Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, 3/13/2011 @ 2:30 p.m.

Duo Bonev–Birbochukov

Established in 2007 in Tallahassee, Florida, Duo Bonev-Birbochukov are Bulgarian virtuosi Boyan Bonev (cello) and Hristo Birbochukov (piano). Both artists hold Doctor of Music degrees from Florida State University, and both are graduates from the State Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria. Recognized as a leading cello-piano duo, their repertoire includes virtuoso showpieces and a wide variety of works from the Baroque to the present day.


Johann Sebastian Bach
Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord in D Major, BWV 1028
YouTube Recording (mvts. 1 & 2)
YouTube Recording (mvts. 3 & 4)

Franz Schubert
Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano in A Minor, D. 821
Allegro moderato--Adagio--Allegretto
YouTube Recording (mvt. 1)
YouTube Recording (mvt. 2)
YouTube Recording (mvt. 3)

Edward Lein
Sonatina [Finale: "Bygones"](2010, World Premiere Performance)
Score & Recordings

Frédéric Chopin
Sonata for Cello and Piano in G Minor, Op. 65
Allegro moderato--Scherzo (Allegro con brio)--Largo--Finale (Allegro)
YouTube Recording (mvt. 1)
YouTube Recording (mvt. 2)
YouTube Recording (mvt. 3)
YouTube Recording (mvt. 4)


Cellist Boyan Bonev has participated in numerous master classes and music festivals in the United States and Europe, including Florida Music Educators’ Association Conference, Varga Celebration, Seven Days of Opening Nights, March Music Days, and Varna Summer. An active performer of solo and chamber music, Dr. Bonev has taken part in concert and educational programs for the Bulgarian National Television and Radio, and is a prize winner of national and international competitions. He has been a featured soloist with the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra and the Stara Zagora Symphony Orchestra, and he has performed at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall. Dr. Bonev teaches cello and double bass at Darton College, serves as the orchestra director at Leon High School, and performs with the Tallahassee, Pensacola, Albany, Panama City and Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestras. As a Teaching Assistant he taught cello and chamber music at FSU, and he is on the faculty of the Florida State University Summer Music Camps. He also maintains a private studio.

Pianist Hristo Birbochukov has performed as guest soloist with numerous orchestras and has appeared in many solo and chamber music performances in Bulgaria and in the United States. He has participated in prestigious international music festivals and master classes, including the International Festival for Contemporary Piano Music “Pianissimo,” and the Las Vegas Music Festival. Dr. Birbochukov’s many awards and scholarships include the Phi Kappa Phi Artist of the Year Award (FSU Chapter, 2007), Edward Kilenyi Piano Scholarship (2007), Tallahassee Music Guild Scholarships (2005 and 2007), the Liberace Scholar Grant for Las Vegas Music Festival (2003), and he was the winner of the Young Artist Competition (2003) sponsored by the Monroe Symphony League and Monroe Symphony Orchestra, in Louisiana. He was a Teaching Assistant (Piano) at Florida State University, and is an inducted member of both Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society and the Seminole Torchbearers. Dr. Birbochukov’s television and radio appearances have included broadcasts in both Bulgaria and in the United States. In addition to concertizing, he maintains a private piano studio in Tallahassee, Florida.

PROGRAM NOTES, by Ed Lein, Music Librarian

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was dismissed by many of his contemporaries as being old-fashioned, but the works of this great German Baroque master probably have been studied more than those of any other composer, making him perhaps the most influential musician of all time. It seems likely that Bach wrote his three Sonatas for Viola da Gamba with Obbligato Harpsichord (BWV 1027-1029) around 1740, and probably for Carl Friedrich Abel, a virtuoso gamba player and the son of one of Bach’s colleagues during his time in Leipzig. But even early in Bach’s career viols were considered something of a throwback to an olden time, and the sonatas are most frequently performed with the modern cello. The 2nd Sonata in D Major, BWV 1028, retains the slow-fast-slow-fast outline made popular by the sonatas of Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), but Bach was one of the earliest composers to use the obbligato keyboard as an essentially equal partner with the solo string, rather than treating it as an accompanying harmonic “filler” instrument, as was typical in the continuo parts that prevailed through most of the Baroque period.

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. After his death (probably from medicinal mercury poisoning) Schubert’s wish to be buried next to Beethoven was honored. Schubert composed his Arpeggione Sonata in 1824, most likely at the request of the instrument’s inventor, the Viennese guitar maker Johann Georg Staufer (1778-1853), who had crafted the six-stringed, fretted instrument that was tuned like a guitar but bowed like a cello. The new-fangled, but rather delicate instrument had almost the range of a string quartet. But it never caught on, and by the time Schubert’s work was published posthumously in 1871, the arpeggione had long since fallen into obscurity. Schubert’s Sonata is the only significant work written specifically for the arpeggione, but his melodic masterpiece is best-known in transcriptions for cello or viola, although arrangements for other instruments are also heard.

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 Theory 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. But following performances of pieces by the Jacksonville Symphony, including Meditation for cello, oboe and orchestra (2006) and In the Bleak Midwinter (2007), his instrumental catalog has grown, largely due to requests from Symphony players for new pieces. The [Finale to the] Sonatina for Cello and Piano (2010) was written in response to such a request, specifically for a 5 (or-so) minute concert piece for a potential radio broadcast performance in Chicago. Though that performance never transpired, the composer is understandably thrilled that the distinguished Duo Bonev-Birbochukov wished to present the world premiere performance in Jacksonville!

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, but three of Chopin’s four chamber music pieces are for cello and piano, and the fourth is the Piano Trio, Op. 8, which also includes the cello. Chopin’s Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano, Op. 65, composed in 1846 and dedicated to the celebrated French cellist and composer Auguste Franchomme (1808-1884), was the last of Chopin's works published before he died. Chopin, already gravely weakened with tuberculosis, gave his final public concert in Paris on February 16th, 1848, and for it he was joined by Franchomme for a performance of the Sonata.