Sunday, February 27, 2011

Program and Notes

Faculty Artist Recital
Cindy Moyer, violin
John Chernoff, piano

Sonata in A Major for Piano and Violin, Op. 100 Johannes Brahms
Allegro amabile
Andante tranquillo
Allegretto grazioso

String Poetic Jennifer Higdon
Jagged Climb (b. 1962)
Blue Hills of Mist
Maze Mechanical
Climb Jagged


Five Madrigal Stanzas for Violin and Piano Bohuslav Martinu
Moderato (1890-1959)
Poco allegretto
Andante moderato
Scherzando, poco allegro
Poco allegro

Sonata in G Major for Piano for Violin, Op. 30, No. 3 Ludwig van Beethoven
Allegro assai
Tempo di Minuetto
Allegro vivace

The Poetry for String Poetic:

Jagged Climb: Jagged run…rise, running, sidle up the side of the climb-jagged-climb
Nocturne: …that piece of night-night of peace
Blue Hills of Mist: in the glaze of light between dawn…sunset, blue’s hills have mist—a
covering of song and mystery that belongs not to any person, but to other places
Maze Mechanical: Amazing maze; maze that is mad; mechanical machine…putzing and stalling along…made to chug; amazed at the maze; steaming forward; stalling; racing;
maniacal…lost in the maze?…mechanical maze
Climb Jagged: Rise above, in jagged climb…climb, arise, in jagged run…running, rise, jagged fun...

Notes by Cindy Moyer

Brahms: This is the 2nd of 3 Brahms Sonatas and the only one that I have never played before. (John has played it many times.) It has lots of typical Brahmsian lyrical and gentle moments but fewer intensely passionate climaxes than is found in much of Brahms’ music. The first movement is also notable for the extent to which the piano carries the melody while the violin simply provides accompaniment.

Higdon: Jennifer Higdon is a professor at the Curtis Institute of Music and the winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music. String Poetic was written in 2006 for violinist Jennifer Koh (who played earlier this year on a Center Arts Concert), so this is a fairly new piece (definitely a Humboldt county premiere). Much of Higdon’s music makes use of two very different styles –perpetual motion (found in the 1st, 4th, and 5th movements), and slow, improvisatory material – often with complex rhythms that obscure the beats (2nd and 3rd movements). Although she uses some interesting modern tone colors created by the violinist playing near the bridge and the pianist reaching inside the piano to dampen the strings, her tonal language is fairly accessible.

Martinu: Martinu was a 20th-century Czech composer. His tonal language is also usually fairly conservative and accessible; often the complexity in Martinu’s music comes from the rhythm. Martinu tends to juxtapose completely different rhythmic patterns in the different parts – the violinist may have a 7-beat pattern, while the pianist is playing a 4-beat pattern. Working out how everything aligns is interesting and challenging for the performers; hopefully it’s interesting for the audience as well.

Beethoven: As we’ve been working on this, I’ve concluded that this is definitely my favorite Beethoven Sonata. I really enjoy all three movements. The first has an enjoyable variety of themes and moods. The second has several really good melodies including a wonderfully funny moment where the violin plays a sublime melody while the piano accompaniment plays completely country-bumpkin-like inappropriate accents in the wrong places. The last movement is the highlight however; it’s a rollicking barn dance - think Beethoven meets country fiddling (apparently the country bumpkin from the 2nd movements finds a more appropriate niche in the 3rd.)

Note on the New Piano by Greg Granoff:

This evening's performance is the premiere public appearance of HSU Music Department's very recently acquired Feurich model 197 studio sized grand piano. The gift of an exceedingly generous donor, it is the product of a small German piano maker founded in 1851, and continuing to this day with Julius Feurich, a direct descendant of the founder at the helm. Feurich pianos are very expensive, limited production instruments that exemplify the modern German/Viennese manner of artisan piano making, offering a very precise, highly responsive action, and a warm, clear tone throughout the keyboard. Though only 6'6" in length, it lacks nothing in fullness of sound, and its elegant tone is ideal for chamber performances and accompanying in a small venue such as Fulkerson Recital Hall.

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