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Live in Concert

Live in Concert

  • By Vincent P. Skowronski
  • Release 15/03/2005
  • Media Format CD
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Price: $25.08

Product Notes

GRAMMY AWARDS ENTRY LIST for 2001-- BEST CHAMBER MUSIC PERFORMANCE SKOWRONSKI PLAYS! **Live in Concert** Grieg, Foote, Bartòk, Milhaud, Elgar and Shostakovich ================= 'Vincent P. Skowronski PLAYS EVERYTHING WITH PASSIONATE INTENSITY AND SINCERITY.' International Record Review ================= BÈLA BARTÒK (1881-1945) was an ethnomusicologist with a God-given gift for composition. He spent a great deal of his life traveling and collecting myriad examples of folk melodies from the rural environs of his native country, Hungary, as well as from neighboring Roumania, which he then painstakingly cataloged for future consideration as viable material for serious classical music composers ......which included himself, of course. Almost everything Bartòk wrote during his lengthy peripatetic career contains motifs or significant elements intrinsic to the 'folk art culture' of the Balkans. The three movement Sonatine is certainly no exception to the composer's modus operandi. Vincent Skowronski begins his eclectic recital with Bèla Bartòk's 'small sonata' which deftly utilizes country dance tunes that were --and probably still are-- indigenous to Hungary's legendary mountain regions of Transylvania. The violinist is extremely amenable to the peasant character and freewheeling nature of the sonatina as he boldly performs the work in a 'round-the-campfire, 'tziganishe' bent. It's a hot number this Sonatine, and Skowronski with his pianist, Ms. Saori Chiba, deliver it with appealing swagger and savoir faire! ----------------- Our program continues across the Atlantic to Yankee New England. Mr. Skowronski and Ms. Chiba have chosen to showcase the considerable talents of an all but forgotten American composer, ARTHUR WILLIAM FOOTE (1853-1937). Arthur Foote was a musically gifted and well-trained young man, although he never really was feverish about pursuing music as a meaningful career. However, he DID eventually enroll at Harvard University where he studied MUSIC as opposed to LAW --his family's profound academic choice for Arthur. In 1875, after five years of rather handsomely distinguishing himself as a burgeoning young musician/composer, Arthur William Foote became the FIRST person in the history of the United States of America to receive a Master Degree in Music. The THREE CHARACTER PIECES, originally penned as simply THREE PIECES, were re-christened by Mr. Skowronski to read more dynamically as Three CHARACTER Pieces. Skowronski says, 'Now definitely identified as Program Music, these episodes unveil the vital 'character' intrinsic to each individual movement in keeping with Foote's labeling them 1. Morgen gesange (Morning Song) 2. Menuetto serioso (Serious Minuet) and 3. Romanze (Romance).' The PIECES themselves exhibit three standout, neo-Romantic examples of Arthur Foote's production as a truly significant American composer. The trilogy also reveals his mastery of compositional techniques and the trenchant ability to write splendidly rapturous thematic material. The performances here by Skowronski and Chiba are assertively vibrant and effervescent. The THREE CHARACTER PIECES, in our opinion, is a work that indubitably qualifies as 'buried treasure!' ----------------- Mother Russia is the next stop on our **Live in Concert** excursion. DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) wrote Twenty Four PRELUDES for Solo Piano in the early 1930s. At a later date, four (4) from the original complement were selected and transcribed for Violin AND Piano by the leader of the Beethoven Quartet, a Mr. David Tziganov. Thereafter, these impish vignettes were known as the FOUR PRELUDES for Violin and Piano. Interestingly, these eclectic extractions found much favor within the 1945-ish Soviet Union but, in reality, were neither warmly accepted nor widely appreciated elsewhere. While Mr. Skowronski was in Moscow participating as only one of seven American violinists chosen to represent the U.S.A. in the FOURTH INTERNATIONAL TCHAIKOVSKY COMPETITION (see Skowronski website) he acquired a score to the FOUR PRELUDES. Skowronski then went in search of Shostakovich so that the composer himself might autograph his copy of the composition. NOTE: Shostakovich was in Moscow at the time, acting as Chairman of the Competition Committee. Summarily, Shostakovich was not to be found available at any time or any place to sign anything! This was Cold War Russia! End of story. The FOUR PRELUDES were destined to appear on a Skowronski CD. The first is a distant, forlorn, pseudo-diaphonous 'musique oblique; the second is a rather straightforward, carousel-like featurette; the third smacks of a Russian-bear romp; and the fourth evokes an agitated 'dance rustique avec Comrade Ivanovich' cachet. In performance, Skowronski and Chiba are the personification of the Cossack Mystique. They interpret the FOUR PRELUDES with an appropriately blustery, at times supercilious but always 'BOLSHOI attitude.' Everything works! Try it.........you'll like it. ----------------- West to Paris, the City of Light, where we witness the talents of an extremely prolific composer, DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974). As a late-joining member of 'Les Six' (see program notes, Skowronski Plays! Avec et Sans, Volume I), Monsieur Milhaud was, nevertheless, promptly tagged a rebel......obviously the result of his 'guilt-by-association' status bestowed upon him for mixing with Erik Satie's 'Les Six.' In stark reality, however, and barring the burgeoning movement of Impressionism, Milhaud's life-style was very much governed by a strong sense of moderation. This 'virtue' enabled him to flourish and deftly succeed in Paris during a percolating era of unconventional music making. The composer's light-as-a-feather LE PRINTEMPS (in 5/8 meter) gently produces a current of serenity that, quite frankly, is remarkably salubrious. A fragile composition, 'Springtime' is but another of those gossamer 'recital gems' that has unjustly suffered from long and senseless obscurity. But, on this occasion, Skowronski and Chiba unite to present a tranquil albeit purposeful statement of LE PRINTEMPS which hopefully will serve to rescue the piece from undeserved oblivion. ----------------- From Paris, our **Live in Concert** course leads across the channel to Merry Old England, home turf of British composer, SIR EDWARD WILLIAM ELGAR (1857-1934). A semi-accomplished pianist, but more so an ardent violinist, Sir Edward wrote a fair number of 'salon vignettes' distinctly patterned for violin with piano. Featured on this disc are two delicious morsels, SALUT D'AMOUR and CHANSON DE MATIN, both favored and coveted by audiences and performers alike. Here, the Skowronski and Chiba performance is plainly forthright and unpretentious. However, the duo does cheerfully capture the sparkling 'joie de vivre' inherent to these delightful showpieces. Tempos are fluid while the readings unfold naturally with ideally romantic and blissful presentation. The collaboration between Skowronski and Chiba on these two quicksilver moonbeams is lambently exhilerating! Salon pieces? So be it.........ENCORE!! ----------------- Glacially iced fjords in Norway now serve as the back drop for the final destination on our **Live in Concert** tour. The recital comes to a close featuring the SONATA NO. 2 in G MAJOR by EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907). Notwithstanding the SONATA's introductory 'Lento doloroso,' the ensuing 'Allegro vivace' displays a great deal of seredipitous and grandiose music making throughout it's breadth. Grieg's input showcases many of his compositional trademarks, e.g., soaring musical phrases, propensity for triplet writing, thrilling use of arpeggiated rushes, glorious treatment of thematic material, and the like. These ingredients provide a very exciting and almost stentorian quality to the opening movement. What follows is a very interesting 'Allegretto tranquillo.' It begins with a serene, pensive statement --beautifully coaxed from the piano by Ms. Chiba-- which slowly prompts the movemenet towards a vigorous if not agitated mid-section mood swing. An E Major interlude henceforth establishes a sense of repose while the main theme returns and quietly leads to a restful conclusion of the scene. The Finale, definitely 'folksy' in character, is herein introduced and summarily begins a huge, 'country conclusion' to the SONATA......country, like in Norway. General success as a composer, --and in particular with the SONATA NO. 2 -- has now unleased Grieg's sequestered intentions which allows him to begin composing in a definitively more Norwegian-like bent. He embarks on a path that eventually propels his writing to a much loftier plateau. His prowess as a champion of Nationalism in classical music composition has now become permanently established. As the saying goes, 'The rest is history.' ___ BRAVO!...to violinist SKOWRONSKI and pianist CHIBA. This disc is highly enjoyable and highly recommended!! ___ Program notes by SKOWRONSKI: CLASSICAL RECORDINGS Any and all comments regarding this CD are welcomed.

Details

Performers: Saori Chiba
Title: Live in Concert
Release Date: 15/03/2005
Label: CD Baby
Media Format: CD
UPC: 660355804922
Item #: SRD580492
This product is a special order