Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, 2/13/2011 @ 2:30 p.m.


Due to a sudden illness the pianist is unable to travel and perform in Jacksonville this weekend. We regret any inconvenience this cancellation my cause, and wish the pianist a speedy recovery.

Rosa Villar Córdova, piano

Johannes Brahms (1833 - 1897)
Klavierstücke, Op.118

--No. 1. Intermezzo in A minor (Allegro non assai, ma molto appassionato)
--No. 2. Intermezzo in A major (Andante teneramente)
--No. 3. Ballade in G minor (Allegro energico)

Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828)
Sonata in A Minor D. 784

    Allegro giusto -- Andante -- Allegro vivace

Johannes Brahms (1833 - 1897)
Sonata in C Major Op. 1

    Allegro -- Andante -- Scherzo (Allegro molto e con fuoco) -- Finale (Allegro con fuoco)

Since her debut with the National Orchestra of Peru at the age of twelve, Rosa Villar Córdova has performed in concert halls across the Americas and Europe as recitalist, orchestral soloist, and chamber musician. The Peruvian-Spanish pianist has won many awards in the United States, including prizes in the Bradshaw & Buono International Competition, National Society of Arts and Letters (Florida Chapter), the Central Florida Symphony Concerto Competition, the NYU Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, and Tutte le Corde (Music after 1950). Additionally, in her Peruvian homeland she garnered first prize in the National Concerto Competition, and received the Southern Perú Corporation Music Award in recognition of her accomplishments.

Rosa Villar Córdova has appeared in master classes given by such world-renowned artists as Vladimir Feldsman, Mischa Dichter, John Perry, Arthur Pizarro, Glenn Dicterow, Daniel Epstein, Ursula Oppens, Donald Berman, Seymour Bernstein, Joaquin Achucarro, Mark Durand, Julian Martin, Robert McDonald, Ann Schein, and Isaac Stern. She has been awarded scholarships to participate in noted music festivals, including Marguess International Music Festival in Switzerland, the Gijón Festival in Spain, the International Institute for Young Musicians in Kansas City, the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, and the International Keyboard Institute and Festival at Mannes School in New York.

Elena Ichikawa at the National Conservatory of Music in Peru was Rosa’s first piano teacher in her home city of Lima. Since moving to the U.S., her teachers have included Susan Starr, Kemal Gekic, and Nina Svetlanova. She also spent two years in Italy studying with the French pianist Marylene Mouquet and the Italian pianist Sergio Perticaroli, and while there was awarded a music grant by the province of Rome. Upon returning to New York, she received scholarships from the Marion and Eubie Blake scholarship award, and the Steinhardt department at NYU to study with Miyoko Lotto. She attended the Manhattan School of Music and New York University for her Master's degree, and recently was awarded a scholarship to study with Dr. Jonathan Bass at the Boston Conservatory.

Last year Rosa married award-winning pianist Marion Scott, and the pair now perform as a duo throughout the United States and abroad. This recital marks her Jacksonville debut.

At a time when it was fashionable to write programmatic music that illustrated specific scenes, poems or stories, the great German composer Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was recognized by his admirers as “Beethoven’s true heir” (Grove Concise Dictionary of Music) by demonstrating that established abstract formal procedures could still be used to organize musical discourse without sacrificing the passion and deeply individualistic expression that defines music of the Romantic period.

The last music Brahms composed for solo piano are the four sets, Opp. 116-119, which together are comprised of 20 pieces written between 1892-1893. Although Op. 118’s six Kalvierstücke (“Piano Pieces”) are often performed as a group, Brahms organized them so that Nos. 1-3 form a self-contained unit, as likewise do Nos. 4-6, and so each group of three is frequently performed as a separate set. The A-minor Intermezzo, Op. 118, No. 1 (in binary form), has an introductory quality and is seldom performed on its own, but perhaps better serves as a prelude to the “tender” A-major Intermezzo, Op. 118, No. 2 (itself a three-part song form), one of Brahms’ best-loved piano pieces. The “energetic” Ballade, Op. 118, No. 3 (also a three-part song form), has an heroic quality characteristic of many finale movements.

PDF score of Brahms Klavierstücke, op. 118

Op. 118, No. 1. Intermezzo in A minor on YouTube &
Op. 118, No. 2. Intermezzo in A major on YouTube

Op. 118, No. 3. Ballade in G minor on YouTube

The opening measures of Brahms’ Piano Sonata No. 1 in C Major, Op. 1 (1853), pay obvious homage to Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata, and upon hearing Brahms, the famous composer and influential music critic Robert Schumann (1810-1856) became the first to publicly hail the young and unknown composer as Beethoven’s heir apparent. Brahms was himself a virtuoso pianist, so it is not surprising that his earliest works are for his own instrument. But despite its being published as the composer’s “Opus 1,” the C-major Sonata was not Brahms’ actual “first work”—it was written after both the Scherzo, Op. 4 (1851), and the Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 2 (1853). Since it was Schumann who recommended Brahms to the music publisher Breitkopf und Härtel, it was perhaps also Schumann who first suggested that the “stronger” C-major Sonata be published first, to better introduce Brahms to the public with a work that would readily bring Beethoven to mind. Like Beethoven, Brahms was a master of the variation form which he demonstrates in his 2nd movement Andante, using as the theme the old German song, Verstohlen geht der Mond auf (The Moon Steals Out). And, also like Beethoven, Brahms inserts a Scherzo movement before the rondo Finale, which in turn uses a principal theme derived from the Sonata’s first movement.

PDF score of Brahms: Piano Sonata No. 1, Op.1

Brahms Sonata, Op. 1, 1st movement on YouTube
Brahms Sonata, Op. 1, 2nd movement on YouTube
Brahms Sonata, Op. 1, 3rd movement on YouTube
Brahms Sonata, Op. 1, 4th movement on YouTube

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 he has remained unsurpassed in his ability to marry poetry with music. His music was regularly performed in private concerts for Vienna’s musical elite and his genius was touted by no less than Beethoven (although the two masters apparently never met), but 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.

PDF score of Schubert: Piano Sonata in A Minor, D. 784 (Op.posth.143)

ROSA VILLAR CORDOVA PLAYS Schubert Sonata, D. 784, 1st movement on YouTube
Schubert Sonata, D. 784, 2nd movement on YouTube
Schubert Sonata, D. 784, 3rd movement on YouTube