Drew Petersen with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players - A Dark Side

Starting on February 03, 2020 7:30 pm
Posted by Daniel McCullough
Categories: PianoFest
Tags: Classical

February 3  A Dark Side
Drew Petersen, piano
SooBeen Lee, violin
Frank Morelli, bassoon
Ayane Kozasa, viola
Timotheos Petrin, cello
Barry Crawford, flute
Vadim Lando, clarinet

Erkki MELARTIN  Trio Op. 154 ▪ 1929
  ▪ anticipating interesting harmonies and timbres for the flute, clarinet, and bassoon

Overshadowed by Sibelius his whole life and to this day, in spite of recognition that his compositions are of equal worth, must have been somewhat disheartening. Yet Melartin (1875–1937) cast off the pall of unfairness and wrote about 1000 works, including 6 symphonies that garnered praise at their premieres, although only the 6th was printed by 2 Danish friends for his 60th birthday. While his most important works are these 6 symphonies, he is thought of as a miniaturist and most remembered for his songs and piano pieces, including salon music, which brought him the greatest popularity. His chronic ill health was also a significant factor affecting his life. Melartin’s style ranged from late Romanticism to restrained Expressionism, in an individual voice. In the early decades of the 20th century he introduced Finnish audiences to the music of Mahler, Strauss, and other contemporary composers. He was also a conductor, philosopher, mystic, naturalist, painter, linguist, and an influential teacher.

Jean SIBELIUS  String Trio in G minor ▪ 1894
  ▪ the Finn’s Lento movement of tormented anguish

RACHMANINOFF  Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor ▪ 1892
  ▪ intense and dark, brilliant and mysterious ~ written in memory of Tchaikovsky

Georgs PELĒCIS  Music from Behind the Wall ▪ 1984
  ▪ haunting, euphonious quartet by the Latvian composer and enlightened musicologist ~ for bassoon and string trio

Born in Riga in 1947 (then Soviet-dominated—behind the Iron Curtain), Pelēcis grew up at a time when music was bound by strict social and political constraints. He later studied with Aram Khachaturian at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, graduating in 1970, and completed the music theory post-graduate course in 1977. He is currently a Professor at the Latvian Academy of Music, and has also worked in a creative capacity at Oxford and Cambridge. Musica Baltica described his style as follows: “The musical tonality of Georgs Pelēcis seems to reverberate some amazingly clear positive spirit. This very quality, whose genetic ancestry can be found partly in Renaissance and Baroque music and partly in the minimalist aesthetic, brings a spiritual strength to the composer’s creative output and brings to Latvian music a previously unknown, freshly breathing and pulsating activity. From all the style classifications which the composer himself and musical critics have given to his works, the most precise would be new consonant music, where euphony is the harmonic ideal.... His music...reveals a deeply understood knowledge of the music of past cultures.”

Alexandr GRECHANINOV  Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor Op. 38 ▪ 1906
  ▪ teeming with Russian lyricism, revealing the influence of Tchaikovsky as well as Rachmaninoff ~ dedicated to his teacher Sergei Taneyev

Grechaninov (1864–1956) was a late starter as he was held back by his father; his piano lessons did not begin till age 14. Three years later he went to the Moscow Conservatory and studied counterpoint and theory with Anton Arensky and form with Sergei Taneyev. When a disagreement with Arensky occurred in 1890 over composition teaching he left and studied with Rimsky-Korsakov at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. In 1906, he himself began teaching at the Moscow Conservatory and Gnessin School of Music. After the Revolution, he lost his annual stipend of 2000 rubles and became anxious in Soviet Russia, which resulted in his departure for Paris in 1925. He then immigrated to the United States in 1939 at age 75, making his home in New York City in 1940. Grechaninov was a piano and choral teacher for most of his career, and he composed in all genres, but has a special place in two fields: children’s music and liturgical music, the latter testifying to his liberal religious outlook. His music was influenced by Tchaikovsky, Borodin, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Mainly decadent in style, he never abandoned Russian lyricism.

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