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2-Hand, 4-Hand, 1797 to 1910 Composers

Musicale at PianoWorks

A wonderful Musicale was presented by 14 of our members on Thursday, October 28, 2021. A handful of audience members enjoyed listening to the varied music.

With such a full program we started on time at 11:00am with Kimber and Lilly performing the "Danse Macabre" by Saint-Saens, arranged by Anne Britt. A perfect selection for the upcoming Halloween weekend. Both Kimber and Lilly gave us a "spirited" performance where we could imagine the skeletons dancing on the graves of the dead with the devil playing the fiddle. Good one!

Utako graced us with two pieces by Chopin, his "Minute" Waltz and the "Revolutionary" Etude. The "Minute" Waltz is not to describe how quickly it should be played (60 seconds) but that it is a French word for, "small". Regardless, this piece is a show stopper with its required speed and clarity. The "Revolutionary Etude" is a real knuckle-buster for the left hand - again performed fantastically.

Tom brought us a piece not heard before, Richard Strauss's "An Einsamer Quelle" (By the Peaceful Spring), Op. 9 No. 2. Strauss composed this piece during his student days and it is one of a set of 5 from Op. 9. It starts out with a peaceful image of a spring flowing in the forest which then grows more and more forceful, reaching a climax in the middle portions of the piece before settling down to a calm and again peaceful sound. The challenge is to bring out the melodic line which switches hands frequently and is imbedded within the notes. This is a work in progress for Tom.

Mary (Dekkers) brought us Chopin's Op. 25 No. 7 Etude - a very sad and despondent piece more like a Nocturne than an Etude. The challenge comes primarily in the very fast left hand note runs that need to keep pace with the tempo in the right hand. Mary deftly met this challenge as she continues to perfect this piece.

Annette and Kimber paired up to bring us an aria by S. Donauty - "Amorosi miei giori". A beautiful melody sung beautifully by Annette, accompanied by Kimber's attentive piano.

Judy's presentation of Schubert's third Impromptu impressed us with her continued study of this piece, performing up to the half way point. We look forward to hearing the entire work!

Debussy's "Claire de Lune" was played by Paul (Cossman), a work that he has been studying but a short time. He is well on his way to perfecting the technical and interpretative challenges of what is probably Debussy's most popular composition.

Julie brought us another Debussy piece, his "Danse". A long piece that has many "tricky bits" throughout. Well done!

Sam performed Mendelssohn's "Song Without Words", Op 53 No. 1. A beautiful melody, very romantic in style, and one of Mendelssohn's most popular compositions. Sam performed it well, bringing out the main theme and maintaining a dynamic balance.

Jimmy surprised us all by performing an "unadvertised special" - excerpts from Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto - original score. This is Jimmy's favorite composer and probably his favorite piece. His goal is to learn the entire piano part - no small challenge! We enjoyed his surprise!

Paul (Zampol) chose sections from Moussourgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" as a Halloween treat! He performed the "Promenade", "Gnomus", and in "The Old Castle", among a couple of others. Nicely played!

And to finish off our Musicale Pam and Kristi teamed up to perform a 20th century work by Bernard Heiden - his Fantasy and Variations from his Sonata, for piano 4-hands. This is a technically challenging piece throughout. Kristi and Pam were 'spot on" in all sections - very impressive.

Well done, everyone...see you next time!

Tom Slavicek

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