Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, 5/8/2011 @ 2:30 p.m.

Marion Wilkinson Scott & Rosa Villar Scott

Music for Piano Solo & Piano 4-Hands

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
    Fantasiestücke, Op.12 (1837)
1. Des Abends (In the Evening)
2. Aufschwung (Soaring Upward)
3. Warum? (Why?)
4. Grillen (Whims)
5. In der Nacht (In the night)
6. Fabel
7. Traumeswirren (Troubled Dreams)
8. Ende vom Lied (End of the Song)
        Marion Wilkinson Scott

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
    Piano Sonata No. 1 in C Major, Op. 1
        Rosa Villar Scott

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
    Fantasia in F Minor for Piano Duo, D.940
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
    Hungarian Dances, Nos. 1-2
    Waltzes, Op. 39, Nos. 1-5
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
    3 Slavonic Dances, from Op. 46
        Marion and Rosa Scott

Jacksonville native Marion Wilkinson Scott made his debut at the age of 14 under the baton of Roger Nuremberg. Since that time, Mr. Scott has established himself as a leader among a new generation of young pianists. In 2006 his musicality and technical prowess earned first prize at the Thousand Islands International Piano Competition and second prize at the Zimmerli Foundation International Piano Competition. Most recently, Mr. Scott was named the winner of the 2010 International Piano Competition hosted by the Steinway Society of Massachusetts.

In addition to solo performance, Mr. Scott is an enthusiast for chamber music playing. As a member of the Trio d’Exuberance, he has also performed in noted concert halls such as Carnegie Hall, Kilbourn Hall and Crouse Hall.

As an advocate for music outreach programs, Mr. Scott has given numerous solo and chamber music concerts in community venues such as libraries, elementary schools and nursing homes. As an educator, Mr. Scott has served as a teaching fellow for the Piano Minors program at the Juilliard School and as a teaching assistant for theory classes at the Juilliard School and the Brevard Music Center. He has also received such prestigious scholarships as the Irene Diamond Scholarship (The Juilliard School) and the Howard Hanson Scholarship (The Eastman School of Music).

Mr. Scott holds a Masters Degree from the Juilliard School and a Bachelors Degree from the Eastman School of Music. His primary teachers at these schools include noted pedagogues Martin Canin (The Juilliard School) and Douglas Humpherys (The Eastman School of Music). Currently, Mr. Scott is a Doctoral Candidate at the Frost School of Music under the instruction of the concert pianist Tian Ying. Mr. Scott is married to the brilliant and beautiful pianist Rosa Villar. Together, they enjoy performing duo concerts and making wonderful music.

Since her debut with the National Orchestra of Peru at the age of twelve, Rosa Villar Scott 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 Scott 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.

The hopes of German Romantic composer Robert Schumann (1810-1856) to become a concert pianist were dashed in his early twenties when he permanently damaged his hand, so he redirected his energies to both composing and music criticism, and excelled in both pursuits. Schumann identified two separate (but complimentary) aspects of his personality that directed his composing, and went so far as to name them: “Eusebius” was the name for his lyrical, reflective self; and “Florestan” was his passionate side. In Schumann’s eight Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, he credits Eusebius with the 1st and 3rd pieces, and Florestan with the 2nd and 4th, with the remaining pieces bringing the two together (but with Eusebius having the final say). Composed in 1837, the Fantasiestücke were dedicated to Scottish pianist Anna Robena Laidlaw (1819–1901), but the real inspiration was the celebrated pianist Clara Wieck (1819-1896), who became Mrs. Robert Schumann in 1840. When Schumann wrote the Fantasiestücke the proposed union was by no means a certainty—Friedrich Wieck, the father of the teenaged Clara (and Robert’s former piano teacher), refused his consent, so the matter was tied up in the courts. Robert described the concluding End of the Song movement as combining wedding bells with funeral knells, which was, as he explained in a letter to Clara, the result of his anxiety over their as yet undetermined fate.

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 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.

For the most part, Brahms arranged his 21 Hungarian Dances from existing tunes (only nos. 11, 14 and 16 are not adaptations), so he didn’t assign an opus number to them—but they still out-sold any of his other works!

Brahms originally wrote his 16 short Waltzes, Op. 39, in 1865 for piano 4-hands, and by the time they were published in 1867, he also had prepared two different solo piano versions (one easy, the other harder). Brahms wasn’t expecting much of a reaction from the public—after all, he was competing with the “Waltz King” Strausses—so he was pleasantly surprised by the successes he had with all three versions.

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. His music was performed regularly 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). Still, 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’s Fantasie in F Minor, D. 940, was written during the last year of his life, and it is widely regarded as among his finest works. Similar in structure to Schubert’s famous Wanderer Fantasy for piano solo, the four movements of the 4-handed work are connected, with no breaks between the movements. This formal device is said to have had particular influence on the compositions of Franz Liszt (1811-1886), and in the development of the tone poem as a “new” musical form.

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) is an immensely popular Czech composer who fused melodic and rhythmic elements of Bohemian folk music with classical symphonic forms. Brahms was an early supporter of, and mentor to Dvořák, and in 1878 he was instrumental in getting the younger composer his first publishing deal, for the Moravian Duets for voices with piano. With the success of the of Duets, the publisher (Franz Simrock) requested a lively dance piece to follow-up, which resulted in the 4-handed piano Slavonic Dances, Op. 46. Although Dvořák took the Brahms Hungarian Dances as a model, Dvořák, unlike Brahms, composed original tunes for all eight dances of his Opus 46. The work so impressed Simrock that he immediately asked for orchestral arrangements, and both versions rather suddenly brought the virtually unknown composer to international prominence. Among the many successes that followed, Dvořák 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.

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