|Friday April 24th, 2009|
|Centro Cultural de España|
sonata K 483
polonesa Op 40 n.2
scherzo n.1 Op20
two preludes Op23
Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti (26 October 1685 – 23 July 1757) was an Italian composer who spent much of his life in the service of the Portuguese and Spanish royal families. He is classified primarily as a Baroque composer chronologically, although his music was influential in the development of the Classical style and he was one of the few Baroque composers to transition into the classical period. Like his renowned father Alessandro Scarlatti, he composed in a variety of musical forms, although today he is known mainly for his 555 keyboard sonatas. Only a small fraction of Scarlatti’s compositions were published during his lifetime; Scarlatti himself seems to have overseen the publication in 1738 of the most famous collection, his 30 Essercizi (“Exercises”). These were well received throughout Europe, and were championed by the foremost English writer on music of the eighteenth century, Charles Burney. The many sonatas which were unpublished during Scarlatti’s lifetime have appeared in print irregularly in the two and a half centuries since. Scarlatti has attracted notable admirers, including Frédéric Chopin, Johannes Brahms, Ivo Pogorelic, Béla Bartók, Dmitri Shostakovich, Heinrich Schenker, Vladimir Horowitz, Emil Gilels, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, and Marc-André Hamelin. Scarlatti’s 555 keyboard sonatas are single movements, mostly in binary form, and some in early sonata form, and mostly written for the harpsichord or the earliest pianofortes. (There are four for organ, and a few for small instrumental group). Some of them display harmonic audacity in their use of discords, and also unconventional modulations to remote keys. Aside from his many sonatas, Scarlatti composed a number of operas and cantatas, symphonias, and liturgical pieces. Well known works include the Stabat Mater of 1715 and the Salve Regina of 1757, which is thought to be his last composition.
Frédéric François Chopin (22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849), was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era, who wrote primarily for the solo piano. He gained and has maintained renown worldwide as one of the leading musicians of his era, whose “poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation.” Both in his native Poland and beyond, Chopin’s music, his status as one of music’s earliest superstars, his association (if only indirect) with political insurrection, his love life and his early death have made him, in the public consciousness, a leading symbol of the Romantic era. His works remain popular, and he has been the subject of numerous films and biographies of varying degrees of historical accuracy.
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (1873 – 1943), was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered as one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music. Rachmaninoff’s style showed initially the influence of Tchaikovsky. Beginning in the mid-1890s, his compositions began showing a more individual tone. His First Symphony has many original features. Its flexible rhythms, sweeping lyricism and stringent economy of thematic material were all features he kept and refined in subsequent works. He started leaning towards sumptuous harmonies and broadly lyrical, often passionate melodies. His orchestration became subtler and more varied, with textures carefully contrasted, and his writing on the whole became more concise. Rachmaninoff also possessed an uncanny memory—one that would help put him in good stead when he had to learn the standard piano repertoire as a 45-year-old exile. He could hear a piece of music, even a symphony, then play it back the next day, the next year, or a decade after that. Siloti would give him a long and demanding piece to learn, such as Brahms’ Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel. Two days later Rachmaninoff would play it “with complete artistic finish.” Alexander Goldenweiser said, “Whatever composition was ever mentioned—piano, orchestral, operatic, or other—by a Classical or contemporary composer, if Rachmaninoff had at any time heard it, and most of all if he liked it, he played it as though it were a work he had studied thoroughly.”