Concerto Repertoire for Two Pianos
Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969), Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra (1966)
Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981), Forte e piano, for two pianos and orchestra (1967)
Luciano Berio (1925-2003), Concerto for Two Pianos (1973)
Alfred Schnittke (1934-1988), Concerto for Piano Four Hands and Chamber Orchestra (1988)
Péter Eötvös (b. 1944), Konzert für zwei Klaviere (2007)
Philippe Manoury (b. 1952), Zones de turbulences, for two pianos and orchestra (2012)
Two-Piano Recital Offerings
“Composers that Lived through the World Wars”
World War I and World War II had an enormous impact on every aspect of life in the 20th century. European music from that period represents a wide spectrum of independent voices that in different ways expressed their inner struggle.
The first half of the recital focuses on the music for piano four hands written before and during the early years of World War I. Some composers had direct contact with what was happening: Paderewski was very active politically during WWI and became a Prime Minister in order to fight for his native Poland and its freedom; Ravel fought for his country and joined the Artillery Regiment as a lorry driver, supplying munitions at night under heavy German bombardment.
The second half of the program consists of compositions for two pianos written during and after World War II. The aftermath of the Second World War was especially turbulent in Eastern Europe, where recovery from the devastation of war took place under the thumb of the Communist regime. In a climate of extreme censorship, art was one of the few vehicles for critique and free expression.
This program is structured to allow the listener to hear the variety of musical styles and approaches during this period.
Works to be performed on the “Composers that Lived through the World Wars” program include:
Paderewski, Tatra Album, Op. 12, for piano 4-hands (1884)
Debussy, Petite Suite (1889)
Ravel, Ma Mère l’Oye (1910)
Friedman, 5 Waltzes, Op. 51, for piano 4-hands (1912)
Lutosławski, Variations on a Theme by Paganini (1941)
Khachaturian, Three Pieces for Two Pianos (1944)
Shostakovich, Concertino for Two Pianos, Op. 94 (1954)
Ligeti, Pieces for 2 Pianos: Monument, Selbstporträt & Bewegung (1976)
“Breaking Conventions: Stravinsky / Boulez”
The “Breaking Conventions” program features two masterpieces that changed the course of the music history. The recital opens with Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. In the context of the duo-piano literature – much of which consists of arrangements of symphonic works – it is easy to think of the Rite of Spring reduction as a stripped-bare version of the original orchestral work. But in fact, this is the original. It’s not a paint-by-numbers copy of the oil masterpiece; it’s the blueprint, the foundation on which the architecture was built. The piano’s homogeneity of color gives listeners an easier point of entry to the work’s complicated harmonies and polyrhythms, offering a glimpse into the mind of the composer as he crafted one of the most important works of the 20th century.
The second half of the program is a complete shift, like moving from a Francisco Goya canvas to contemplate one of Kandinsky’s paintings. Boulez’s Structures are the ultimate masterpieces in their use of the integral serialism (wherein many parameters of a piece’s construction are governed by serial principles, rather than only pitch). The composer himself wrote about the work that he wanted to “eradicate from my vocabulary absolutely every trace of the conventional, whether it concerned figures and phrases, or development and form; I then wanted gradually, element after element, to win back the various stages of the compositional process, in such a manner that a perfectly new synthesis might arise, a synthesis that would not be corrupted from the very outset by foreign bodies – stylistic reminiscences in particular.” Boulez’s revolutionary techniques to achieve unique sonorities results in an expressive, living work.
These two masterpieces are connected by their break with outmoded compositional models, and above all by their eschewing of Romanticism of any kind.
Works to be performed on the “Breaking Conventions” program include:
Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring (for two pianos)
Boulez, Structures I & II
- Piano Master Classes
Jenny Q Chai and Adam Kośmieja offer joint piano master classes in which they are able to work with soloists and/or piano duos on a wide range of repertoire interests.