September 2010 concerts

Published: September 8, 2010

h2>7.30 pm, FRIDAY 24th and SATURDAY 25th of September, 2010.


Both concerts will have the same program. Yevgeny will play two Sonatas by Domenico SCARLATTI followed by Franz LISZT’s Petrarch Sonnets (Nos. 47, 104 & 123). After the interval Yevgeny will play Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH’s 4 Preludes from Op. 34. This will be followed by 4 preludes by Sergei RACHMANINOV.

YEVGENY SUDBIN is already hailed as potentially one of the greatest pianists of the 21st. Century – The Daily Telegraph.

Yevgeny has released a critically acclaimed CD with works

by Scriabin and during 2008-09 embarked on recording the complete cycle of Beethoven concertos with the Minnesota Orchestra under Osmo Vanska. His recording of Rachmaninov’s Concerto No. 4 in its original 1926 version coupled with Medtner’s Concerto No. 2 with the North Carolina Symphony has just been released to very favourable revues.

for reservations please call 289 395 475

PROGRAMME NOTES : Provided by Yevgeny Sudbin

SCARLATTI Keybpoard Sonatas

Probably one of the most outrageously individual compositional outputs of the Baroque era is to be found in the keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti. Scarlatti was born in 1685, in the same year as J. S. Bach and Handel and two years earlier than Rameau. His sonatas pose an exception to most “rules” in musical history. Unlike so many other compositions, it is impossible to trace at all clearly the influences on which their style depends. They stand out undoubtedly as Scarlatti”s own, highly original inventions. To me, they seem like an assortment of diverse guests at a masquerade, where the conflict of a disguised character with the real individual behind the mask amplifies the almost schizophrenic duality which seems apparent in virtually all of Scarlatti”s sonatas. As an Italian artist, Scarlatti took the opportunity to explore Spanish folk music and popular rhythms in their original form when he moved to Spain. His sonatas (555 of them!) vividly reflect the colourful and emotional Iberian way of life: the fire of flamenco, the click of castanets, the strumming of guitars and the thump of muffled drums. And yet they manage to retain many Italian elements, not infrequently preserving the bel canto style. Scarlatti undertook frequent excursions to Cádiz and Granada, where life was rich in Moorish sensuality and there was an oriental touch to the Andalusian chants.

Sonata K466 in F minor, consists entirely of series of cadences, which Scarlatti manipulates with such wizardry as to form a continuous and sustained piece. The unusual modulations have here become the nucleus of the poetic imagery that he uses to transport the listener between different harmonic worlds. Sonata K455 in G major on the other hand embodies extreme changes of mood: roaring, noisy passages as well as passages that seem filled with bliss. Both mandolins and castanets are heard. Some repeated note-figures are so tricky that one almost suspects Scarlatti of having turned to his advantage the nuisance of the rattling keys of some worn-out harpsichord on which he may have had to play.


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Sonetti di Petrarca (composed 1839-1846)

“I have latterly traveled through many new countries, have seen many different places, and visited many a spot hallowed by history and poetry.”

Liszt was not only a pioneer in music, who quickly gained the kind of fame equivalent to today”s rock star, but he was also one of the first great world travellers. His lengthy travels through Europe, around 1838-1848 when he was at his peak as a performing virtuoso, still represents a tantalising image of how the public imagines the life of a concert musician. For his first two of the three collections entitled Années de pèlerinage (Years of pilgrimage), Liszt didn”t travel to Vienna, Bonn or Leipzig, all centres of musical culture at the time, but instead sought the peaceful nature of Switzerland (first book) and looked for inspiration from the Italian masters of art and literature for his second book, such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Dante and Petrarch. The latter poet, Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374), inspired Liszt to take three poems and set them to music as songs, at first. Only later did he decide to transcribe the songs for solo piano, which brought out the emotions even more intensely behind the words.

Sonnet 47

Blest be the day, and blest the month and year,

Season and hour and very moment blest,

The lovely land and place where first possessed

By two pure eyes I found me prisoner;

And blest the first sweet pain, the first most dear,

Which burnt my heart when Love came in as guest;

And blest the bow, the shafts which shook my breast,

And even the wounds which Love delivered there.

Blest be the words and voices which filled grove

And glen with echoes of my Lady”s name;

The sighs, the tears, the fierce despair of love;

And blest the sonnet-sources of my fame;

And blest that thought of thoughts which is her own,

Of her, her only, of herself alone!

Sonnet 104

Warfare I cannot wage, yet know not peace;

I fear, I hope, I burn, I freeze again;

Mount to the skies, then bow to earth my face;

Grasp the whole world, yet nothing can obtain.

Pris”ner of one who deigns not to detain,

I am not made buy viagra his own, nor giv”n release.

Love slays me not, nor yet will he unchain;

Nor life allot, nor stop my harm”s increase.

Sightless I see my fair; though mute, I mourn;

I scorn existence, yet I court its stay;

Detest myself, and for another burn;

By grief I”m nurtured; and, though tearful, gay;

Death I despise, and life alike I hate:

Such, lady, do you make my wretched state!

Sonnet 123

I once beheld on earth celestial graces

And heavenly beauties scarce to mortals known

Whose memory lends nor joy nor grief alone

But all things else bewilders and effaces

I saw how tears had left their weary traces

Within those eyes that once like sunbeams shone

I heard those lips breathe low and plaintive moan

Whose spell might once have taught the hills their places

Love, wisdom, courage, tenderness and truth

Made ill their mourning strains more high and dear

Than ever wove sweet sounds for mortal ear

And heaven seemed listening in such saddest ruth

The very leaves upon the boughs to soothe

Such passionate sweetness filled the atmosphere.

SHOSTAKOVICH Preludes Op. 34

Shostakovich was composing the Preludes Op. 34 at an incredible pace: almost one every two days, starting in late 1932. Following Bach”s, Chopin”s, Scriabin”s and Rachmaninov”s tradition, Shostakovich also set out to compose 24 Preludes to encompass all minor and major keys. This is where the similarities end however as the pieces have musically very little in common with each other. Filled with wit, sarcasm and playfulness, they cover the whole spectrum of emotional range: from painful sombreness to sardonic humour and light-hearted playfulness. Prelude No. 24 in D Minor is a playful gavotte, a sly wink at Chopin”s grandly tragic eruption in the same key. No. 17 in A-flat major is a melancholic waltz in the manner of Ravel and a touch of Schumann”s Prophet Bird. No. 6 is a witty polka in hommage to Prokofiev”s Love for Three Oranges.

RACHMANINOV Preludes Op. 23 & Op. 32

Like Shostakovich, Rachmaninov undertook the same task to publish 24 Preludes traversing all minor and major keys in a hommage to Chopin. In contrast to Shostakovich”s Preludes, Rachaninov”s are considerably longer, more texturally dense, rhythmically complex and are filled with an unmistakably Russian (but never nationalistic) intensity, nostalgia and a certain vast expansiveness that flows through the pieces. The preludes were written in two sets: 10

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Preludes were published under Op. 23 (1904) and 13 more were added in 1910 as Op. 32 (plus his famous C sharp minor Prelude written when he was 19 years of age). The pieces represent the culmination of the Romantic idiom

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and offer great challenges to the performer, testing tonal, harmonic, percussive, and singing capabilities of the piano. The composer never actually performed all 24 Preludes in one concert, normally preferring rotating selections of his favourite preludes.

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