NEXT CONCERT BÖSENDORFER HALL (Mozarthaus Vienna) Friday, February 22, 2013, 7.30 pm
MUSIC FROM MEXICO and ARGENTINA
Ernest So (piano)
plays Manuel Ponce, Julian Aguerre, Carlos Gustavino, Alberto Ginastera and Astor Piazzolla.
EURO 20.-/students 10.-
Tel +43-1-504 66 51-144
BÖSENDORFER-SAAL im MOZARTHAUS VIENNA
Domgasse 5 (very close to Stephansplatz in the center of the city)
Works by Manuel Ponce (1882 – 1948)
Prelude for the Left Hand alone
Estudios de Concierto No. 3
'Hacia la Cima'Mazurka Nos. 2, 4, 6
Julián Aguirre (1868 - 1924)
Tristes, No. 1 and 3
Carlos Guastavino (1912 – 2000)
Bailecito El Ceibo Tierra Linda
Alberto Ginastera (1916 – 1983)
Ástor Piazzolla (1921 – 1992)
THE ARTIST - Ernest So
Critics have hailed Ernest So as a performer who exerts a “phenomenon presence on stage” and who “evokes the romanticism and technical brilliance of a 19th century pianist”. Mr. So’s early manifestation as concert pianist brought prizes such as the Best Performer Award in Singapore and later the Beethoven Trophy. His years at the Juilliard School were spent under the artistic influence and instruction of renowned Beethoven scholar Jacob Lateiner (1928 – 2010); other teachers include Solomon Mikowsky, the late Constance Keene, and Jonathan Feldman. Mr. So is well-known for his wide repertoire, including not only standard concert works by composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin, but also masterworks by Scriabin, Godowsky, Medtner, Antheil, Poulenc, Ibert, Bortkiewicz, Catoire, Guastavino, Kapustin, Stanchinsky, Mompou, Viñes, and many other lesser known composers. Mr. So has also given masterclasses and lectures on Beethoven, and is the author of numerous essays on music. He additionally uses his expertise to advise as a professional consultant on piano manufacture and restoration techniques, working for various leading piano builders and restorers; he is currently the Chief Technical Consultant for Asia Piano Japan. Besides his accomplishments in music, Mr. So is also an aficionado of the sartorial arts, an antique collector and is actively involved in philanthropical activities.
Manuel Ponce (1882 – 1948)
Ponce’s obscurity in today’s concert roster is one of the biggest regrets of our music history. Recognitions during his lifetime were numerous, but most importantly he was the father of Mexican nationalistic movement in music. It was Ponce who started incorporating the diverse elements of song and dance into an established European idiom, and this juxtaposition created a brand new and uniquely identifiable musical legacy to Mexican music. Incidentally, he was the teacher of Carlos Chávez. A hugely prolific composer, he has written mainly for the piano – his instrument, and for other instruments and arrangements such as guitar, piano concerto, numerous songs, and even a guitar and harpsichord sonata. The Prelude and the Estudios de Concierto No. 3 are pieces that are clearly inspired by guitar techniques. The Mazurkas owe their origins in Chopin (of which he famously wrote 69), not only in their conception but also in their expression of elegance and sensitivity. The Balada Mexicana is perhaps one of Ponce’s most successful works, in which he demonstrated his ability to engage and intrigue the audience with brilliant inventions, technical showmanship, and lyrical persuasion.
Julián Aguirre (1868 – 1924)
Born in Bueno Aires, he studied piano and composition in Madrid and later in Paris, which explains the heavy Spanish and French influence in a lot of his writings. The Five Tristes is a collection of 5 short works for the piano, written in a pure romantic language and is one of the most widely recorded set of pieces of Aguirre. At the end of the Tristes No. 3, a short passage was interestingly written in imitation of the guitar. His scores are now seeing steady publication and his music being regularly performed and recorded. His influence on the later generation of Argentine composers cannot be denied, and monuments and memorials all over Argentina are established in his honour.
Carlos Guastavino (1912 – 2000)
Of the group of Romantic Nationalist composers in Argentina, Guastavino stood out as one of the most prominent and prolific of all. He had performed in Britain, Russia and China in the 50s and lived extremely well from royalties alone. He dismissed the avant garde trends that were prevalent in the 50s and 60s, insisting that music should appeal to the listener through traditional and unpretentious melodies and harmonies. He wanted his music to touch his listener in the same way he was touched by the music he grew up with. However, his works are not as simple and easy as he made it sound like. In Guastavino’s piano works we find the same virtuosity as we find in a Rachmaninoff prelude – as in the Tierra Linda presented tonight: full chords, big leaps, and an encompassing sonority that takes the listeners from the softest passage to the biggest climax at the end; we find the same poetry in his writing as we find in the works of Schumann in El Ceibo (also in tonight’s programme), which is part of a larger collection of piano works called Cantilena Argentina, his greatest achievement in piano writing. The immediacy of his work won the hearts of many, not only in Argentina but also in the musical circles in Europe and North America. His piano works are still in print, while recordings of his piano works are numerous, and can be found under the hands of world-renowned pianists such as Martha Argerich.
Alberto Ginastera (1916 – 1983)
For listeners of classical music, Ginastera is no stranger. One of the first Argentine composers to achieve international fame and recognition, his works have been performed and studied, and recorded in numerous renditions by musicians too many to name. He was also the teacher of Ástor Piazzolla. Born of Italian and Catalan parents, Ginastera maintained an international career with his music that combines the traditional Argentine lyricism, rhythmic energy, and influences from French and American contemporaries. Cuyana, a piece written when he was only 24, was one of his more well-known piano works from the early period. The nostalgia and elegance of the Argentine lyricism is as prominent as the ingenious modulations and harmonies, and the atmosphere created by the economy of notes and fluidity of writing achieved a very poetic effect throughout. Ginastera went on to compose more works for the piano, including three sonatas, concertos, numerous small pieces, and a well-known cello sonata that is often performed (and recorded) by his cellist wife.
Ástor Piazzolla (1921 – 1992) No concert of Argentine music is complete without at least one work by the bandonéon master Ástor Piazzolla. Almost always seen with his bandonéon (the most popular instrument of Argentine music) and almost always associated with Nuevo Tango, Piazzolla is perhaps the most important figure in Argentine music today. He has brought not only tango music to us but the sound and flavour of his people. Grew up and trained as a classical musician, he studied the music of Bach and the masters like any other music students. At the advice of Arthur Rubinstein, he sought the tutelage of Alberto Ginastera; and a study trip to Paris later changed his life forever. Under the most influential teacher of that time, Ms. Nadia Boulanger, Piazzolla found his voice and true calling: the tango. Adíos Nonino was written in memory of his father, Nonino Piazzolla. It is often played in the arrangement of Piazzolla’s quintet; the piano version is seldom played due to the high technical demands. The piece conforms to a fast-slow-fast-slow format, alternating between improvised sections and sentimental and songful melodies. This music has given a new identity to the Argentine people: it transcends the tango dance and its music into a stunning display of emotions and excitement, of technical brilliance and virtuosity, and of poetry and heartfelt sentiment. As Piazzolla would always said: many things can change in Argentina, but never the tango.