Current Listing  |  Previous Performances

Program Notes for Concert 03/14/2014

The next "A Musical Feast' concert on Friday, March 14 at 8pm in the Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower auditorium of the Burchfield Penny Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Avenue on the Buffalo State Campus, will feature the Buffalo debut of pianist Dmitri Novgorodsky. Born into a musical family in Odessa in the Ukraine, Novgorodsky won the First Prize at the Kazakhstan National Piano Competition at the age of 16 and later the Gold Medal of the National Festival of the Arts. After graduating from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory with high honors, Novgorodsky immigrated to Israel in 1991, before going on to earn several degrees from Yale, including that of Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance. After teaching at several institutions of higher learning, he joined the SUNY Fredonia School of Music as an Assistant Professor of Piano in the fall of 2012, while continuing an active touring career as a performer. Novgorodsky will offer a rare, local performance of one of Bach's solo partitas for keyboard, the Partita No.5 in G Major. He will also join BPO associate principal cellist Feng Hew and her husband, BPO violinist Sheh-Jian Tsai in a performance of one of the most melodious gems of the piano trio repertoire, Mendelssohn's Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49. Daniel Bassin, music director of the UB Symphony Orchestra, will lay down his baton and take up his trumpet for a performance of Morton Feldman's A Very Short Trumpet Piece. Rounding out the eclectic program, UB percussionist Tom Kolor will be joined by Fredonia State percussionist John Bacon in a performance of minimalist icon composer Steve Reich's 1972 work, Clapping Music for Two Performers.

Tickets: $20 general/$10 students/Burchfield Penney members

Phone: 878-6011, during gallery hours or visit:

Morton Feldman composed A Very Short Trumpet Piece for "Fanfares – New Trumpet Pieces for Young Players" a collection of pieces by some of the leading composers of the post World War II period, including Berio, Birtwistle, Kagel, Ligeti, Lutos¥awski and Rihm, issued by the venerable Vienna-based Universal Edition musical publishing house. The collection's editor, the American Edward Tarr, whom Daniel Bassin describes as a "trumpet player, musicologist and 'historically-informed' performer/scholar par excellence", suggested that unless otherwise marked, the pieces could be played on either a Bb or C trumpet. Bassin observes that since Feldman's piece can be transposed to any level, he is considering playing it "at concert pitch, but I have been going back-and-forth between Bb and C trumpet, in search of the right Feldman pallet of colors".

Minimalist icon Steve Reich composed his Clapping Music for Two Performers in 1972 when he said he wanted "to create a piece of music that needed no instruments beyond the human body." During the entire performance, one performer claps a variation of a fundamental African musical pattern in 12/8 time, a basic rhythm known as a bell pattern. The other performer starts to clap the same pattern, but then shifts to the right by one eighth-note after every 8 or 12 bars. The two performers continue this sequence until, as at the beginning, the second performer is again playing the pattern in unison with the first performer, 144 bars later. Composed between 1726 and 1730, the six partitas or suites of the collection sometimes later referred to as the German Suites, were originally published separately. They were eventually collected and published in 1731 as the composer's Opus 1. A prominent Bach biographer, J.N. Forkel, has observed that these works made a big impact on the musical scene of the time: "Never before had such excellent compositions for the clavier been seen or heard. Anyone who had learnt to perform well some pieces out of them could make his fortune in the world thereby". While the collection is subtitled 'Clavier Übung' (Clavier Practice) these highly virtuosic musical pieces can only be performed successfully by keyboard players who have already put in countless hours of practice. Performing them remains the prerogative of the greatest of keyboard players, not afraid of the suites' technical demands. The structure of this set is far freer than in either Bach's first set of partitas, now usually referred to as the English Suites or the second set, known as the French Suites. Comprised of the usual seven movements, the Partita No.5 in G Major, BWV 829 is the shortest partita in the set, and the only one that starts with a joyful, rippling movement marked Praeambulum, followed by the usual Allemande, a playfully subdued German dance, an energetic Courante (Italianized here as Corrente) and a serenely gentle Sarabande, in an order common to all the suites. The graceful Tempo di Menuetto is followed by a bustling Passepied, while a lively Gigue, as usual, ends the suite, interrupted midway by a virtuosic and challenging fugal section.

Writing in the 'Neue Zeitschrift', no less influential a critic than composer Robert Schumann called Mendelssohn's Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49, "the master trio of the age, as were the B flat ("Gassenhauer") and D major ("Ghost") trios of Beethoven and the E flat trio (D.929) of Schubert in their times." Mendelssohn demonstrated a strong preference for piano chamber music early on, composing three piano quartets and a sextet for piano and strings during a time in his life when he had composed only one string quartet. In an 1832 letter to his beloved sister Fanny, he wrote "I should like to compose a couple of good (piano) trios." It wasn't until the spring of 1839, however, that he began to write his first piano trio, completing it in September of that year; and it wasn't until 1845 that he completed his second piano trio. Mendelssohn's first piano trio was an immediate and great success and it has continued to enjoy a cherished place in the hearts of chamber music lovers up to the present day. During the course of the work's composition, Mendelssohn's friend and fellow composer Ferdinand Hiler advised him to incorporate some of the then advanced piano technical effects found in the works of Chopin and Liszt, resulting in a virtuosic piano part, particularly in the first movement. The Andante movement has a kinship with the kind of intimate treatment found in many of the composer's Songs Without Words, while the bubbling Scherzo recalls the graceful world of his Midsummer Night's Dream, before the breathless exhilaration of the Finale brings the work to a close.



Made possible by the generous support of

Irene Haupt, Photographer

home    |   about us  |  performances  |  program  |  reviews  |  gallery  |  contact us

A Musical Feast

Copyright 2011 A Musical Feast

 Designed, Hosted, and Maintained by
Data Design Group