The
Concert Series

The Schroeder Umansky Duo

Viola/Cello

MET Orchestra Musicians​

Harp, Violin,

Viola, Cello

Michael Brown

Piano

Concert Streaming Premiere

Sunday, October 11, 8:15 PM ET

Program notes listed below

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Program

Fantasia (Capriccio) in C Major, Hob. XVII:4                                       Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

 

Hommage à Haydn                                                                                      Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

 

Menuet sur le nom d’Haydn                                                                            Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

 

Breakup Etude for the Right Hand Alone (World Premiere)                                            Michael Brown

     

 

Prelude and Nocturne for Left Hand Alone, Op. 9                                Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915)

 

Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 (“Pathétique”)                               Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

     Grave — Allegro di molto e con brio

     Adagio cantabile

     Rondo: Allegro

Program Notes

(by Michael Brown, 2020)

Joseph Haydn (1732–1809)

Fantasia in C Major, Hob. XVII:4, Capriccio (1789)

 

Haydn’s humorous Fantasia in C Major “Capriccio" is based on the Austrian folk song Do Bäuren hat d'Katz valor'n, "The farmer's wife has lost her cat." Haydn wrote his publisher that, "in a moment of great good humour I have completed a new Capriccio for fortepiano, whose taste, singularity and special construction cannot fail to receive approval from connoisseurs and amateurs alike. In a single movement, rather long, but not particularly difficult.” 

 

Claude Debussy Hommage à Haydn (1909) 

Maurice Ravel: Menuet sur le nom d’Haydn (1909)

 

Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy were commissioned in 1909 (along with four others) to write short homages to commemorate the centenary of Haydn’s death. Debussy and Ravel spell out H-A-Y-D-N with musical pitches B-A-D-D-G and embed those notes throughout these inventive and supple miniatures.

 

Michael Brown: Breakup Etude for the Right Hand Alone (2020), world premiere

A minor finger injury in the summer of 2020 temporarily caused my two hands to “breakup” from each other. In looking around for repertoire to play, I discovered that there was very little written for the right hand alone—left-hand pieces are far more common. Therefore, I decided to write myself a virtuosic vehicle I can manage for my one available hand. The work features five fingers scampering up and down the keyboard incessantly, with lyrical and poignant music interspersed throughout. Breakup Etude for the Right Hand Alone is dedicated to myself and reflects my inner feelings, from loss and nostalgia to personal growth and discovery.

 

Alexander Scriabin: Prelude and Nocturne for Left Hand Alone, Op. 9 (1894)

Leo Tolstoy said of Scriabin's music that it was "a sincere expression of genius.” In addition to his innovative compositions, Scriabin was a great pianist who suffered a right hand injury at the age of 20 due to over-practice. The Prelude and Nocturne for Left Hand Alone are a response to his physical suffering and clearly display Chopin’s profound influence on his music. Given my own temporary injury, I have reconfigured these works to play with the right hand alone.

 

Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata no. 8 in C minor, op. 13 (“Pathétique”) (1798)

 

Celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birth year in 2020, the program concludes with the master’s iconic Pathétique Sonata. The work was composed in 1798 and published with the title Grande Sonate Pathétique. Certain sources say that Beethoven himself added the subtitle Pathétique, while others imply it was the work of his publisher. Whatever the case may be, the work was an instant success and is an example of his fascination with the dramatic possibilities of the key of C Minor. Other notable works in the same key include the Fifth Symphony and the Third Piano Concerto. Musicologist George Grove wrote, “the key of C minor occupies a peculiar position in Beethoven's compositions. The pieces for which he has employed it are, with very few exceptions, remarkable for their beauty and importance.” 

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