By Evgeny Gromov
A few days ago was the 250th anniversary of the death of the French composer and music theorist of the Baroque epoch, Jean Philippe Rameau (died September 12, 1764 in Paris) and also the 140th birthday of the Austrian composer, theorist, teacher, and painter – a leading figure of music expressionism, the founder of the New Viennese School, developer of the 12-tone technique, or dodecaphony, Arnold Franz Walter Schoenberg (born September 13, 1874 in Vienna). In the course of this year I have concentrated my attention as a scholar and performer on these two giants, hence my programme suggestions for these 2 Amigo recitals.
In the first programme, “Jean Philippe RAMEAU et la musique française de la Belle Epoque”, I am trying to give an exposition of the keyboard music of a man who wrote “Traité de l’harmonie réduite à ses principes naturels …” and “Les Indes galantes” in all its multi-faceted diversity by using the most attractive and famous fragments. By extracting from his original five Suites for harpsichord I attempt to unveil the profound mutual relationships and direct influence of Rameau’s creativity on the principles of aesthetics and their practice implementation of the great French artists at fin-de-siecle (end XIX, beginning XX century).
The title of my second programme, “SCHOENBERG and DEBUSSY: Two faces of Europe and Modernism” seems to speak for itself – it was conceived as a vis-à-vis encounter of two music geniuses who radically changed the course of music evolution in XX century. In spite of the many obvious differences in origins and nationality, if looked at with more inquisitive attention, common traces such as the radicalism in their achievements become noticeable. They share an unshakable faith in art values, in self-confidence and the awareness of occupying unique positions in art. Their individual integrity, uncompromising standards, fearlessness, indeed an “allergic” sensitivity to the musical narrative and, at the same time, a sophisticated ability to convey most delicate impulses of humane soul, are remarkable. The importance of these two titans in the evolution of XX century music can hardly be overestimated.
In one sentence: each of these two programmes represents a dialogue – in the first one, that of a Master with adoring and devoted pupils, and in the second – that of two equally great Master-contemporaries with each other.