chosen both etudes in C-sharp minor. Op. 10, No. 4’s demands are to play fast, evenly and to show one’s strength of finger independence. The whirlwind coda should raise everyone’s heartbeat a few notches. Op. 25, No. 7 asks the pianist to play expressively and investigate the secrets of voicing several layers of sound within each hand. Both etudes challenge the pianist due to their complex sonorities and meandering of harmonically interesting key relationships. Alicia Terzian has been deemed as one of the most dynamic musical figures in Argentina. She studied piano and composition at the Buenos Aires National Conservatory of Music. Her extensive catalogue of over sixty compositions includes works for various genres (orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo instruments, electronic means and voice). In 1978, she founded the Grupo Encuentros de Música Contemporánea de Buenos Aires, presenting new works of some of the most important new music composers of Latin America. The piano Toccata, Op. 4 of 1954 is one of Alicia Terzian’s most important works and was dedicated to her teacher, the great Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera. This work begins as a play on the open interval of a fifth, a sonority much utilized in the compositions of her mentor. In the second section and in the coda, Terzian experiments with the touch (toccata comes from the word tocar, to touch or to play) of the instrument, treating it much more like a percussive drum than the beautifully singing apparatus we know it to be. She uses ideas based on rhythmic Argentine folk music

4 In the late eighteenth century within the provincial town of Bonn, Germany, it was generally known that a young gentleman by the name of Ludwig van Beethoven was destined to become a musician. After all, his father was a musician, the teenager studied music with a mindset that could not be broken by the arduous tasks set before him, and this young man lived to practice the piano for countless number of hours. Everyone in the town knew that he must leave (his father was reportedly abusive and also an alcoholic) in order to have his chance to become a great artist. And so, he would work with the best in Europe at this time: Franz Joseph Haydn. There were a few important people involved in seeing Beethoven’s career take flight: 1) The Elector of Bonn agreed to pay for Beethoven’s lessons with the great composer 2) and a person who would forever be of great importance to Ludwig (some scholars have professed this gentleman to be a father-like figure for Beethoven), Count Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel von Waldstein of Bonn wrote what has since become an extraordinarily famous letter of recommendation. Count Waldstein wrote a flowery letter of introduction to Haydn, yet addressing the letter to Beethoven. The letter stated that the Muse of Music was weeping with her loss of Mozart in the past year (1791), but “…you will go to Vienna, young Beethoven, and you will receive the spirit of Mozart from Haydn’s hand.” The arrangements were made, Haydn met Beethoven, viewed one of the pupil’s cantata manuscripts, and in 1792 at the age of twenty-two, Beethoven moved to Vienna, Austria and began his formal composition and keyboard studies with the master. As it is well known, these two did not hit it off. Haydn viewed the young man as a sort of rebel, seemingly learning the rules of composition just in order to break them. Beethoven saw the sixty-year old teacher as a “stuffed shirt,” taking in his assignments as prescribed and yet knowing that he was simply following a model. The Piano Sonatas from Op. 10 fall within this timeframe of what scholars have referred to as Beethoven’s Early Period ( ). The influences of Haydn and Mozart are alarmingly clear in all of Beethoven’s early works (not just those for the piano). We hear the third and last sonata of this Op. 10 set, his Piano Sonata No. 7 in D Major. The first movement, Presto, begins with an antecedent phrase which initially falls downward: a four-note motive however that quickly turns and ascends, outlining a D Major triad. Much like Haydn and Mozart, Beethoven asks the performer to painstakingly observe each and every articulation mark, providing small connections interspersed with very short notes. There is a brief fermata. The consequent phrase seems to overflow like water splashing from a sink to the floor (when one forgets to shut off the faucet) and the movement is off to the races. Broken arpeggios, scale figures, virtuosic displays of complex rhythm and the two hands each seeming with a mind of its own – these are all characteristics that Mozart and Haydn employed in their keyboard writing style. Here we have it again, but with Beethoven’s keyboard “voice,” which includes a wider use of the instrument, shocking uses of dynamics, ingenious thoughts in regard to melodic development and most definitely the more advantageous use of harmony. The second movement, Largo e mesto (very slow and sad), set in d minor, is the longest slow movement of any of the previous six piano sonatas. This section of the work has become the moment in the piece one seems to associate with that particular Beethoven we all relate to somehow—the symbol of the Romantic soul, desperate, lonely, against the world...It almost seems inevitable that one must mention his deafness, as it was approximately at this time (the work was completed in 1798) that Beethoven began confiding in close friends that he had a hearing problem. The second movement indeed is one of his most heart-wrenching pieces written for the instrument with moments of hope leading to its even more disparaging ending. The third movement Menuetto: Allegro takes the listener back to the initial D Major tonality. The beautiful dance, sparkling with trills, symmetrical phrases, and hand-crosses, provides a wonderful transition to the most charming of all music, the last movement entitled Rondo: Allegro. In speaking about the last movement of a Schubert Sonata in G Major, D. 894, the great pianist Russell Sherman once asked out of desperation, “Doesn’t anyone know what it means to be a true gentleman anymore? Yes, to open the doors for people and to be an honest person, and to live and enjoy life but not at the expense of others—there is something charming and magical about a personality like we hear in this music.” The pianist tonight feels the same way about this last movement. She believes this music provides insight to the Beethoven we don’t imagine so much: the one who loved the outdoors, believed in his German traditions and lived to practice the piano for countless numbers of hours. This sonata ends with the charming side of Beethoven and closes the door to his “Early Period.” His next piano sonata in C minor, Op. 13, the “Pathatique,” would change the perception of this genre forever.


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