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Bach Beethoven Schubert & Chopin

Bach Beethoven Schubert & Chopin

  • By RUDIN LENGO
  • Release 12/04/2013
  • Media Format CD
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Price: $23.65

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Rudin Lengo, pianist Born in Tiranë, Albania, Rudin moved to Canada at the age of 15 and studied with James Anagnoson and Leslie Kinton at Western University, Daniel Epstein at Manhattan School of Music, and John Perry at the Glenn Gould School. He has played in Masterclasses for world renowned pianists such as Leon Fleisher, Anton Kuerti and Menahem Pressler. "profound, imaginative and exceptionally communicative" Albanian Radio Television (RTSH) Winner of the Knigge Music Competition and the Glenn Gould School's Concerto Competition, Rudin has performed with Orchestra London and the Royal Conservatory Orchestra. He has also given solo recitals in: Steinway Hall, New York; Roy Barnett Recital Hall, Vancouver; MacArthur Hall, Minneapolis; Great Hall of the University of Arts, Tiranë; as well as Koerner Hall and the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in Toronto. Rudin Lengo began his piano studies at the age of seven at "Servete Maçi" School of Music in Tiranë, Albania, with Nedi Peku as his principal teacher. After immigrating to Canada at the age of 15, he studied with James Anagnoson, earning an ARCT Performer's Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Rudin earned a graduating average of 99% at George Harvey Collegiate Institute, the 2nd highest in Toronto, and was awarded the prestigious Governor General's Academic Medal and the University of Toronto National Book Award for his academic achievements. In 2008, he completed a Bachelor's Degree in Piano Performance at Western University on a F.K. Ashbaugh President's Entrance Scholarship, studying with James Anagnoson and Leslie Kinton. He received his Master's Degree in 2010 from the Manhattan School of Music on a President's Award studying with the esteemed pianist and pedagogue, Daniel Epstein. Rudin Lengo has won top prizes in several competitions including: 1st Prizes at the 2012 Knigge Music Competition, the 2012 Glenn Gould School Concerto Competition and the 2010 TD Elora Competition; winner of the Mary Winston Smail Memorial Award for Best Pianist at the 2011 WAMSO Minnesota Competition; 2nd Prize at the 40th William C. Byrd International Piano Competition; as well as winning the London Kiwanis Festival's Rose Bowl, UWO London Music Scholarship Foundation award and the Grand Prize at the Rotary Music Festival in Burlington. He has been the recipient of over 50 awards and scholarships for his musical and academic accomplishments, including the Miller Thomson National Scholarship, Queen Elizabeth II Aiming for the Top Scholarship, Chawkers Foundation Scholarship and the Silver Jubilee Award of Excellence. Now a student of John Perry and David Louie, Rudin is completing an Artist Diploma at the Glenn Gould School on a prestigious Ihnatowycz Emerging Artist Scholarship. Johann Sebastian Bach b. Eisenach, March 21, 1685 d. Leipzig, July 28, 1750 Musicologists divide the study of Bach's colossal catalogue of over 1100 compositions into periods named after the German towns in which he worked and resided. The official duties in his various posts largely determined the type of music he composed. For example, Bach's major works for the organ were written while he was a church organist in Arnstadt. Most of his chamber music was composed in Cöthen where Bach was a court musician, while his vocal works come from his time as a Kantor in Leipzig. From the month he turned 18 in March 1703, Bach was employed as a musician, briefly in Weimar as a court musician, then as an organist in Arnstadt, followed by a year as town composer and organist at the church of St. Blasius in Mühlhausen. In 1708, at the age of 23, Bach was appointed court organist to the Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Weimar. In 1714, he was promoted to Konzertmeister of the court. It was during this second period in Weimar, from 1708-17 that five of the seven Toccatas for keyboard were written. Toccata in D Major, BWV 912 The Toccatas, as with most of Bach's keyboard music, were intended for the harpsichord or clavichord, the two most commonplace keyboard instruments at the time. (The piano was in it's infancy at the time and there is only one account of Bach's exposure to the new instrument during a visit in 1747 to the residence of Frederick II of Prussia for whom Bach performed an improvisation from The Musical Offering on a piano by Gottfried Silbermann.) Nevertheless, Bach's Toccatas, as with so many of his other keyboard works, have become an essential part of the piano repertoire. The word toccata comes from the Italian toccare, meaning "to touch", and is a reference to the practice of trying out a keyboard and warming up with some flourishes and runs. This, however, is only part of the origin of the toccata. The more significant source is from keyboard transcriptions of vocal music, such as madrigals, in which the freedom of inflection and the characteristic tempi would be preserved in keyboard arrangements, while also adding numerous embellishments. The toccata, as developed by Bach, became a large-scale work with multiple sections of opposing styles such as: fugues; orchestral movements and the stylus phantasticus, which in Bach's music was comprised of flourishes and brilliant passagework, recitative-like writing, extravagant harmonic progressions and slow improvisational sequences. The beginning of the D major Toccata is a great example of the stylus phantasticus. It is essentially a sequence of upward scales that establish the tonic key of D major, with a momentary interruption by the G-sharp which leads to a downward broken chord and tremolo, adding an element of surprise. It is immediately followed by an Allegro in orchestral style, which serves as the first main section of the work. Here Bach alternates between the tutti (full orchestra) and solisti (small ensemble of soloists) in a conversational manner. The energy and exuberance of the Allegro is followed by the pensive mood and thin texture of the freely-composed Adagio, a great example of a written out improvisation. The slow descending melodic fragments are interrupted by tremolos, a technical device that Bach seldom used. A simple chordal progression leads us to the first fugue of the work, in F-sharp minor. The fugue is delicate, slow and cerebral, and despite being very brief it is remarkably memorable. The Adagio material returns immediately following the fugue, this time with an additional Italian marking con discrezione, which translates to "with discretion", and refers to the freedom with which the section must be played. A strong cadential passage brings us back to the home key of D major with the resolution to the tonic chord arriving at the beginning of the final fugue. The fugue, a moto perpetuo in a 6/16 gigue meter, is perhaps one of the most exuberant and virtuosic Bach wrote. The relentless sixteenth-note pattern is only broken at the end by an even more energized swirl of thirty-second notes which leads to the final and highly embellished cadence. Ludwig van Beethoven b. Bonn, December 16, 1770 d. Vienna, March 26, 1827 Beethoven's struggle with hearing loss began in 1796, at the age of 26. The "ringing" in his ears affected not only the ability to hear music but also his facility to converse. From April to October of 1802, on the advice of his doctor, Beethoven sought peace by temporarily moving from Vienna to Heiligenstadt, a small town just outside the city. His outpouring of despair was documented in the Heiligenstadt Testament (1802), a letter to his brother in which he writes: "I would have put an end to my life - only art is what held me back. Ah! It seemed impossible to leave the world until I had produced all that I felt called upon to produce." A discernible change in his compositional style followed Beethoven's return to Vienna that fall, and the period from about 1802-1814 is now commonly referred to as his "Middle Period". It is during these years that Beethoven separated himself stylistically from the past masters of Haydn, Mozart and Clementi. He remarked to Carl Czerny: "I am not satisfied with the work I have done so far. From now on I intend to take a new way". The "new way" was characterized by works of a larger scope, both in length and virtuosity; a heightened sense of drama and expressiveness; and a richness of harmonic language and sonority. Some of his most popular works have come from the Middle period including the Third (Eroica) and Fifth symphonies, the Razumovsky string quartets, the opera Fidelio, and the Waldstein and Appassionata piano sonatas. Like Haydn and Mozart, Beethoven successfully wrote for different instruments and ensembles. Despite the monumental accomplishments in his 9 symphonies, 16 string quartets and 10 violin sonatas, it is the 32 piano sonatas that give us the best insight into the mind and heart of the great composer. Hans von Bülow called them "The New Testament" of music ("The Old Testament" being Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier). The composition of the 32 piano sonatas spanned 27 years of Beethoven's life between 1795 and 1822 (from Op.2 to Op.111). First and foremost a pianist himself, Beethoven used the piano as a confidant, expressing his innermost feelings through the instrument and pushing it's limits further than any of his contemporaries. Although not originally intended as an integral whole, the piano sonatas came to be thought of as a cycle shortly after the composer's death. Camille Saint-Saëns, while performing his debut recital at the age of ten, offered to play any of the 32 sonatas from memory as an encore. Hans von Bülow, however, was the first pianist to perform the whole cycle; while the first complete recording was made by Arthur Schnabel in 1927. Sonata No.17 in D Minor Op.31, No.2 "Tempest" The Op.31 sonatas, completed in 1802, are the last to be published as a set. Of the three, only the second is in a minor key - the Romantics' "fateful" key of D minor. Although Beethoven did not attribute the title "Tempest" to the work, he did play a part in it's naming. Anton Schindler, Beethoven's assistant and biographer, claims that Beethoven referred to Shakespeare's The Tempest when asked about the mood of the work. However, recent findings about inconsistencies in Schindler's accounts have all but demolished his reliability and veracity. Charles Rosen goes so far as to state that "if Beethoven is supposed to have claimed that the Sonata in D minor came from Shakespeare's play, he cannot have read anything beyond the title". Whether one believes the relationship between the play and the composition or not, the Sonata in D Minor Op.31, No.2 is the most dramatic work that Beethoven had yet written, with great contrasts in tempi, motifs and moods. The first measures suggest a slow introduction; however, their return in the recapitulation makes the opening Largo part of the main theme. The slow arpeggiated A major chord, made even more interesting by the low C-sharp, is answered by a fast descending two-note motif, which comes to a halt through an expressive half cadence embellished by an ornamental turn. The exposition shows no clear separation between the first and second theme, and continues seamlessly to the closing theme. At the start of the development the Largo returns once again, this time with three arpeggios going up the keyboard, each softer than the last. The ensuing Allegro breaks the silence with a thundering fortissimo, as well as with a change to F-sharp minor. One of the most dramatic passages of the sonata occurs in the recapitulation: a long, hollow and mysterious recitative, marked con espressione e semplice (with expression and simply). It is interrupted, however, by the sudden return of the descending two-note motif. A second statement of the recitative leads to a threatening transition with repeated chords in increasing intensity that brings us back to the main thematic material. The Adagio is a beautiful cavatina (a sonata-allegro form without repeats and development), something Mozart frequently used for his slow movements. Once again, mirroring the first movement, we begin with an arpeggiated chord, this time in B-flat major. The texture is reminiscent of Beethoven's string quartets with melodies in the high register against chords in the low register. The graceful second theme, marked dolce¸ is a more typical melody and accompaniment setting. An ominous drum-roll accompaniment is used in the transition that brings us to the recapitulation of the main theme, this time in a more elaborate variant with long running arpeggios. The coda is a great example of Beethoven's remarkable use of register changes, moving from the highest to the lowest notes on the contemporary keyboard within the very last measure. As in the final fugue of Bach's Toccata in D Major, Beethoven has chosen a moto perpetuo for the final Allegretto of his Sonata in D Minor. Here, the continuous rhythm of sixteenth notes is broken only for a split second in the exposition and recapitulation. The main theme sounds delicate yet restless because of the ostinato A, repeated in the tenor voice. The transitions to each return of the theme are prepared through a technique borrowed from Haydn, in which a repeating short figure in a steady rhythm leads to the surprising appearance of the theme. Beethoven has written an extensive development based entirely from motifs of the main theme moving swiftly from one tonality to the next. The final statement of the theme is prepared beautifully through a dominant pedal and the softest pianissimo. In a typical Beethovenian maneuver, the theme enters with an unexpected fortissimo. After a short coda, the movement comes to a close on a descending D minor arpeggio, ending softly in the lowest D. To have a quiet ending in all three movements of a sonata is unusual even for Beethoven, who more than any of his contemporaries was in favour of delicate and soft endings instead of the typical emphatic final chords. Franz Schubert b. Liechtental, January 31, 1797 d. Vienna, November 19, 1828 In describing the 1829 Leipzig premiere of Schubert's Ninth Symphony, Robert Schumann wrote: "The symphony produced such an effect among us as none has produced since Beethoven... Years must pass, perhaps, before the work will be thoroughly understood in Germany, but there is no danger that it ever will be overlooked or forgotten. It bears within it the core of everlasting youth." The words of Schumann resonate even more powerfully today, since Schubert is being given the recognition that he so rightfully deserves. But it was not so during his lifetime. Not only was Schubert in the shadow of Beethoven, but many of his contemporaries, including Hummel, Spohr and Weber, were much more highly regarded by the public and the publishers in Vienna. Very few of the 998 works catalogued by Otto Erich Deutsch were published in Schubert's lifetime. Aside from two summer expeditions in Hungary to teach the children of Count Johann Karl Esterházy, Schubert spent all of his life in Vienna. The twelfth of fourteen children, his musical talent manifested itself at a young age, especially as a soprano. The then famous Antonio Salieri, took him under his wing and taught Schubert composition while the young boy sang in the choir of the court chapel at the Imperial and Royal Seminary. At the age of 16, Schubert left the seminary to work for his father, who was the head of his own school. In 1818 Schubert entered the bohemian circle of Vienna and embarked on a carefree lifestyle that would last until his untimely death at the age of 31. Impromptu in A-flat Major D.935 (Op.142), No.2 (Allegretto) Until the 1820s, the shorter piano pieces of Schubert were usually of a light and simple nature, both in structure and in mood. The composition of the six Moments Musicaux marked the first time that Schubert thought highly enough of his shorter works to assign them an opus number. Similarly, in the summer of 1827 he completed the two sets of impromptus D.899 and D.935 (Op.90 and Op.142). These works showcase Schubert's distinctive gift in the treatment of melodies through transformation as well as his unique and wonderful instinct in modulations that are at once surprising and breathtakingly beautiful. The second impromptu, an Allegretto in A-flat major is in a simple minuet form. The first section is a beautiful setting of a melody and accompaniment, reminiscent of a slow and delicate song. The texture is almost exclusively chordal, save for the little ornamental turns in the melody. The contrasting Trio begins in D-flat major but quickly embarks on a journey of tonalities including a dramatic outburst in A major. Here the flowing triplets in the right hand give a sense of sweep and propel the tempo forward. The agitated middle section slows down at the end through a simple yet beautiful transition back to the Minuet. Sonata No.4 in A Minor, D.537 (Op.164) The rich tradition of the piano sonata weighed heavily on the young Schubert. The highly structured models created by Haydn and Beethoven have always been contrasted to Schubert's much looser form and lengthy motifs. The beauty in his sonatas, unlike his predecessors, is not so much in their creative use of structure but in the ingenious modulations and the beautiful song-like themes. The Sonata in A minor was one of three he composed in 1817. Despite being one of his earlier attempts at a sonata, this work is one of his most successful. The first movement, marked Allegro, ma non troppo, begins with a declamatory theme that moves down then up in a succession of chords before an arpeggio figure brings about it's return. The development, as is the case with many of Schubert's sonatas, is short and based almost entirely from the two-note motif from the end of the exposition. The second movement (Allegretto quasi Andantino) is in a theme and variation form. The theme is a graceful melody accompanied by a pizzicato-like figure in the left hand. The first variation moves the theme to the inner voices, now with a faster running accompaniment in the right hand that dominates the texture; the following variation brings the theme back into the spotlight, this time with a broken chord accompaniment. A stark change in mood occurs in the third variation, a more menacing setting of the theme in A minor. After a lengthy and mysterious transition, the return of the theme in a joyous and capricious final variation ends perhaps the most beautiful movement of the work. (Schubert used a faster version of the same theme in the last movement of his Sonata in A major, D.959). The finale is an Allegro vivace that opens with a dramatic ascending scale, which is answered by a delicate chordal progression. A pause ensues. Two more similar statements take us to the first long uninterrupted section of the movement, which exhibits joy and brilliance. Surprises abound in this movement, as do the sudden silences. The end seems to come to a soft and calm close when a fortissimo A major chord appears in one last surprising burst of energy. Frédéric Chopin b. Zelazowa Wola, March 1, 1810 d. Paris, October 17, 1849 Born in a small village outside of Warsaw, Chopin received his early training from a Bohemian pianist, Albert Zwyny, and Joseph Xaver Elsner at the Warsaw Conservatory. A prodigious young pianist, Chopin embarked on a professional career at the age of 19. The first tour was to include concerts in Munich, Vienna, Paris and London. The success and rave reviews from his concerts in Paris led Chopin to put the tour on hold. The stylish Parisian lifestyle and the state of political unrest in Poland caused him to stay in France. Paris would become his home for the rest of his life, and he would never return to Poland again. In Paris, Chopin's aspirations changed slowly from that of a performer to a composer. His main source of income was piano teaching, which he mostly did for high society. Poland, however, never left his mind and this yearning for his homeland can be found throughout his music. Chopin made it his mission to bring Polish culture to Paris through his music and many of his compositions, for example the Mazurkas and Polonaises, reflect folk elements from his native land. Études Op.10, No.4 and No.8 and Op.25, No.10 Chopin's contribution to piano music is not just as a leading figure of the Nationalist movement. His mastery of the piano led to a surge in the development of piano technique. No works were more central to this than his Études Op.10 and Op.25. Before Chopin, the etude was primarily a teaching piece, sometimes a study or an exercise, designed for the student to improve specific facets of their piano technique. Although Moscheles, Czerny and Cramer had expanded the scope of the etude, it is not until Chopin published his Op.10 Études in 1833 that the etude became an artistic and creative concert piece. Schumann remarked about the 24 etudes that "imagination and technique share dominion side by side". Chopin first began drafting them while still in Poland, and by 1832 he completed the first set of twelve, and dedicated them "À son ami (To his friend) Franz Liszt". The second set was completed in 1836. The etude in C-sharp minor Op.10, No.4 is a study in speed and lightness. Nicknamed "Torrent" it begins with a strong upbeat and the momentum created by the running sixteenth notes never ceases. As with many of the etudes, it is written in a three-part form, with the opening material returning later in the piece. What is unusual is the length of the Coda, which in relation to the piece is quite significant. Here the virtuosity pushes the pianist at the brink and a final flourish ends the piece as it began with double octaves. The F major etude Op.10, No.8 is more graceful and delicate, although there are moments of agitation. Here the flowing arpeggios in the right hand support a simple melody in the left hand. The coda with it's constant wavering and more prominent melodic line comes to a quick and light-hearted close through a sequence of rolled chords. The third etude on this CD is the dramatic "Octave" etude Op.25, No.10 in B minor. From the murky beginning, where Chopin asks for a rather "blurry" pedal effect, a fiery theme emerges slowly and surely. This difficult study in double octaves is one of Chopin's most demanding in terms of endurance. The mood of the middle section, set in B major, is in complete contrast with the beginning. One of the most beautiful lyrical sections in all of the etudes, it is a study in legato octaves for the right hand with a simple accompaniment. The transition is yet another touch of genius by Chopin, with the return of the stormy beginning slowly taking over the beauty and lyricism of the middle section and bringing the work into a furious and dramatic close. Scherzo No.3 in C-sharp Minor, Op.39 In January 1839, Chopin began working on the Third Scherzo during a stay in Mallorca, Spain. However, his work was interrupted due to his deteriorating health, the poor accommodations and bad weather. After being stabilized by doctors in Barcelona, Chopin and his companion, George Sand, moved to Sand's cottage in Nohant. It was there that he was able to complete this Scherzo. Chopin dedicated the work, one of his most exuberant and virtuosic, to his best pupil, Adolf Gutmann. The idea of taking the Scherzo movement out of the traditional setting of the sonata framework is one of Chopin's distinct achievements as a composer. In the process he also expanded the typical scherzo and trio form to a more complex sonata-allegro form. A quirky and elusive introduction acts as a preparation for the forceful and military character of the main theme in double octaves. This is followed by a much more capricious and mysterious unfolding of the same theme, this time without the octaves and in short staccato groups. A chorale-like theme emerges, signaling the beginning of the Trio. Now in the warm key of D-flat major, the beautiful melody is interrupted by soft flourishes that fall from the top of the keyboard creating a unique waterfall-like effect. Louis Kentner describes the section as "a Wagnerian melody of astonishing beauty, recalling the sound of tubas, harps and all the apocalyptic orchestra of Valhalla". Following the recapitulation of the main theme, one of the most dramatic codas in all of Chopin's works appears. It begins innocently as a beautiful melody that increases in grandeur, but as it reaches it's peak it is interrupted by a violent burst of octaves that takes us through a pianistic roller coaster ending with a final reminder of the octaves that permeated the main theme.

Details

Title: Bach Beethoven Schubert & Chopin
Release Date: 12/04/2013
Label: CD Baby
Media Format: CD
UPC: 679444001494
Item #: 878592X
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