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Classical to Contemporary whom you may know yourself!

August 12, 2021, Musicale. Recorded on line

Our program for today combined classical composers with 20th century ones, including one of our own, Ed Ewing. Eleven of us enjoyed each other's performances and anticipating our getting together in person later on this month at PianoWorks.

We started off with Nancy Dunn's live interpretation of Debussy's "Reflets dans l'eau" (Reflections in the Water) - in progress, playing live a page and a half of the piece. Nancy brought out a wonderful impressionistic sound of Debussy's "Reflections", with great dynamics, from pianissimo to piano. She is well on her way to learning this piece "layer by layer".

Ed Ewing brought us "Caribbean Sunset", one of his own compositions, this one in the reggae style. The background photo is one of Ed's shots of a Caribbean vacation. The piece has a great beat that makes you want to slow dance to it, or maybe sip a fruit juice on a veranda watching the sunset on the beach.

Sam Smith brought us a piece by Valentin Silvestrov, a contemporary Russian composer of modern music. His Bagatelle op 1, No. 3 (2005) is quite difficult to execute and to control the dynamics since Silvestrov adds "micro notations" to his pieces, meaning that just about every note has its own dynamic marking. The Bagatelle is a quiet and softly reflective piece in the style of late 19th century Romantic music. Very relaxing rendition by Sam...well done.

Michael Brounoff was next as he treated us with his rendition of Schubert's "Sonata in A-minor, D-845, iii., Scherzo Allegro Vivace". This was part of his performance at the Piano Texas Teachers/Amateurs Competition this year. An excellent interpretation with controlled dynamics, tempi, and clarity. Beautifully played!

Ruth Purcell brought us, "English Country Dance Waltz Medley in G Major arranged for violin, viola, and piano (Henry Purcell)", arranged and compiled by Ruth herself. She put three different English waltzes together to create this medley. Ruth had to overcome many technical challenges in recording this piece to achieve a nice balanced sound among the instruments. The waltzes are musically charming that is enjoyable to listen to and were well performed by Ruth on her violin and viola, with background piano accompaniment recorded by her (so talented!).

Utako finished us off with her performances of pieces that she will send off to an on-line competition. The first is Handel's "Chaconne in G major", a dance piece that has 21 variations. Wonderfully executed, clear and crisp expressive piano playing worthy of being submitted for competition. Next came Chopin's Nocturne Op. 27 No. 2 beautifully performed by Utako. And, finally, Schubert's Sonata D.664 3rd movement. Again very well played by her. All three pieces will be entered in the on-line competition coming up.

On August 26 we come together again for an in-person Musicale at PianoWorks...and we can't wait! Stay safe, everyone...until then,

Tom Slavicek

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