Mark Damisch has unveiled his 2016 concert tour repertoire as follows:
DOCTOR GRADUS AD PARNASSUM CLAUDE DEBUSSY
FROM CHILDREN’S CORNER
Children’s Corner is a six-movement suite for solo piano by Claude Debussy. It was published in 1908. It is dedicated to Debussy’s daughter, Claude-Emma who was three years old at the time. The pieces are not intended to be played by children; rather they are meant to be evocative of childhood and some of the toys in her collection. This is the first piece in the Suite.
POLICHINELLE HEITER VILLA LOBOS
This is the first suite writtn by the Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos. It is his most popular piano piece and frequently crops up as a recital encore, a trend begun by Artur Rubinstein.
GYMNOPEDIES NUMBER ONE ERIC SATIE
The Gymnopédies, published in Paris starting in 1888, are piano compositions written by French composer and pianist Erik Satie. Collectively, the Gymnopédies are regarded as an important precursor to modern ambient music: gentle pieces which, when composed, defied the classical tradition.[
PIANO SONATA NUMBER THRE NORMAN DELLO JOIO
Composed in 1947, the first movement is a theme with variations. It uses the melody of the Kyrie in the Mass of the Angels. The second, is brief, rapid, and filled with rhythmic vitality, syncopations, and jazz elements. The last movement, contains rhythmic vitality and energy that continues to its surprising conclusion.
BUCKAROO HOLIDAY FROM RODEO AARON COPLAND
Rodeo is a ballet scored by Aaron Copland and choreographed by Agnes de Mille, which premiered in 1942. Rodeo opens with a grand fanfare, before it segues to the Cowgirl’s theme. This quiet theme continues until the Rodeo theme begins presenting a highly rhythmic motif that evokes the trotting of horses. The lone Cowgirl seeks the affections of the Head Wrangler, who is rather taken with the more feminine Rancher’s Daughter. The cowboys enter to the railroad tune of “Sis Joe”. As the cowgirl seeks the attention of her quarry, she mimics the surrounding cowboys, reflected in the heavy use of the tune “If He’d Be a Buckaroo”. After a brief return to the quiet Cowgirl theme, “Sis Joe” reappears again, before the piece ends by triumphantly reprising “If He’d be a Buckaroo”.
PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION MODEST MUSSORGSKY
Pictures is a suite in ten movements (plus a recurring Promenade) composed for the piano by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky in 1874.
The suite is Mussorgsky’s most famous piano composition and has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists. It has become further known through various orchestrations and arrangements produced by other musicians and composers, with Maurice Ravel’s arrangement being the most recorded and performed.
In 1870 Mussorgsky met artist Viktor Hartmann. Both men were devoted to the cause of nationalistic Russian art and quickly became friends. Their meeting was likely arranged by the influential critic Vladimir Stasov.
Hartmann died from an aneurysm in 1873. The sudden loss of the artist, shook Mussorgsky. Stasov helped organize an exhibition of over 400 Hartmann works in the Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 1874. Mussorgsky lent works from his personal collection to the exhibition and viewed the show in person.
In this piece Mussorgsky depicts himself “roving through the exhibition, now leisurely, now briskly in order to come close to a picture that had attracted his attention, and at times sadly, thinking of his departed friend.” The melody and rhythm resemble Russian folk songs.
2. The Gnome
A sketch depicting a little gnome, clumsily running with crooked legs. The sketch, now lost, is thought to represent a design for a nutcracker displaying large teeth. The lurching music with frequent stops and starts, suggests the movements of the gnome.
A placid statement of the promenade melody depicts the viewer walking from one display to the next.
4. The Old Castle
A medieval Italian castle before which a troubador sings a song.
Another brief statement of the promenade melody gives it more weight than before.
An avenue in the garden of the Tuileries, with a swarm of children and nurses. The picture of the Tuileries near the Louvre in Paris (France) is now lost. Figures of children quarrelling and playing in the garden were likely added by the artist.
A Polish cart on enormous wheels, drawn by oxen. This movement begins fortissimo, suggesting that the lumbering oxcart’s journey begins in the listener’s foreground. After reaching a climax there is a diminuendo to a final pianississimo, suggesting the oxcart receding into the distance.
A reflective 10-measure presentation of the promenade theme.
9. The Ballet of Unhatched Chicks
Hartmann’s design for the décor of a picturesque scene in the ballet Trilby. Trilby or The Demon of the Heath, was produced at the Bolshoy Theatre, Petersburg, in 1871. The fledglings were canary chicks.
10. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuÿle-Two Jews: Rich and Poor
The personal names are used in Mussorgsky’s original manuscript. The movement is thought to be based on two separate portraits.
A nearly bar-for-bar restatement of the opening promenade. The movement acts as a reprise, giving listeners another hearing of the opening material.
12. The Market at Limoges (The Great News)
French women are quarrelling violently in the market. Limoges is a city in central France. Mussorgsky originally provided two paragraphs in French that described a marketplace discussion (the ‘great news’), but soon removed them.
Hartmann represented himself examining the Paris catacombs by the light of a lantern. The first section’s chords evoke the grandeur, stillness, and echo of the catacombs. The second section suggests a merging of observer and scene as the observer descends into the catacombs.
14. The Hut on Fowl’s Legs
Hartmann’s drawing depicted a clock in the form of Baba Yaga’s hut on fowl’s legs. Motives in this movement evoke the bells of a large clock and the whirlwind sounds of a chase. The coda leads without a break to the final movement of the suite.
15. The Great Gate of Kiev
Hartmann designed a monumental gate for Tsar Alexander II to commemorate the monarch’s narrow escape from an assassination attempt on April 4, 1866. The movement features a grand main theme that exalts the opening promenade. The solemn secondary theme is based on a baptismal hymn from the repertory of a Russian Orthodox chant.
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