Presentation on theme: "Program Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903 (1714-1722/1730) Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Sonata in A Minor, K. 310 (1778) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart."— Presentation transcript:
Program Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903 (1714-1722/1730) Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Sonata in A Minor, K. 310 (1778) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Allegro Maestoso (1756-1791) Andante cantabile con espressione Presto Transcription of Robert Schumann’s Widmung (1848) Franz Liszt (1811-1886) Intermission From Goyescas (1911) Enrique Granados Quejas ó la maja y el ruiseñor (1867-1916) (Laments or the maiden and the nightingale) Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 57 “Appassionata” (1804-1806) Ludwig Van Beethoven Allegro assai (1770-1827) Andante con moto Allegro ma non troppo
Program Notes Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor is often viewed as a larger form of his perhaps most influential keyboard compositions, the Preludes and Fugues of the Well Tempered Clavier. In the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, Bach has provided a dramatic and extreme use of the instrument (which during his life would have been the harpsichord); there are rapid, toccata-like flourishes, slower arpeggiated chords, sections involving changes of tempo and key, and passages marked recitative (indicating a relationship to vocal music). The three-voice fugue is based within the extreme chromaticism, which not only gives the piece a sense of tension, but also surprises the listener as to where the harmonies change and resolve. The exact date of composition is not clear, yet scholars believe Bach began writing this piece while working in Weimar and Cöthen and finished it in 1730 while being employed as Music Director of Leipzig. This powerful and striking setting transitions easily from the harpsichord to the piano—it has become a staple in today’s piano repertoire canon. Mozart, although a genius and from a well-to-do family, did not immediately find his place in the classical and aristocratic world of music. Dominated by his father’s intentions of making him a renowned child prodigy, his performance career took him on many ventures and people placed high expectations upon his compositional abilities. The Piano Sonata in A Minor is a result from one such excursion. In 1777 Wolfgang, age 21, left his home town of Salzburg and traveled with his mother to Munich and Mannheim, seeking a position as a court composer and music director. No such work was rewarded his efforts. His father then sent him away to Paris where he composed this sonata. Of this piece, writer John Gillespie states, “It is rare to find in the works of any musician a stylistic transformation like that which is so prominent in the Paris sonatas. In the first movement of the K. 310 Mozart, instead of delineating a sharply defined second theme, resorts to a series of sixteenth notes, first in the right hand, then in the left, thus excluding the possibility of any theme capable of organic growth. New ideas come into play here, recalling the spirit of the concerto with its alternation of solo and tutti. Some techniques anticipate future periods of Romanticism, such as melodies placed in the bass and accompanied by a series of continuous modulations. The vigorous treatment, the rich harmonic language, and the expansive, expressive development given to these new ideas, supply ample proof that this sonata is written by a new Mozart. Its inner core—sometimes introspective, sometimes almost impassioned—challenges that school of thought which finds in Mozart only lightness and grace.”* The fast and final movement of the sonata is in rondo form (containing a repetitive theme) with a contrasting small, middle section. *taken from Five Centuries of Keyboard Music, 1965.
Piano Virtuoso Franz Liszt not only amazed his audiences by his exciting performance abilities but also with his programmatic compositions. Liszt was so devoted to his representations of various musical forms through the piano that he actually invented a completely new style of piano composition: the transcription. Liszt set many of the popular pieces heard in the performance halls into transcriptions for the piano, including Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique and Verdi’s opera, Rigoletto. One of his most frequently heard piano transcriptions is that of Robert Schumann’s lied, Widmung (“Dedication”). In this work, Liszt takes the famous melody and places it within a pianistic flurry of arpeggios and display of virtuosity. In conjunction with the sublime singing line, the following lyrics are perhaps what inspired Liszt to write this piece for solo piano : Du meine Seele, du mein Herz, Du meine Wonn', o du mein Schmerz, Du meine Welt, in der ich lebe, Mein Himmel du, darein ich schwebe, O du mein Grab, in das hinab Ich ewig meinen Kummer gab. Du bist die Ruh, du bist der Frieden, Du bist vom Himmel mir beschieden. Das du mich liebst, macht mich mir wert, Dein Blick hat mich vor mir verklart, Du hebst mich liebend uber mich, Mein guter Geist, mein besres Ich! You my soul, you my heart, you my bliss, o you my pain, you the world in which I live; you my heaven, in which I float, o you my grave, into which I eternally cast my grief. You are rest, you are peace, you are bestowed upon me from heaven. That you love me makes me worthy of you; your gaze transfigures me before you; you raise me lovingly above myself, my good spirit, my better self! In 1911, Catalán composer Enrique Granados graced the piano repertoire with his mammoth piano suite Goyescas, inspired by the atmosphere and the people of 18 th -century Madrid as depicted in painting by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746-1828). At the suggestion of the American pianist Ernest Schelling, Granados transformed his piano suite into an opera. The première was given at the Metropolitan Opera on January 28, 1916 and was the first work performed in Spanish at the prestigious opera house. Granados, being the first important Spanish composer to visit America, was invited to the White House by President Wilson. As a result, he missed his scheduled trip home. On the second leg of his journey back to Spain, his ship the SS Sussex was struck by a torpedo. Although Granados was rescued from the waters by a life raft, his wife was still struggling in the water. He attempted to save her life, but they both tragically drowned. As passion seemed to be a characteristic trait of Granados, the emotional Quejas ó la maja y el ruiseñor (Laments or the maiden and the nightingale) is probably the most familiar from the original piano suite of six works, and portrays a woman pondering the existence of the nightingale and its song of love. In the piece, one can actually hear the nightingale’s song interrupting the woman’s laments.
Beethoven started the Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 57 in 1804 and finished it around 1806. It was written during a difficult time in his life—his previous work, the Eroica symphony, had not been well received by the public. His deafness was continuously becoming worse and he kept mainly to himself. It was in this solitude and challenging frustration that Beethoven composed the Appassionata. This “nickname” was given to the piece by Beethoven’s editor and publisher and represents the drama, passion and tragedy that all can be heard within the piece. The form of the work is sonata form, following the standard fast-slow-fast model of the time period. However, the form does deviate in that Beethoven omitted the repeat of the first half of the opening movement. There are many contrasts in the Allegro assai : pulsing rhythmic motives and flowing legato ideas, changes in the moods, pauses following rapid passages. The second movement is a simple theme with variations, each variation changing register on the piano and seemingly growing as dynamic levels increase and faster rhythmic notes are used. A dissonant chord leads without interruption into the last movement—a fast a furious display of sound with a tragic finale.