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Seated in cloth deck chairs, they were first instructed to put on noise-cancelling headphones, and for the next half hour sit in silence as Levit, seated at the piano, glided slowly down a long runway. When he arrived at its end, a gong sounded, signaling headphones off. The performance of the Goldberg Variations began.

To focus together with the audience in the space the concert will take place? To get into the mood together? He discovered his music in the library of his Hamburg school. He then took the next logical step by Googling him. As the story goes, the young Levit sent an email to the composer asking him to write a piece for him. The disc, named Recording of the Year at the Gramophone Classical Music Awards, was, and remains, a career milestone.

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It has to be alive. Levit quotes his favorite words of T. Unless otherwise credited, program notes are written by Joseph and Elizabeth Kahn, wordprosmusic. Program will be announced from the stage. Alphabetical listing of artist biographies begins on page A Catholic by religion and a mystic by nature, French composer and organist Olivier Messiaen intrinsically linked his music to his beliefs and visions. Messiaen demonstrated extraordinary musical and aesthetic sensibilities from early childhood, mounting productions of Shakespeare in translation and composing at the piano when only seven years old.

There, under freezing conditions—the winter of — was one of the worst on record—and severe deprivation, he composed what became his most famous work, Quatuor pour la fin du temps Quartet for the end of time for clarinet, violin, cello and piano. It should be noted that the camp bore little resemblance to the Nazi concentration and extermination camps. While the conditions were severe, the Third Reich nominally upheld. The treatment of Russian POWs was brutal.

One night during the winter of , Messiaen began to see colored lights in the sky and thought he was hallucinating because of the privations he was enduring. In fact, he was witnessing a display of the northern lights which, about once a decade, are visible that far south. The phenomenon may have had an influence on the composition of the Quartet.

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He and three other musicians, the famed cellist Etienne Pasquier — , clarinetist Henri Akoka — who was called the Paganini of the clarinet, and violinist Jean Le Boulaire — , who later changed his name to become the famed TV actor Jean Lanier, premiered the Quartet before a crowd of their fellow prisoners and jailers on a bitter cold day on January 15, Messiaen begins with the quotation from Revelation: I saw a mighty angel descending from heaven, clad in mist, having around his head a rainbow.

His face was like the sun, his feet like pillars of fire. Its musical language is essentially transcendental, spiritual, Catholic.

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Certain modes, realizing melodically and harmonically a kind of tonal ubiquity, draw the listener into a sense of the eternity of space or time. Particular rhythms existing outside the confines of meter contribute importantly toward the banishment of time. All this is mere striving and childish stammering if one compares it to the overwhelming grandeur of the subject! This quartet contains eight movements.

Seven is the perfect number, the creation of six days made holy by the divine Sabbath; the seventh in its repose prolongs itself into eternity and becomes the eighth, of unfailing light, of immutable peace. Transpose this to the religious mode: you will have the harmonious silence of heaven. Between these sections are the ineffable harmonies of heaven. From the piano, soft cascades of blue-orange chords, encircling their distant carillon the plainchant-like melody of the violin and cello.

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The abyss is Time, with its sadness and fatigue. The four instruments in unison give the effect of gongs and trumpets the first six trumpets of the Apocalypse attend various catastrophes, the trumpet of the seventh angel announces the consummation of the mystery of God. Use of extended note values, augmented or diminished rhythmic patterns, nonretrogradable rhythms—a systematic use of values that, from left to right or from right to left, remain the same.

Music of stone, formidable sonority of granite; movement as irresistible as steel, as huge blocks of livid fury or ice-like frenzy. Listen particularly to the terrifying fortissimo of the theme in augmentation and with change of register of its different notes, toward the end of the piece. The mighty angel appears, and in particular the rainbow that envelops him the rainbow, symbol of peace, of wisdom, of every quiver of luminosity and sound.

In my dreams, I hear and see ordered melodies and chords, familiar hues and forms; then, following this transitory stage, I pass into the unreal and submit ecstatically to a vortex, a dizzying interpenetration of superhuman sounds and colors. These fiery swords, these rivers of blue-orange lava, these sudden stars: Behold the cluster, behold the rainbows!

Why this second glorification? It addresses itself more specifically to the second aspect of Jesus—to Jesus the man, to the Word made flesh, raised up immortal from the dead so as to communicate His life to us. It is total love. Its slow rising to a supreme point is the ascension of man toward his God, of the son of God towards his Father, of the mortal newly made divine toward paradise.

All four musicians survived the war. XVI I. Allegro moderato II. Adagio III. Allegro inquieto II. Andante caloroso III.

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The total is still uncertain since new ones are periodically discovered while others, especially early ones, are found to be misattributed or spurious; the number hovers around Haydn composed his first ones, up to the early s, for the harpsichord, as evidenced by the absence of dynamic markings. In , Haydn published three sets of six sonatas for either piano or harpsichord that were characterized by florid ornamentation, distinguishing them from those of Mozart.

He conceived them for the English Broadwood pianos with their resonant sound that was later to make them a favorite with Beethoven. Haydn composed the three sonatas for the noted pianist Therese Jansen Bertolozzi, whom he had met during his first stay in London. He greatly admired her and was an official witness at her wedding. There may be an unknown backstory explaining the reason behind the change, but once at home Haydn probably found it more expedient to honor a local performer.

To judge from the variety of pianistic textures and techniques in the piece, especially the rich chords that open the work and introduce each.

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He took full advantage of the instrument, exploring the extremes of the keyboard and continued his practice of surprising modulations in the development. In keeping with the extreme modulatory scheme of the first movement, Haydn chose the distant key of E major for the Adagio a leap from three flats to four sharps. After a darker middle section, Haydn returns to the opening theme, this time elaborately decorated. The repeated notes of the opening recall the finale of Symphony No.

Like his waltzes and polonaises, the mazurkas were not meant for actual dancing. The common pianistic style of infusing them all with multiple rubato passages would make any dancer stumble over his feet. Chopin was an innovator who stretched tonality and chromaticism to their limits for his time. In this aspect, he resembles his contemporary Hector Berlioz. He composed his first Mazurka at age ten, the last two in the year of his death. They became the vehicle for some of his most innovative writing, involving a large variety of moods, constant mixing of major and minor tonalities and uncommon modal scales.

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The Mazurka in A Minor was composed in —, although a rough sketch dates back to It is in the usual ABA form, with the dreamy and plaintive A sections contrasting in tempo and dynamics with the middle section— although without any change in mood. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was only a mediocre pianist and, in contrast to most composers, never composed at the piano but rather thought directly in orchestral terms.

Consequently, his solo piano music was not central to his oeuvre and never achieved the popularity of his orchestral works. Except for two piano sonatas, the first of which is a student work, all his piano music consists of short pieces, many of them intended for light salon entertainment. Aleksey Tolstoy, second cousin to the famed Leo Tolstoy: Autumn, our poor garden is all falling down, the yellowed leaves are flying in the wind.

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Like so many seasonal compositions, Tchaikovsky incorporates the conventional moods associated with each one. Considering its geographical location, St. Petersburg is pretty dismal as winter approaches, hence the tone of this work. The 12 piano pieces of The Seasons were composed in on a commission from the St.

Petersburg monthly periodical Nouvellist. Tchaikovsky did not think much of the commission and instructed his valet to remind him when the next installment was due. He then sat down to write each piece in a single sitting. Inspired by Nikolayevna, Shostakovich decided to compose his own cycle of 24 preludes and fugues.

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Writing piano preludes and fugues, however, was relatively noncontroversial. He started the set in midOctober and finished it four months later, dedicating it to Nikolayevna, who premiered it in December The publisher, Nikolay Bernard, added poetic epigraphs for each month. Festival Programs and Notes Shostakovich eventually stamps them with his own harmonic language.

Chopin did likewise in the Op. The powerful No. After a short introduction, Shostakovich introduces a theme that also serves as the fugue subject.