CONCERT Final Exam Veerle Program
Bijgewerkt: 8 jun 2019
J. S. Bach - Prelude in e flat minor, Fugue in d sharp minor
L. van Beethoven - Piano Sonata no. 24
I. Adagio cantabile – Allegro ma non troppo
II. Allegro vivace
N. Kapustin - Concert Etude no. 8 "Finale"
F. Chopin - Scherzo no. 4
S. Prokofiev - Piano Sonata no. 7
II. Andante caloroso
Expression of gratitude
Firstly I would like to thank my great teacher Henry Kelder, who has taught me not only how to play the piano on a professional level, but also how to think creatively and open myself up when Making music at the piano. I would like to thank my parents for allowing me the time and space to practice and develop myself, and for all of their love. Thanks to my 🖤 Marijn and to my friends who have encouraged me and given me confidence in regards to my playing and my personality. Finally I would like to thank all of the people that are here in the audience today, thank you for listening and supporting me!
Information about the pieces
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)
Bach wrote two books of preludes and fugues. Every key, in major and minor, has its own prelude and fugue in every book. For example, the prelude in C major and the fugue in C major belong together. So why is it that Bach wrote the prelude that I am going to play in e flat minor and the fugue in d sharp minor? Those are two different keys, but still, the prelude and fugue belong together. Have you ever heard of enharmonic keys? It means that the name of the note is different, but actually it's the same note; it sounds the same. The e flat on the piano sounds the same as the d sharp. It could be that Bach wrote the fugue in a different key and transposed it later to d sharp. Or maybe he wanted to have a more intense feeling with the fugue.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
The 24th piano sonata of Beethoven is known as one of his own favourite pieces. It is nicknamed "à Thérèse", because it was written for countess Thérèse von Brunswick. I read that around the time this sonata was written (1809), Beethoven was about to leave Vienna. The archduke Rudolf, Prince Lobkowitz, and Prince Kinsky wanted him to stay and offered him a fixed income as a composer. Maybe that gave him the freedom to write more freely and creative and is that the reason why this was one of his favourite piano sonatas.
Or... Thérèse was one of Beethoven's students and he wrote this piece for her. If you heard about the loveletter "Immortal Beloved" that Beethoven wrote, you must know there are a lot of speculations of to whom this letter was supposed to be sent to. Could that be the reason this one was one of his favourites?
Nikolai Kapustin (1937)
Kapustin is an Ukranian composer and pianist. I am going to play one of his concert etudes, the last one; "Finale". It is written in jazz style, very carefully and precise. From his website:
Nikolai Kapustin turned out to be a classical composer who happens to work in a jazz idiom. He fuses these influences in his compositions, using jazz idioms in formal classical structures. An example of this is his Suite in the Old Style, Op. 28, written in1977, which inhabits the sound world of jazz but is modelled on baroque suites such as the keyboard partitas composed by J. S. Bach, each movement being a stylized dance or a pair of dances in strict binary form. Other examples of this fusion are his set of 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 82, written in 1997, and the Op. 100 Sonatina.
Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849)
Like the Beethoven sonata, this piece is also written for a female student. How woman can inspire a man... This time the piece is written for Mademoiselle J. de Caraman. Scherzo is translated in English as 'a joke, playful, frolic'. The fourth scherzo, the only one written in a major key, may be the most frolic one of them all.
Published in Leipzig in 1843, the Scherzo in E major, Op. 54, was composed in 1842. Not often performed, the piece is of a very different character than Chopin's previous works in this form, exhibiting more capriciousness and elegance than profundity. It is best described as bright and direct.
Sergei Prokofiev (1891 - 1953)
The 7th sonata of Prokofiev is one of his war sonatas. It is nicknamed the 'Stalingrad sonata'. During WWII Prokofiev was forced to write happy music for Stalin and his country, while a lot of people, and some of his close friends, were being killed. During this time, he started to write his war sonatas. In this music he could express his true feelings about the war. This piano sonata is amongst the most dissonant piano pieces that Prokofiev wrote.
I will play the second and third movement of this sonata. The second movement starts with a melody full of chromatic lines. It feels like a very sentimental melody with an intentional sarcastic undertone. The melody is based on a song by Schumann, called 'Wehmut'. For me, it feels like Prokofiev writes about a soldier being in a safe place, maybe listening to music. But he cannot help to have flashbacks from the field. That's where all the dissonance begins; he starts to see imaginary things, while the music is playing in the corner of the room. In his mind the music changes into distorted sounds of the war. Almost at the end of the piece, alarm bells start to ring in his head and the melody returns. But the war, with all its pain, will never leave his head. The third movement is written in a 7/8 bar throughout the whole piece. It feels like the piece is somehow going to collapse. In the left hand there is a motive that is very recognizable. It makes me think of the alarm bells of the second movement, because in the different parts the same two notes always return. Although, in the third movement, the sign is heard in the bass. In the end of the piece, everything really tends to collapse and go insane. For a pianist, this part is almost uncontrollable. I think this is really what the piece is about; Prokofiev's time, his choices, his relationships and his feelings were all uncontrollable because of the war.