Historical Piano Recital Series Vol. 3
HISTORICAL PIANO RECITAL SERIES, VOL. III Steven Spooner--PIANIST 1. Schumann, Romanze in F# Major, Op. 28 no. 2 2. Schubert/Liszt, Aufenthalt 3. Schubert/Liszt, Ständchen, from Schwanengesang 4. Liszt, Hungarian Rhapsody no. 13 in A Minor 5. Chopin, Mazurka in C# Minor, Op. 6 no. 2 6. Chopin, Mazurka in F Minor, Op. 7 no. 3 7. Chopin, Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 17 no. 4 8. Chopin, Polonaise-Fantasie in A-Flat Major, Op. 61 9. Spooner, Etude Keith Jarrett 10. Spooner, Etude-Toccata a la Argerich 11. Bolcom, Serpent's Kiss from Garden of Eden (1970) Liner Notes-- In 1885 legendary pianist Anton Rubinstein inaugurated a series of celebrated solo piano recitals entitled 'Historical Recitals'. In these monstrously outsized concerts (some, up to three hours in length) Rubinstein established the boundaries of the standard piano repertoire and cemented his dominance as one of the greatest living pianists since Liszt. From October 2003 through roughly October 2006 I made it a goal to recreate (in my own way) the series of historical recitals of the great Anton Rubinstein. This series of recitals was also a way of paying homage to my more contemporary heroes such as Artur Rubinstein and Sviatoslav Richter who both performed 'series' of concerts displaying the many facets of their gifts in a variety of repertoire and with great stylistic breadth. Ultimately, I performed some 16 different recital programs but falling short of my intended goal of 18 recitals. Most of these recitals were devoted to works of a single composer and I must confess it was my most fulfilling time at the instrument. Unlike Anton Rubinstein, I was not seeking to set a definitive stamp on the repertoire. Instead, it amounted to an act of tremendous love of music and the art of the piano combined with a sense of masochistic self-improvement. With each recital I attempted to enter the composer's world with hours of listening to their chamber, vocal, orchestral music (if applicable) and reading as much as I could about their lives, loves, and legacies. I wanted to forget what I sought to achieve in this music--forget how this piece might make me sound and yield myself not only to the work but the composer's aesthetic. It is this quality I so appreciate in Richter's playing. Like Richter, one of my goals was to sound like a different pianist in different repertoire with differing touches, freedoms, and aesthetic values. The music on this CD represents the programs I played but in certain cases the performances are taken from earlier attempts that happen to be recorded with more fidelity or that just happen to be better. As you can hear, with a few exceptions, the majority of the disc is recorded live and with a live performance there are bound to be noises etc. Which can compromise the listening experience. I ask that the listener of this disc be sympathetic to the fact that none of these tracks were initially professionally engineered and I was often at the mercy of a whole host of inferior pianos, noisy audiences, worn-out tapes, indifferent mic placements, etc. The Schumann Romanze in F# Major, Op. 28 no. 2 was once a very popular piece among artists of the 'golden age' but I am perplexed as to why this intensely lyrical work has somehow been forgotten by today's pianists. The contrasting Schubert/Liszt song transcriptions show Liszt at his most inventive-from the brooding setting of Aufenthalt to the ingenious Ständchen (a piece Liszt performed often and arranged in several different ways) that Liszt transforms from a simple strophic song to a love duet culminating in a magic three-hand miracle. The Hungarian Rhapsodie no. 13, unlike many others, is not based only on Gypsy and/or Hungarian tunes but features Jewish themes in the extended Lassan opening. The Chopin selections represent my favorite works of the Polish genius--the ever-fascinating Mazurkas depict the drones of Polish Folk Music (Op. 6 no. 2 and Op. 7 no. 3) as well as a startlingly original and chromatic harmonic language (Op. 17 no. 4) and his crowning achievement in a large form and an interpreter's challenging lyrical test, the great Polonaise-Fantasie, Op. 61. My own Etudes are a work in progress. My goal in writing them is simply to attempt to capture the sound, touch, and gestures of another pianist. The first Etude for Keith Jarrett requires the performer to freely improvise an introduction and eventually incorporate the tune My Funny Valentine into the piece. Like Keith Jarrett, every single performance must be a new experience and never repeat any patterns or worked out passages. A performance may vary from 3 to 20 minutes. The Etude-Toccata grew out of my love for Martha Argerich and her scintillating passage-work and incomparable repeated notes. I wanted to create a work that would capture Argerich's intensity, abandon, Latin roots, and make a nod to pieces for which she was famous, particularly the Scarlatti Toccata (K. 141), Gaspard de la Nuit of Ravel, and the Prokofiev Toccata op. 11. The last track is the Bolcom crowd-pleaser, the Serpent's Kiss from his suite Garden of Eden. In it Bolcom tells the story of Adam and Eve's seduction by the serpent in a ragtime idiom and it incorporates foot stomps, stop time, (the pianist is required to tap the instrument and click their tongue) and a thrilling passacaglia-like coda with whistling and even more stomping! PROGRAMS OF THE HISTORIC RECITAL SERIES FREDERIC CHOPIN, I Waltz in E-Flat Major, op. 18 Nocturne in E-Flat Major, op. 9 no. 2 Waltz in A-Flat Major, op. 69 no. 1 Etude in A-Flat Major, op. 25 no. 1 Etude in F Minor, op. 25 no. 2 Etude in C Major, op. 10 no. 1 Etude in C Minor, op. 10 no. 12 Etude in C Minor, op. 25 no. 12 Four Mazurkas op. 24 Scherzo in B-Flat Minor, op. 31 DOMENICO SCARLATTI SONATAS FOR KEYBOARD Sonata in A Major, K. 208 Sonata in A Major, K. 209 Sonata in G Major, K. 455 Sonata in E-Flat Major, K. 474 Sonata in A Major, K. 342 Sonata in A Minor, K. 149 Sonata in F Minor, K. 184 Sonata in F Minor, K. 239 Sonata in D Minor, K. 213 Sonata in D Minor, K. 141 Sonata in C Major, K. 132 Sonata in C Minor, K. 84 Sonata in C Major, K. 515 FRANZ LISZT, I from Transcendental Etudes no. 1, Preludio no. 3, Paysage no. 4, Mazeppa no. 11, Harmonies du Soir no. 8, Wilde Jagd Sonata in B Minor FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN Sonata in D Major, Hob. XVI/19 Sonata in C Major, Hob. XVI/48 Sonata in E-Flat Major, Hob. XVI/49 FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN, II Sonata in A-Flat Major, Hob. XVI/46 Sonata in G Major, Hob. XVI/40 Sonata in B Minor, Hob. XVI/32 JOHANNES BRAHMS Two Rhapsodies, op. 79 Capriccio in G Minor, op. 116 no. 3 Intermezzo in E Major, op. 116 no. 4 Capriccio in D Minor, op. 116 no. 7 Intermezzo in E-Flat Minor, op. 118 no. 6 Variations on a Theme of Handel, op. 24 WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Fantasie in D Minor, K. 397 Sonata in E-Flat Major, K. 282 Variations from Sonata in A Major, K. 331 Sonata in C Major, K. 330 RUSSIANS Alexander Scriabin Preludes, op. 11 no. 14 no. 15 no. 17 no. 21 Preludes, op 16 no. 1 no. 3 Etude in D-Sharp Minor, op. 8 no. 12 Sergei Rachmaninov Etude-Tableaux op. 33 no. 1 no. 6 Etude-Tableaux op. 39 no. 9 Sergei Prokofiev Sonata no. 6 in A Major, op. 82 HUNGARIANS Franz Schubert Hungarian Melody Bela Bartok Bulesque no. 1 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs Strauss/Dohnanyi Paraphrase of Schatzwalzer Gyorgy Ligeti Two Pieces from Musica Ricercata Franz Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody no. 13 LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN, I Sonata in F Minor, op. 2 no. 1 Sonata in C Minor, op. 10 no. 1 Sonata in E-Flat Major, op. 7 LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN, II Sonata in A-Flat Major, op. 26 Sonata in E-Flat Major, op. 27 no. 1 Sonata in D Minor, op. 31 no. 2 LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN, III Sonata in E-Flat Major, op. 81a Sonata in A-Flat Major, op. 110 Sonata in F Minor, op. 57 CLAUDE DEBUSSY Suite Bergamasque Etudes, Book I III. Pour les quartes IV. Pour les octaves Etudes, Book II Pour les arpéges composés Preludes, Book I FRANZ SCHUBERT Sonata in A Minor, D. 537 German Dances D. 783 Sonata in B-Flat Major, D. 960 FRANZ LISZT, II Schubert/Liszt, Seven Song Transcriptions Wagner/Liszt, Rienzi Paraphrase Chopin/Liszt, Six Chants Polonaises Bellini/Liszt, Reminiscences de Norma PIANO MUSIC OF THE 20TH CENTURY Bartok-Six Romanian Folk Dances Mompou--Paisajes Shchedrin--Humoresque, A la Albeniz Ligeti--Two Etudes Bolcom--The Garden of Eden (1970) Spooner--Etude-Toccata (1991) ROBERT SCHUMANN Arabeske in C Major, op. 18 Papillons op. 2 Romances, op. 28 Humoreske, op. 20 FREDERIC CHOPIN, II Nocturne in C Minor, op. 48 no. 1 Etude in E Minor, op. 25 no. 5 Etude in G-Sharp Minor, op. 25 no. 6 Etude in C-Sharp Minor, op. 25 no. 7 Etude in D-Flat Major, op. 25 no. 8 Etude in B Minor, op. 25 no. 10 Etude in A Minor, op. 25 no. 11 Scherzo in C-Sharp Minor, op. 39 Nocturne in B Major, op. 62 no. 1 Polonaise in A-Flat Major, op. 53.