Violist Jeongeun Park is set to make her debut at Carnegie Hall on December 17th, 2018 at 8pm. (Tickets are available through Carnegie Hall’s website.)
A monumental moment in Park’s career, she wanted to share her program notes about the four works she will be performing.
Poetically conceived by Park around themes of romance and fantasy, this program moves from dreamy beginnings to a serious and somber conclusion, with Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata, composed right before the composer’s death.
Carl Reinecke (1824-1910),
3 Fantasiestücke for Viola and Piano, Op. 43
As a pianist, violinist, composer, conductor and teacher, the German composer Carl Reinecke (1824-1910) was one of the most versatile musicians of his time. He was born in Altona, then under Danish rule and initially trained under his father (Rudolf Reinecke, 1759-1883). The younger Reinecke began composing at the age of seven, and debuted as a pianist at the age of twelve. He underwent a remarkable musical education, studying with the likes of Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann. Reinecke’s early works were faithful to the early masters of the Romantic era who trained him while in Leipzig. 3 Fantasiestücke for Viola and Piano, Op. 43 was composed in 1844. The opening, Andante, explores a warm, song-like viola melody while the piano accompanies with rapidly flowing triplets. The second movement contrasts the first, resembling a scherzo with a folk-like refrain. The last movement, Molto Vivace, depicts the frenzied crowds of annual fairs carried on from the medieval era.
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953); arr. Vadim Borissovsky,
Selected pieces from the ballet Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has influenced artists and musicians for centuries. The epitome of a tragic love story, it has been adapted to countless genres and forms such as opera, ballet, symphony, theater and film. Russian Composer Sergei Prokofiev’s interpretation initially resulted in music for ballet, written in 1935. The composer subsequently arranged the music as a standalone piece for orchestra. Three Suites from Romeo and Juliet, Op.64. Following the success of the second version, Prokofiev reduced the score for Ten Pieces for Piano, in Op.75. The viola transcription was made by Vadim Borisovsky, a founding member of the Beethoven Quartet and professor at the Moscow Conservatory. Borisovsky is an important figure in the expansion of the viola repertoire. He is responsible the hundred arrangements. Despite the challenges of arranging and reducing a piece for large forces, the two instruments are able to imitate of the colour and textural sophistication of the orchestral version.
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924),
Après un rêve (After a Dream), Op.7 No.1
The French composer Gabriel Fauré was a composer of immense technical skill. His ability to blend elements from seemingly disparate styles and eras made him an important bridge to the music of the twentieth century. Fauré studied with Camille Saint-Saëns, and went on to teach influential modern era figures such as Claude Debussy and Nadia Boulanger. Written between 1870 and 1877, Après un rêve features one the composer’s most beloved melodies. The piece, anticipates the impressionist style of later French composers. In Après un rêve , Fauré draws the poetry of Romain Bussine. Much like the contents of the poem, the melodic gestures are full of affection and nostalgia.
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975),
Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 147
Along with Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich is a towering figure of twentieth century Russian music. Despite the many limitations imposed on artists in the U.S.S.R., Shostakovich was a prolific composer and pianist with a distinctive style. Written in 1975, the Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op.147 was his final work. This piece was composed in 1975 and dedicated to Fyodor Druzhinin, a violist of the Beethoven Quartet, who replaced the founding member, Vadim Borisovsky as violist from 1964-1988. The piece was premiered in October of 1975, shortly after Shostakovich died. This viola sonata has three movements with a slow-fast-slow structure. In the first movement, the viola opens the theme with the pizzicato gestures continues on with a layered texture that mixes different melodic elements. The second movement is more rhythmically focused and direct than the first. It relies more on concentrated, often jagged melodic motives. The third movement, the composer blends his own ideas with borrowed material from Beethoven’s piano sonata No.14, ‘Quasi una Fantasia’, also known as the Moonlight Sonata. The final movement gradually fades away, almost as if the composer is referencing his own death.