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Sonata in D minor, K1/L.366 (2:30)[See below for YouTube performance]
Sonata in E major, K20/L.375 (3:30)
Sonata in D minor, K141/L.422 (3:30)
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 16 in G Major, op. 31, no. 1 (25:00)
Carl Vine: Five Bagatelles (1994) (10:30)[See below for YouTube performance]
Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, op. 58 (30:00)
In the beginning of his career Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) concentrated mostly on vocal music, following in the footsteps of his famous father, Alessandro. But in 1719 Domenico resigned his position in the Vatican, and moved first to Portugal in 1720, as music master to the Portuguese royal family, and then to Spain in 1729, following one of the Portuguese princesses after she married. It was after he left Italy that he began to concentrate more on keyboard music, and it is for his 555 one-movement keyboard sonatas that he now is most remembered. Scarlatti's energetic Sonata in D Minor, K1 (L.366) and playful Sonata in E Major, K. 20 (L.375) were published in 1739 among his 30 Essercizii per Gravicembalo (K1-30). The toccata-like Sonata in D minor, K141 (L. 422, ca.1756-57)) is regarded as one of his finest--and most technically challenging--compositions, and imitates the mandolin in its use of rapidly-repeated notes.
The Transcendent German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) started out essentially imitating the styles and forms he inherited from Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and W.A Mozart (1756-1791), but during his "middle period” (ca. 1803-1815) Beethoven expanded and personalized this inheritance, creating works that have come to represent the culmination of the Classical style in much the same way that the works of J.S. Bach (1685-1750) represent the culmination of the Baroque. During Beethoven's "late period” (ca. 1815-1827), he discovered new paths toward still more personal, even intimate musical expression, and despite the gradual and eventually total degeneration of his hearing he forged the way beyond the Classical tradition into the Romantic. Beethoven completed three piano sonatas in 1802 that would be published together as his Opus 31 the following year. Forming a bridge between his early and middle periods, the sonatas were the first works in which Beethoven made a conscious attempt to develop a “new” style that could be recognized as uniquely his own. He still had a way to go before achieving this goal, but he does introduce characteristics more common in his later works. In his virtuosic Sonata No. 16 in G major, op. 31, no. 1 Beethoven’s own ironic (sometimes sardonic) sense of humor is much on display, and there are some original technical devices that depart from Haydn’s models. Among these in the sonata-form first movement are abrupt shifts of tonal centers and a fluctuation between B major and B minor tonalities in the second subject rather than the “expected” dominant key of D major. The second movement is often described as “uncharacteristic” among Beethoven’s slow movements as it parodies the style of a perhaps overly-ornamented Italian bel canto opera aria, then all the rage throughout Europe. The finale returns to the high spirits of the first movement, and marries the rondo form with theme-and-variations techniques.
Australian composer and pianist Carl Vine (b. 1954) first came to prominence with his 25 dance scores, and his catalog now also includes seven symphonies, ten concertos, music for film, television and theater, electronic music and numerous chamber works. Since 2000 he has been the Artistic Director of Musica Viva Australia, the world's largest entrepreneur of chamber music. In 2006, Vine also became the Artistic Director of the Huntington Estate Music Festival, Australia's most prestigious annual chamber music event. He has been honored with at least twenty major awards in his homeland, including the Don Banks Music Award (the highest honor available to musicians through the Australia Council for the Arts) and an honorary doctorate from the University of Western Australia. The composer provides the following note about his Five Bagatelles (1994):
The Australian National AIDS Trust asked me to play the piano at their annual fund-raising dinner in 1994. As I hadn’t performed professionally since 1989 it was hard to think of a suitable work that would be both appropriate and easy enough for my dwindling keyboard skills. I decided it was simplest to write a short work just for the occasion, and Threnody was born. Having grown fond of the work, it seemed wasteful not to have a context in which it might be useful, so I made it the last in this set of Five Bagatelles.
The Polish-born pianist Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) was the first composer to make full use of the expressive qualities and coloristic potential of the piano when it was a still-developing keyboard instrument, and he rightly has been called the "Poet of the Piano." Much of all piano music by subsequent composers shows his influence, and his revolutionary use of chromatic harmonies and unusual key relationships profoundly influenced composers of symphonic music and operas as well, including Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner; thus Chopin's importance in the development of the "Romantic" style in general cannot be overestimated. Composed in 1844, Chopin’s extremely demanding Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, op. 58 is a work of his full maturity. Rather than breaking with tradition as Beethoven had intended with his op. 31 sonatas, Chopin consciously moves closer to the “traditional” sonata (as Beethoven had redefined it)—a tradition Chopin had all but ignored in his earlier forays in the genre. Chopin concedes greater use of motivic development in his first movement, but never at the sacrifice of his melodic and harmonic sensibilities. And, as in his own second sonata, Chopin places his Scherzo before the nocturne-like Largo, rather than placing it in the more traditional spot between the slow movement and his ultimately triumphant Finale.
Kaisar Anvar performing Scarlatti's Sonata in D Minor, K1
Kaisar Anvar performing Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 16, 1st movement
Kaisar Anvar performing Carl Vine's Five Bagatelles
Kaisar Anvar Performing Chopin's Etude Op. 10, No.4