Programme 1: Operatic transcriptions

Tchaikovsky/Pabst: Eugen Onegin
Wagner/Liszt: Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde
Strauss/Grainger: Ramble on Love from Rosenkavalier
Mozart/Liszt: Paraphrase on Don Juan

These are 4 transcriptions from major operas that all have romantic love as a central theme, though it could not be treated more differently. Tchaikovsky is straightforwardly romantic. Wagner’s Liebestod is the place where love and death unite. Strauss talks about the nostalgia of an ageing woman who knows when and how to make a graceful exit. Mozart Don Juan is about the power of seduction raised to an archetypal level.

Programme 2: Spanish music

Granados: La Maja y el Ruiseñor, El amor y la Muerte, from Goyescas
Albeniz: Iberia, any one of the 4 books

Iberia and Goyescas are the two defining masterpieces that did put Spain back on the map musically. Drawing on the inheritance from Chopin and Liszt, Albeniz and Granados invented a new way of writing for the piano, and wrote a music that is both anchored in Spanish traditional music, and revolutionary.

Programme 3: Schubert

Schubert: Sonata in G major, D894

This is one of the most original and successful sonatas written by Schubert, and one of his most important works altogether.

Programme 4: French music

Fauré: 2nd Nocturne
Debussy: La Terrasse des Audiences du Clair de Lune
Roger Ducasse: Sonorités et Rythmes
Ravel Gaspard de la Nuit

This is a panorama of French music at the turn of the 20th century, with an overriding night theme.

The Fauré Nocturne is an absolute masterpiece. The Debussy Etude echoes the work of Roger Ducasse in its interest in sound as an acoustic phenomenon.

Ravel’s Gaspard needs no introduction as it is one of the defining masterpieces of the piano literature.

Programme 5: Song transcriptions

Bach/Hemmerlé: Aus Liebe, from Matthew Passion.
Bach/Rummel: Cantata Arias (2 or 3)
Liszt: Schubert: Die Forelle, Ave Maria
Liszt: Sonnet Petrarque 104
Rachmaninoff: Lilacs
Tchaikovsky/Pabst: Lullaby
Tchaikovsky/Cherkassky: None but the Lonely Heart
Balakirev/Glinka: The Lark

This 40 minutes programme is a pendant to the operatic programme, of which it can be a first half, although it can stand independently. It focuses on song transcriptions, starting with sacred music, moving on to lieder and songs, some of them arranged by a third party, some by the composers themselves. Liszt was a famous arranger, and it is interesting to see his take on 2 of the most famous Schubert lieder.

Programme 6: Sonata as tragedy

Beethoven: Tempest or Pathetique Sonata
Chopin; 2nd Sonata
Janacek: Sonata 1905
Prokofiev: 6th Sonata

This programme puts into perspective Sonatas that are expressions of tragedy, personal in the first half, and collective in the second. These works also share in quite a lot of thematic material, which is revealed by putting them in perspective.

This programme is a full evening programme in two halves.

Programme 7: Baroque Suite

Bach: 5th French Suite
Maurice Emmanuel: Sonatine 5 “Suite Française”
Kapustin: Suite in the Old Style

This put into perspective three dance suites that are as far apart in the language they use as they are close in spirit.

Bach’s French Suite is one of his most successful works in the genre, a work full of earthy delights.

Maurice Emmanuel extensive use of modal scales gives an unusual flavour to a music that is bursting with life and vitality.

Kapustin’s idiom is rooted in the jazz of Oscar Peterson. It is rather delightful to hear this sound world in conjunction with old baroque dance forms, in a sort of ‘fusion’ style that is as quirky as it is attractive.