If you are around sunny Cork on Monday 7th April, please come and hear my Masters recital at the Cork School of Music. Get an early start to summer with passionate pieces from warmer times and climes! Below you can read about each piece from my programme notes. Have a listen to versions on youtube etc if you can't make it. The music is well worth a listen if you don't know all these pieces!
Masters Recital Series
Monday, April 7, 2014, 1.10pm
Curtis Auditorium, CIT Cork School of Music
Ilse de Ziah, cello
Michael Joyce, piano
Suite Populaire Espangnol Manuel da Falla (1876-1946)
Allegro Vivace, Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 2 in F maj. Op. 99
Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)
Pappilon Op. 77 and Elégie Op. 24 Gabriel Fauré (1845 – 1924)
Pampeana No. 2 Alberto Ginastera (1916 – 1983)
Suite Populaire Espangnol, Manuel da Falla (1876-1946)
Perhaps more than any other composer, Manuel de Falla expresses the sol (sunshine) and sombra (shadow) of Spain. His music is born of the folk idioms of his native Andalusia which is influenced by the history of Moors and gypsies. Just before Manuel de Falla left Paris to return to Spain in 1914, he completed his harmonizations of Siete Canciones Populares Españoles for voice and piano using natural overtones to accompany the melody notes rather than traditional modal scales. Violinist Paul Kochanski (1887-1934) worked with Falla to transcribe six of the songs for violin and piano. Kochanski's work was entitled Suite Populaire Espagnole. In 1925 Maurice Maréchal transcribed these for cello.The suite begins with El Paño Moruno (The Moorish Cloth). The next songs, Nana (a lullaby) and Canción, are both based on popular published tunes. Polo is an original Falla piece in the style of a folk dance, sometimes described as gypsy- or flamenco-like. The most famous of the songs by far is Asturiana, a lament from northern Spain, played on muted strings. The final Jota is again Falla's own work in the style of folk dance music from Aragon; for this song Kochanski uses pizzicato chords as if to imitate castanets.
Allegro Vivace, Sonata No. 2 in F major, Op. 99, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Brahms spent the summer of 1886 in the idyllic Swiss resort town of Thun. He rented the second floor of a hillside house on the Aare River, and spent much of the summer at a local casino, drinking beer and playing cards with musicians from the house orchestra. He wrote happily to his friend Max Kalbeck, “It is simply glorious here. I only say quite in passing that there are crowds of beer-gardens, actual beer-gardens, the English are not at home in them!”
The F major Cello Sonata was composed for Robert Hausmann, a close friend of Brahms and cellist of the great Joachim String Quartet.
The Sonata unfolds with a bristling energy, with a jolting explosion in the piano answered by a triumphant cry from the cello. The opening Allegro Vivace’s central theme comprises these shouting fragments, rather than a continuous melodic line. Remarking on its unusual rhythms and bold melodic leaps, Schoenberg would later write: “Young listeners will probably be unaware that at the time of Brahms’s death, this Sonata was still very unpopular and was considered indigestible”. The movement’s harmony is similarly insolent, handily integrating dissonant tones, and flirting with minor key tonality throughout the exposition.
Pappilon Op. 77, Gabriel Fauré (1845 – 1924)
Composed in Summer 1884 and published in the same year. It came about at the request of the publisher, Hamelle, who sought a companion piece for the Elégie;
Elégie Op. 24, Gabriel Fauré (1845 – 1924)
Élegie belongs to the notable group of small scale works which Fauré wrote for the cello. He had the gift of imbuing these miniature pieces with a classic beauty in which calmness and intensity are perfectly counterbalanced.
The music of Élegie was originally written for cello and piano in 1883, and, as often with Fauré’s pieces, was only later orchestrated.
Élegie has always been a popular work, for its elegance and poise, along with its underlying passion, made an immediate appeal, and its is not surprising to find that the organist at Fauré’s funeral in 1924 chose to honour the composer’s memory by playing an improvisation on it.
Pampeana No. 2, Alberto Ginastera (1916 – 1983)
The Rhapsody for Cello and Piano was completed in 1950 and belongs to Ginastera’s Subjective Nationalism period (1948-58). The influence of folk-music on his works during this period becomes more symbolic. Ginastera says… “without using any folkloric material, it recalls the rhythms and melodic trends of the Argentine pampas…
Whenever I have crossed the pampas, my spirit felt itself inundated by changing impressions, now joyful, now melancholy, produced by its limitless immensity and by the transformation that the countryside undergoes in the course of the day . . . from my first contact, I desired to write a work reflecting these states of my spirit.”
Composed in four sections the Pampeana No. 2 captures the full scope of these moods and feelings through rhapsodic fantasy.