Thursday, October 22, 2009

11/16/2009 @ 6:15 p.m.: Jacksonville University Chamber Strings

Marguerite Richardson, conductor

Antonio Vivaldi: L’Estro Armonico, Op. 3: Concerto No. 8 in A minor for two violins and strings, RV 522
Piotr Szewczyk: Summer Music
Edward Lein: Hoodoo
Jacksonville University Chamber Strings

Antonín Dvořák: Quartet in F Major, Op.96, "American" (1st Movement)
Jacksonville University Honors String Quartet (Ronald Lagarde & Mallory Bray, violins; Peter Dutilly, viola; Joseph Engel, violoncello)

Peter Warlock: Capriol Suite
Edvard Grieg: Holberg Suite, Op.40
Jacksonville University Chamber Strings


Sam Lagarde,
Mallory Bray,
     associate concertmaster    
Stephanie Dierickx
Ashley Thorns
David Reynolds
Breana Mock
Philip Sanders, principal    
Sarah Morris
Ali Villella
Steffani Schmidt
Peter Dutilly, principal
Jake Campbell
Erick Crow
Joe Engel, principal
Victor Minke Huls
Christopher Davis
Philip Holman
Max Coley, principal
Ray Davis
Carolyne Scott

A member of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra since 1990, violinist Marguerite Richardson began her violin studies at the age of four. Ms. Richardson has performed symphonic and chamber music throughout the United States, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and Central America, and performs locally with the Florida Arts Trio. Between 1995 and 2003, Ms. Richardson began and developed the String Program at the University of North Florida, where she maintained a studio of violin and viola students and conducted the UNF Orchestra.

Currently, Ms. Richardson maintains a private teaching studio and serves as Chamber Music Coordinator and Premiere Strings Orchestra conductor for the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra. At Jacksonville University she is an Assistant Professor, teaching violin and viola, directing the Orchestra and coaching string chamber ensembles.

She holds a Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, a Master of Music from the University of South Carolina, and is currently completing her Doctor of Music degree from Florida State University.

Program notes by Ed Lein, Music Librarian

Music historians often refer to the Venetian violin virtuoso Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) as the composer most representative of the mature Italian Baroque style, and in addition to sonatas and sacred choral music he wrote nearly four dozen operas and over 500 concertos. Nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest") owing to his hair color and day job, as the composer of The Four Seasons Vivaldi wrote what have become among the most recognized violin concertos of any era, so it is perhaps surprising that after he died his music remained virtually unknown until the 20th Century. The 12 concerti grossi of Vivaldi's L'Estro Armonico ("Harmonic Inspiration"), Op. 3, were published in 1711, and Concerto No. 8, which features 2 solo violins, was later arranged for organ solo by J.S. Bach.

Musical works by Polish composer Piotr Szewczyk (b. 1977) have won a number of international composition contests, and have been featured on NPR and at the American Symphony Orchestra League Conference in Nashville. His music has been performed by numerous orchestral and chamber ensembles, and his recently published string quintet, The Rebel, was performed live on the CBS Early Show by the Sybarite Chamber Players, and also was featured in January 2009 on NPR's Performance Today. To fulfill the commission he earned as winner of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra’s 2008 Fresh Ink composition competition, Mr. Szewczyk has composed First Coast Fanfare which will receive its world premiere by the JSO this coming spring. About his Summer Music (2009) the composer writes:

Summer Music for string orchestra was commissioned by Prelude Chamber Music Camp in Jacksonville. It is inspired by the joy and fun of summer days. While playful and energetic at first the piece transforms in the middle into a slow, meditative section, like the slower summer days we use for self-reflection and relaxation. Right after the slow section dissolves, the piece launches into an energetic ride that doesn’t let go to the very end, speeding up to the fiery finale. This version of the piece includes an optional harp part that adds a distinct color and flavor to the string orchestra ensemble.
A virtuoso violinist as well as a member of the Jacksonville Symphony since September 2007, Mr. Szewczyk is the creator and performer of a critically-acclaimed recital of exciting and innovative solo pieces called Violin Futura. Piotr will return to Music@Main on May 18, 2010, to present another installment of Violin Futura featuring all new works written especially for him by composers from around the globe.

More at

Florida native Edward Lein (b. 1955) is the Music Librarian at Jacksonville Public Library's Main Library, and holds Master's degrees in both Music and Library Science from Florida State University. As a tenor soloist he appeared in recitals, oratorios and dramatic works throughout his home state, and drawing on his performance experience the majority of his early compositions are vocal works. Following peformances of pieces by the Jacksonville Symphony, including Meditation for cello, oboe and orchestra (premiered June 2006) and In the Bleak Midwinter (premiered December 2007), his instrumental catalog has grown largely due to requests from Symphony players for new pieces, and he endeavors to imbue his instrumental works with the same singing lyricism found in his vocal music. Hoodoo, a samba, is the first movement of a four-movement suite called Un Dulcito ("A Little Sweet"), and was first performed in the summer of 2009 by students and faculty from the Prelude Chamber Music Camp. The entire suite, based on Latin American dances, entered the repertoire of the Vero Beach High School Orchestra for the first complete performances of Un Dulcito on November 7-8, 2009, under conductor Matt Stott.

Listen to Hoodoo:

More at

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) is an immensely popular Czech composer who fused melodic and rhythmic elements of Bohemian folk music with classical symphonic forms. Fostered by his friend Johannes Brahms, Dvořák gained international acclaim and was invited to New York City to become the director of the National Conservatory of Music from 1892 to 1895, during which time he wrote the famous New World Symphony. It was also during this time that he composed his String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, Op.96 (1893), nicknamed the "American," and Dvořák said that it most definitely reflects his American sojourn: the second movement was influenced by the melancholy longing of African American Spirituals, the third by American birdsong, and the fourth, perhaps, by American railway travel.

Peter Warlock (1894-1930) was born in London as Philip Arnold Heseltine and had a successful career as a music critic under his real name. But he is better known by the bewitching pseudonym he used for his musical compositions, and it also reflects his interest in the occult. Providing inspiration for a number of British authors including Aldous Huxley and D.H. Lawrence, at age 36 Warlock's colorful personal life ended by gas poisoning, under suspicious circumstances. Although he devoted most of his compositional efforts toward writing songs, Warlock's instrumental Capriol Suite (1926) has become his best-known work. Originally for piano duet and inspired by Orchésographie, a manual of Renaissance dances by Thoinot Arbeau (1519-1595), the composer also prepared a version for full orchestra in addition to this one for strings.

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was a Norwegian composer and virtuoso pianist best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor and the incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt, and the originality of his Lyriske stykker ("Lyric Pieces") for piano solo lead some to call him "The Chopin of the North." Grieg's Holberg Suite, Op. 40 (1884) , or, Fra Holbergs tid ("From Holberg's Time"), was originally a "Suite in Olden Style" for piano solo, but it has become more popular in the composer's own version for string orchestra. The five movements were composed to commemorate the 200th birth anniversary of Danish-Norwegian playwright Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

1/16/2010 @ 3:30 p.m.: Jayoung Kim, cello

Assisted by JooHyun Lee, piano


Ludwig van Beethoven
Seven Variations on "Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen" from 'Die Zauberflöte', WoO 46 (CLICK to hear on YouTube)

Gaspar Cassado'
Solo Suite
I. Prelude-Fantasia (CLICK to hear on YouTube)
II. Sardana-Danza (CLICK to hear on YouTube)
III. Intermezzo e danza finale (CLICK to hear on YouTube)

Dmitri Shostakovich
Sonata for cello and piano, Op. 40
I. Allegro non troppo (CLICK to hear on YouTube)
II. Allegro (CLICK to hear on YouTube)
III. Largo (CLICK to hear on YouTube)
IV. Allegro (CLICK to hear on YouTube)

Frederic Chopin
Introduction and Polonaise Brillante, Op. 3 (CLICK to hear on YouTube)

With concert appearances throughout the United States, Costa Rica, and South Korea, cellist Jayoung Kim enjoys an active performing career as both chamber musician and soloist. A native of Korea who took up the cello at age 10, she has appeared in music festivals and artist series including Promising Artists of the 21st Century (San Jose, Costa Rica), OK MOZART International Music Festival (Bartlesville, OK), Young-San Artist Series (Seoul, Korea), and The Varga Celebration (Greensboro, NC), and was soloist at the University Orchestra Festival with Ewha University Orchestra.

As a member of the chamber ensemble enhakē she has captured numerous prizes including the Grand Prize at the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition (2009), Gold Medal at International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition (2008), and Judge’s Special Recognition Award at Plowman Chamber Music Competition (2008). She has given recitals and master classes at Valdosta State University, Texas A&M University, Mesa State College (Grand Junction, CO), and University of Costa Rica, and in addition to touring France and America, upcoming engagements include the world premier of a work by Libby Larsen commissioned by enhakē.

Ms. Kim has served as principal cellist of Florida State University Symphony Orchestra and Ewha University Orchestra, and as guest principal cellist of Sinfonia Gulf Coast and Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra. She received a B.M. degree from Ewha University with Ewha Honor Scholarship, an M.M. from the Eastman School of Music, and is now a doctoral candidate at Florida State University. Her teachers have included Gregory Sauer, Alan Harris, David Bjella, and Il-Whan Bae, and she has participated in master classes with Lynn Harrell, Fred Sherry, Mihai Tetel, Andres Diaz, Edward Aaron, and Thomas Landshoot.

A native of Seoul, Korea, Pianist JooHyun Lee earned a doctoral degree in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music at the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Jean Barr and solo piano with Nelita True as her minor field. Ms. Lee also received Masters degree at Eastman School of Music following her undergraduate degree studies in Piano Performance at Seoul National University.

She has enjoyed great success as a vocal accompanist, playing for major voice competitions in Korea, the United States, and Germany. Recent honors include the Barr Award in accompanying which is given to an outstanding collaborative pianist, the excellence in accompanying, second prize in the Jessie Kneisel Lieder competition, Eastman’s prestigious Brooks Smith Fellowship in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music, and the Barbara M.H Koeng Award given to an accompanist who has a passion for working with singers. In addition to these collaborations, Ms. Lee also enjoys partnering instrumentalists, and for two summers participated in The Quartet Program where she performed with violinist Charles Castleman and violist Allyson Dawkins. She is currently a staff pianist at Eastman School of music and Bowdoin International Music Festival.

Program Notes by Ed Lein, Music Librarian

The music of the transcendent German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) formed the culmination of the Classical style and the foundation of the Romantic. Along with J.S. Bach, Beethoven is arguably the best known Western classical composer, but over the past few decades works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) have become almost as recognizable, especially after the success of the 1984 movie of Peter Shaffer’s play, Amadeus. Himself a big fan of Mozart, Beethoven used the show-stopping Act 1 duet between Pamina and Papageno from Die Zauberflöte ("The Magic Flute") as the inspiration for Seven Variations on Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen, WoO 46. By 1801, the year Beethoven wrote these Variations, the 31-year-old composer had already suffered acute hearing loss, which he described in his letters. For the last decade of his life Beethoven was completely deaf, but he continued to produce revolutionary masterworks that still provide benchmarks other composers strive to attain.

By virtue of a scholarship from his hometown of Barcelona, a nine-year-old Gaspar Cassadó (1897-1966) was able to accept an invitation to study in Paris with the legendary Catalan cellist Pablo Casals, where, in addition to his cello lessons, Cassadó studied composition with both Manuel de Falla and Maurice Ravel. After World War I, Cassadó began a successful international career as both cellist and composer, including several concerts with Casals. During the1920s Cassadó settled permanently in Florence, Italy, and after World War II his reputation and career, not to mention his personal morale, suffered tremendously when his mentor unjustly accused him of sympathizing with Mussolini’s fascist regime, despite Cassadó’s continuing friendship and collaboration with perhaps the most vocal of Italy’s anti-fascist composers, Luigi Dallapicolla. The rift between teacher and protégé was finally reconciled during the mid 1950s through the efforts of a mutual friend, the British violinist Yehudi Menuhin, but Cassadó’s career never fully recovered. The 1926 Suite for Solo Cello remains one of Cassadó’s best known works. Its modal inflections and folk-dance rhythms attest to the composer’s Catalan heritage, and the rhapsodic first movement acknowledges other influences, with direct references to Zoltán Kodály’s Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8, and Ravel’s ballet, Daphnis et Chloe.

Joining Prokofiev and Khachaturian, Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) is one of few composers of the former Soviet Union to sustain a large following in the West, but his career was far from “smooth sailing.” During his lifetime his music was periodically banned by Stalinist authorities, and he suffered two official denouncements, in 1936 and 1948. However, because of his worldwide popularity the Soviets liked to use Shostakovich as propaganda, so their censures always proved temporary—but he still withheld his more personal works until after Stalin’s death in 1953. Shostakovich likewise has had detractors among many of the West’s avant-garde, centering around composer-turned-conductor Pierre Boulez. Although the influence of the self-styled “cutting edge” has since dulled, from the 1950s into the 1980s the group and its followers wielded their own brand of artistic totalitarianism, insisting that composers abandon familiar musical forms in favor of mathematical or electronic compositional procedures, and dismissing works by those who used tonal idioms to communicate directly with listeners. Ignoring the ideological tyranny on both fronts, performers and listeners have always embraced Shostakovich’s music, and he remains among the most frequently performed and recorded of 20th-Century composers. Shostakovich wrote is Sonata in D Minor for Cello and Piano, Op. 40, in 1934, before the 28-year-old composer experienced government interference, or, for that matter, artistic browbeating.

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, such as Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner--thus Chopin's importance in the development of the "Romantic" style in general can not be overestimated. The vast majority of Chopin’s music is for piano solo, and his few other works all feature the piano. Chopin’s four chamber music pieces likewise include parts for the solo cello, and the earliest of these is the Introduction and Polonaise brilliante, Op. 3, dating from 1829. Patterned after a stately Polish dance that has become closely identified with Chopin, the Polonaise brillante was originally written as a diversion for a piano-playing princess and her cello-playing father. It demonstrates that the 19-year-old composer had already found a compositional voice which was not merely an imitation of other composers—in this regard Chopin’s precociousness surpassed even Mozart’s. Chopin added the Introduction the following year for his own public performances of the showpiece.

Friday, October 2, 2009

12/08/2009 @ 6:15pm: Julian Toha, piano

Known for his passionate performances, poetic imagination, and technical command, American pianist Julian Toha has acquired a reputation as an exciting young artist of the 21st century.

Program Selections
  • FELIX MENDELSSOHN Fantasie in F# minor, Op. 28, “Scottish Sonata”: 1. Con moto agitato
  • J.S. BACH Prelude & Fugue No. 8 in D# Minor, BWV 877 (WTC, Book 2)
  • ALEXANDER SCRIABIN Fantaisie in B Minor, Op. 28
  • FRANZ SCHUBERT Sonata No. 14 in A Minor, D. 784
  • ALBERTO GINASTERA Suite de Danzas Criollas, Op. 15

    As a soloist and chamber musician Julian Toha ( has inspired audiences throughout the United States and abroad with his highly emotional and original interpretations. An engaging pianist who plays from the heart, his memorable concerts have received wide acclaim. When asked about his goal as an artist, Toha answered, "I just want the audience to fall in love."

    In January 2009, Toha was invited to perform Samuel Barber's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 38, with the Ars Flores Symphony Orchestra after winning first place in their 7th Annual Young Artist Concerto Competition. In February, he performed the same work with the Florida State University Philharmonia after winning the 2008 Young Artist Competition at the Florida State University College of Music. That same month he placed second and received the Max Kaplan Award in the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition. In March 2009, Toha entered the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra Instrumental Competition and was the only pianist selected to advance to the final round. In April, Toha was nominated and named the 2009 Presser Scholar. The foundation grants awards to musicians who show strong evidence of an emerging career, and this national honor comes with a title and scholarship. In May, Toha entered as one of the youngest competitors in the International Beethoven Piano Sonata Competition and advanced to the semifinal round.

    Following these successes Toha toured Europe in the summer, playing solo concerts in Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. Now Mr. Toha has embarked on a 2009-2010 domestic tour of over 30 cities in 10 states, with performances ranging from live in-studio radio broadcasts and artist series to concerts in museums and churches. Throughout the tour he will focus his efforts on stretching the imaginations of listeners. "Pretend to be a kid again; dream. Free your mind and listen with your heart." This is Julian's advice for audience members to enhance their musical experience.

    A recipient of several scholarships including from the Morning Musicale of Fort Lauderdale and the College of Music at Florida State University, Toha is finishing his bachelor's degree in Piano Performance, studying principally under Leonard Mastrogiacomo. Apart from music, Julian loves photography, exercising, poetry, cooking, and the visual arts.

    February 3rd of this year marked the bicentennial of the birth of Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor whose prodigious musical talents rivaled those of Mozart, and who, like Mozart, did not live to see his 40th birthday. Although the final manuscript of this Fantasie in F# minor was not published until 1834, the composer’s letters suggest that the work originated in 1828, around the same time that he wrote his “Scottish” Symphony and the Hebrides Overture. At the time of publication Mendelssohn himself suppressed his original title, Sonate ecossaise, but it nonetheless shares musical characteristics with his other Gaelic inspirations, so the nickname has sneaked its way back into use. Considered one of Mendelssohn’s finest works for the virtuoso pianist, its title and formal design suggest that it is perhaps patterned after Beethoven’s Sonata quasi una fantasia (“Moonlight Sonata”), with three movements each faster than the previous, even though Mendelssohn’s thematic material is nothing like Beethoven’s.

    Although he was dismissed by many of his contemporaries as being too old-fashioned, the great German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) ranks with Beethoven (who himself studied Bach’s music) as among the most influential composers of all time. The most-studied contrapuntal works ever written are contained within Bach’s two books that comprise his monumental Das wohltemperierte Clavier (The Well-tempered Clavier). Each book contains 24 pairs of Preludes and Fugues that traverse all the major and minor keys. Prelude and Fugue No. 8 from the 2nd book has been published both in D# minor and in its enharmonic equivalent, E-flat minor—giving the pianist a choice between either of two nearly impossible key signatures!

    In addition to numerous symphonies, chamber works, masses, and solo piano music, the Austrian composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828) composed over 600 songs in his short life, and has remained unsurpassed in his ability to marry poetry with music. Although his music was regularly performed in private concerts for Vienna’s musical elite and his genius was touted by no less than Beethoven, Schubert was never able to secure a publisher for the bulk of his masterworks so he depended on his devoted circle of friends for maintaining his finances. Schubert wrote this Piano Sonata in A minor in 1823. That same year he learned that he was suffering from syphilis, then an incurable disease, so the bleak fury that pervades some of the writing is not altogether surprising. Even so, he continued to compose works of genius that showcased his increasing originality, and after his death (probably from medicinal mercury poisoning) Schubert’s wish to be buried next to Beethoven was honored.

    Russian pianist, composer and mystic Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915) was a classmate of Rachmaninoff at the Moscow Conservatory. But unlike his famous friend who retained the stylistic traits of Russian Romanticism throughout his career, Scriabin developed a unique musical language that progressed beyond early lyrical musings directly inspired by Chopin and Liszt into a tonally nebulous sound-world that has lead some to call him the “progenitor of Serialism.” Scriabin’s Fantaisie, Op. 28, dating from 1900, is representative of his “middle period” in which he moves beyond his early models, retaining an opulent lyricism but within an ever-shifting chromatic harmonic framework, yet still with a sense of underlying tonality. Technically demanding, it remains a favorite of pianists, but apparently Scriabin himself didn’t find it too memorable, literally. The story goes that he once overheard a friend playing an interesting piece and asked what it was. The friend answered that it was Scriabin’s own Fantaisie, to which the composer responded with a perplexed, “What Fantaisie?”

    Regarded as one of the most important composers from South America, Argentina’s Alberto Ginastera (1910-1981) was the son of immigrants from Catalonia (his father) and Italy (his mother), and the composer retained the Catalan pronunciation of the family name (i.e., with the “G” pronounced like an English “j,” as in “genius”). Ginastera himself grouped his music into three stylistic periods: “Objective Nationalism” (1934-48), “Subjective Nationalism” (1948-58), and “Neo-expressionism” (1958-81). But even in his later works which use serialism and other avant-garde techniques he retained the driving rhythms inspired by the folk music of his homeland. Suite de Danzas Criollas, Op. 15 (“Suite of Creole Dances,” 1946), dating from his first stylistic period, straightforwardly adapts Argentine folk tunes. Interestingly, progressive rocker Keith Emerson performed music from the suite during Emerson, Lake and Palmer rock concerts.
  • 10/20/2009 @ 6:15pm: Abbas Abboud, piano

    Abbas Abboud
    Upon completing studies at the Baghdad School of Music and Ballet and the National Conservatory of Music in Amman, Jordan, Iraqi virtuoso Abbas Abboud attended France's Conservatoire National on scholarship, and was awarded their Gold Medal by unanimous vote of the Jury des Concours. Other awards include first prizes in both the Concours International de Piano and the Foundation Natexis Banque Populaire music competition. In addition to concertizing throughout France, Germany, Switzerland and Jordan, Mr. Abboud performed under contract with the Alsumaria Iraqi Satellite TV Network from June 2007 - May 2008.

  • Mozart : Piano Sonata No. 14 in C–minor, K. 457 -- Watch Abbas Abboud on YouTube!
  • Beethoven : Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 ("Appassionata"). 3. Allegro ma non troppo - Presto
  • Liszt : Funérailles -- Watch Abbas Abboud on YouTube!
  • Chopin : Scherzo No.1 in B minor, Op. 20 -- Watch Abbas Abboud on YouTube!
  • Chopin : Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 31

    Times Union Article about Mr. Abboud

    PROGRAM NOTES, by Ed Lein, Music Librarian

    Austria's Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), unquestionably one of the greatest composers in history, began his career touring Europe as a 6-year-old piano prodigy, and he absorbed and mastered all the contemporary musical trends he was exposed to along the way. He wrote more than 600 works, including 22 operas and over three dozen symphonies, plus numerous concertos, chamber works, piano pieces, and choral works. The Piano Sonata in C minor, K. 457 (1784) is generally regarded as Mozart's finest work in the genre, and it likely served as the inspiration for Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, "Pathétique". Mozart dedicated his three-movement Sonata to Thérèse von Trattner, a friend and piano student who later became godmother to four of the composer's six children.

    The music of the transcendent German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) formed the culmination of the Classical style and the foundation of the Romantic. By 1819 Beethoven was completely deaf, but he continued to produce revolutionary masterworks that still provide benchmarks other composers strive to attain. Beethoven began composing his Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 in 1803 and continued to work on it for several years, finally publishing it in 1807, but the tempestuous work did not receive its nickname until 1838, well after the composer's death. The final movement, in sonata-rondo form, has the feel of perpetual motion, and noted British musicologist Sir Donald Francis Tovey (1875-1940) observed that this is one of only a few sonatas by Beethoven that ends in tragedy rather than triumphing over it.

    Hungarian virtuoso Franz Liszt (1811-1886) is widely regarded as the greatest pianist of all time, and his performances excited an hysteria that today is reserved for only the most popular of rock stars. Despite great fame following a sometimes impoverished youth, Liszt remained unspoiled and donated great sums of his concert earnings to a wide variety of charitable causes, and in later life he even took orders in the church. His generosity extended to helping increase the fortunes of struggling musicians, among them Hector Berlioz and Liszt’s future son-in-law, Richard Wagner. An innovative composer, Liszt is credited with creating the symphonic tone poem as a form, developing the technique of thematic transformation, and he even anticipated some of the harmonic devices of Impressionist composers. The elegiac Funérailles ("Funeral", 1849) is the 7th in a cycle of ten piano pieces known collectively as Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses (Poetic and Religious Harmonies). It was written to commemorate the passing of three friends who recently had died trying to liberate Hungary from Habsburg rule.

    The Polish-born pianist Frédéric Chopin 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, such as Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner--thus Chopin's importance in the development of the "Romantic" style in general can not be overestimated. Among other achievements, Chopin was the first to "liberate" the scherzo form from its previously subsidiary role as an interior movement in symphonies and and other multi-movement works. With Chopin the scherzo becomes an independent piece that retains the lively tempo and 3/4 time of its precedents, but which often dispenses with the jocularity implied by the title ("scherzo" is the Italian word for "joke"), and which rather expansively elaborates on the traditional "ABA" formal design. Following the stormy turbulence of the opening "A" section of Scherzo No. 1, Op. 20, first published in 1835, the "B" middle section provides a tranquil respite with a setting of the Polish Christmas carol, Lulajze Jezuniu (Sleep Little Jesus). In Chopin's Scherzo No. 2, Op. 31, published two years later, the beginning and concluding "A" sections share characteristics of sonata-allegro design, but with an interruption by the episodic central "B" section thrown in.

    A capacity crowd applauds Mr. Abboud following his stupendous performance on October 20, 2009, the Library's best-attended concert ever! The concert marked Mr. Abboud's U.S. recital debut.