Monday, May 12, 2014

Piano double

Two pianists perform works by Bach, Mozart, Ravel, Schubert and Beethoven

Sunday, 1st June, 5 pm - both performances

Maria Satomi Shoji
JS Bach, Italian Concerto
Mozart, Sonata K282
Beethoven, Sonata Opus 110


Suvida Neramit-aram
Bach, Partita no. 2
Ravel, Une barque sur l'océan, from Mirroirs
Schubert, Wanderer Fantasy

Maria Satomi Shoji is a Japanese pianist. She studied in Japan and Austria and now lives in Vienna. She performs regularly and gives master classes in both Japan and Austria. She will play three great works: 

Bach's Italian Concerto was published in 1735. It was an instant success and has remained one of the composer's greatest hits. 

Mozart's Sonata K282 is an early work, written in 1775 when the composer was 19. It is the fourth of a series known as the Munich sonatas, or the 'difficult sonatas' and is the only of Mozart's sonatas to begin with a slow movement. It is a delightful work and will be a joy to hear.

Beethoven's piano sonata opus 110 is the most substantial work on the program. It is the penultimate of Beethoven's 32 sonatas, completed in 1821. It is written in three or four movements, depending on who is analysing it. The first movement is gentle and mellifluous. The scherzo is playfully centered on two lumbering folk songs, "Our cat had kittens" and "I'm a slob and you're a slob", perhaps taking a leaf from the Quodlibet in Bach's Goldberg Variations, which elevated drinking songs to the high art of polyphony.

The sonata proceeds in a medley of slow movement and fugue. The slow movement is in the nature of a recitative - a continuous line of melody. It is pensive, brooding and mysterious. The fugue creeps out from the slow movement and takes the form of a dance, building in a slow, restrained crescendo. The slow movement returns for a few plaintive, contemplative breaths before creeping back to the fugue, this time inverted, in emulation of Bach's fugues and culminating in a robust, tumultuous, crescendo. This sonata is one of Beethoven's most sublime works. It shows the mettle of any serious pianist.

The second performer on this program is a very talented Thai pianist, Suvida Neramit-aram. She will graduate this month with a masters degree from San Francisco Conservatory and has been accepted for a doctoral degree, with scholarship, at the Butler School of Music, University of Texas at Austin.

She is a very fine Bach performer, having a very clean and even performance style. She will play three excellent works:

The Second Partita of Bach. Johann Forkel, one of Bach's most famous biographers, wrote about the Partitas:

“This work made in its time a great noise in the musical world. Such excellent compositions for the clavier had never been seen and heard before. Anyone who had learnt to perform well some pieces out of them could make his fortune in the world thereby; and even in our times, a young artist might gain acknowledgment by doing so, they are so brilliant, well-sounding, expressive, and always new.”

Une barque sur l'océan from Ravel's Mirroirs. This piece recounts a small boat as it sails upon the waves of the ocean. Arpeggiated sections and sweeping melodies imitate the flow of ocean currents. Audience members might recall Stefan Cassar gave a wonderful performance of this piece in his recital at Eelswamp in November, last year.

Franz Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy. "The devil may play it," said Schubert of his most technically demanding keyboard work. It was beyond his own ability to play. The Fantasy was composed in 1822, a year after Beethoven's Sonata opus 110 (see above). It is a titanic work, technically challenging for the performer both in texture and structure. There are four movements. But all four are based on the same theme taken from the composer's song, The Wanderer. There are no clear breaks between movements which gives the work a sense of unity. Like the great opus 110 of Beethoven, the Wanderer culminates in a fugue, in this case grand and triumphal - no doubt an inspiration to Liszt who transcribed the work for orchestra and whose own Sonata in B minor reaches a similar apotheosis.
This is a very testing work and I'm confident that Suvida will give us a compelling performance.

Reservations: 1,000 baht per person for either one or both of these performances. (Come to both performances if you can, the price is the same.)

Email or call 038 069681 office hours. Due to limited number of places payment must be received before the day.

a member of 

official media sponsor