July 19, 2009

IKIF 2009 starts this week.  After kayaking on the Hudson for an hour, I rushed up to Mannes for Jerome Rose’s opening night recital.  An excellent, focused program of two composers, Beethoven and Liszt.  Six Bagatelles, and Op. 31 No. 3, then Liszt, closing with the Funerailles.  The Bagatelles (literally, ‘trifles’, according to Mr. Dubal) are new to me — I’ve got Sonata Form on the brain when it comes to Beethoven.  They’re certainly not trifles.  They sound fresh and inventive, with a pleasure more abstract than the forceful logic of the Sonatas.  Mr. Rose’s Opus 31, No. 3 was warm, gracious, powerful and grand, creating all the momentum of musical ideas that we need from the middle-period Sonatas.  Danny thought Beethoven was in a good mood when he wrote this Sonata.

David Dubal’s Art Of The Piano is the perfect companion to the Keyboard Festival.  I read that Sonatas 19 & 20 (Op. 49 1 & 2), published after Op. 31, were actually composed several years earlier — which means the Waldstein (Opus 53) is the next piano sonata Beethoven will compose.

I’ve been waiting to hear Mr. Rose play the Liszt Funerailles.  Four years ago, in Rose’s Master Class I heard a very gifted student play the piece amazingly well.  But he was so shy.  So Rose made him sing the piece instead of playing it.  After the Master Class I was singing the theme of the Funerailles in my head all afternoon, and I wanted to hear Mr. Rose play it.  So I finally got my wish.  Rose encored with a little known Romanze by Liszt.


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