Discover the world of dreams in music uncovering the mysteries of the night, including Chopin’s Nocturnes and Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion.
John Harbison: Twilight Music
Frédéric Chopin: Nocturnes
Gabriela Lena Frank: Canto de Harawi: “Amadeoso”
Béla Bartók: Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion
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About the Music
John Harbison (b. 1938)
horn, violin, piano
Twilight Music was written directly after my first String Quartet: both pieces move toward an abstract and compact way of working, in reaction to the large orchestral works that precede them. The quartet shows obviously, being outwardly tense and without illusions. The present piece shelters abstract structure origins beneath a warmer exterior.
The horn and the violin have little in common. Any merging must be tromp-l’oreille and they share material mainly to show how differently they project it. In this piece the two meet casually at the beginning, and part rather formally at the end. In between they follow the piano into a Presto, which dissolves into the twilight half-tones that named the piece. The third section, an Antiphon, is the crux – the origin of the piece’s intervallic character. It is the kind of music I am drawn to, where the surface seems simplest and most familiar, where the piece seems to make no effort, but some purposeful, independent musical argument is at work.
The final section’s image of separation grows directly out of the nature of the instruments.
This piece was commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for performance by David Jolley, James Buswell, and Richard Goode. Such virtuosity as possessed by these artists allowed me to write with reckless subtlety for instruments which I heard meeting best under cover of dusk.
- John Harbison
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Canto de Harawi: “Amadeoso”
Gabriela Lena Frank (b. 1972)
composed 2005. first performance: 27 January 2006, Cullen Theater, Houston, Texas.
flute, clarinet, piano
As a child, I enjoyed an active dream life which I've sought in vain to reclaim as an adult. So frequent were my night excursions into fantasy that I grew accustomed to actually naming the ones that visited me on a recurring basis. "Amadeoso" was one of these. It grew out of the strong impression made upon me by the film "Amadeus" released in 1984, especially the story's many less-happy and humorous moments. Canto de Harawi: "Amadeoso" is a short tone poem that attempts to portray my childhood dream where I walk hand-in-hand with Mozart, passing through such unlikely scenes as my old backyard garden, a deserted playground, and an ominous cavern that frightened me during a family camping trip. The dream is peculiar in that there is coolness — even distance — intermingled with a sense of impending menace that I, with the naiveté that little children have, want to lead Mozart away from.
This short tone poem takes on the mood and two-part form of a song style native to my Peruvian heritage, that of the melancholy harawi, the quintessential music of the South American Andes. It is particularly distinctive for how the final part of the song sometimes finds its main melody stripped of most of its former accompaniment, starkly dissipating much as a dream might.
- Gabriela Lena Frank
Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion
Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
composed 1937. first performance: 16 January 1938, Basel, Switzerland. Béla Bartók and Ditta Pásztory-Bartók, piano; Fritz Schiesser and Philipp Rühlig, percussion.
2 pianos, 2 percussion