Saturday, July 24, 2021, 8 pm
 
at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Presenting

Larry Weng  翁來, pianist
www.larrywengpiano.com
 

 














 



Homage to Beethoven


~
Program ~

Robert Schumann:
Fantasie, Op. 17
I. Durchaus phantastisch und liedenschaftlich vorzutragen


John Corigliano:
Fantasia on an Ostinato

Franz Schubert:
Impromptu in B-flat Major, D. 935, No. 3

~ intermission ~

Johannes Brahms:
Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5
Allegro maestoso
Andante espressivo
Scherzo: Allegro energico
Intermezzo (Rückblick): Andante molto
Finale: Allegro moderato ma rubato



 


Foundation for
Chinese Performing Arts


 


".... Larry Weng showed off his impressive piano technique, at once strong, subtle, and colorfully voiced, in a recital which also made clear his savviness about the dazzling Gardner instrument and the crisp acoustics of the towering space. " --- David Moran, The Boston Music Intelligencer  
 


 





photos: Chi Wei Lo and Xiaopei Xu
 

These words flowed from the piano...

Sonata

His smile flows through his fingers,
Touches the keys,
Vibrates the strings.
The energy of his smile
Reverberates from the sounding board,
Enters us,
We smile.

His passion pounds the same notes
Into feelings we cannot help but share.
Whatever our day has brought with us,
We become his music.
A universe of sound we might
Otherwise not have known.

His whole body sings
Through the movements of his passion,
His touch on the keys.
His touch on our whole being,
And our whole being sings.


Maury Eldridge wrote it on July 26, 2021 after he attended Larry Weng's recital at Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum Calderwood Hall on July 24, 2021. We got the permission from Mr. Maury Eldridge to post his poem on our web.

 

Larry Weng 翁來, pianist
www.larrywengpiano.com

Winner of the 2019 NYCA Worldwide Debut Audition and a laureate of the 2016 Queen Elisabeth International Piano Competition, Larry Weng has been described in The New York Times as playing with “steely power and incisive rhythm.” Of his 2014 New York debut at Weill Hall, the New York Concert Review described him as “an extremely sensitive musician and mature interpreter,” and “mature beyond his years.” Of his Alborado del Gracioso, Harry Rolnick of ConcertoNet exclaimed, “Radiant and transparent, picturesque and picaresque, wild but with the artistic perfection of wildness.” Mr. Weng is also a laureate of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition, the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition for Young Musicians, The New York International Piano Competition, the Kosciuzsko Foundation Chopin Competition, and the Wideman International Piano Competition.

Mr. Weng has been featured in concert in France, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, China, Japan, Brazil, and Venezuela, and has performed in many of the world’s renowned concert halls, including Boston’s Symphony Hall, New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, SubCulture, the Salle Cortot, and the Sala Sao Paolo. An avid chamber musician and collaborator, Mr. Weng has participated in the Ravinia Steans Institute and the Verbier Academy, and has worked with renowned musicians such as Claude and Pamela Frank, Gabor Takacs, David Shifrin, David Soyer, amongst others. He is a frequent collaborator at the Lisker Music Foundation concert series in Chicago, as well as the Downtown Music at Grace in White Plains. Recent highlights include an extensive Midwest tour with violinist Kerson Leong and Mr. Weng’s Berlin debut at the Berliner Philharmonie. Mr. Weng is a full-time of the award winning two piano, two percussion ensemble, Icarus Quartet.

In 2009, Mr. Weng graduated from the highly selective joint degree program between Columbia University and The Juilliard School with a BA in Economics and an MM in Piano Performance under the tutelage of Professors Jerome Lowenthal and Matti Raekallio. He continued his studies with Professor Boris Berman at the Yale School of Music, and in 2019, received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree.

During his time at Yale, Mr. Weng served as an instructor in undergraduate piano and secondary piano. As of the 2021-2022 academic year, Mr. Weng will serve on the faculty of the Wake Forest University Department of Music.

 

NOTES ON THE PROGRAM

By Dr. Jannie Burdeti
  
copyright©2021


Robert Schumann:
Fantasie, Op. 17

I. Durchaus phantastisch und liedenschaftlich vorzutragen

Robert Schumann’s Fantasy in C major, Op. 17, written in 1836, was originally entitled Obolen auf Beethovens Monument: Ruinen, Trophäen, Palmen: grosse Sonate für das Pianoforte für Beethovens Denkmal, von Florestan und Eusebius, Op. 12 (Small Contribution to Beethoven’s Monument: Ruins, Trophies, Palms: Grand Sonata for the Pianoforte for Beethoven’s Memorial, by Florestan and Eusebius). This project of erecting a statue, with monetary help from Franz Liszt, the dedicatee of this piece, came to fruition in 1845. The work, in addition to being a tribute to Beethoven’s life, was also a passionate declaration of love to Schumann’s fiancée, Clara Wieck. He was forbidden to see Clara at this time by her father, and the work fittingly uses a quote from Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte (To the Distant Beloved), revealed at the end of this first movement.

Schumann wrote to Clara in March 1838: The first movement [of the Fantasie] is the most passionate I have ever composed; it is a profound lament on your account.” In the beginning of the piece is a quote by Friedrich Schlegel:

Through all the sounds that sound
In the colorful dream of earth
A soft sound comes forth
For the one who listens in secret.

Schumann had written to Clara, “Are you not the secret tone that runs through the work? I almost think you are.” Charles Rosen writes that the “secret tone” is Schumann’s quotation from the last song in Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte. For pianist Murray Perahia, the secret tone is the note G, the opening pitch of the work, which remains a central tone throughout. However one may wish to interpret the idea of the secret tone, Schumann’s quotation at the end of the first movement is a hymnic culmination after the movement’s impassioned turmoil.

John Corigliano:
Fantasia on an Ostinato

For generations, the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, Allegretto, has cast a spell on listeners: composers, filmmakers, and people from all walks of life. It had such an immediate appeal that after the symphony’s first performance, the second movement was repeated as an encore. National Public Radio host Robert Siegel once remarked that Franz Schubert became haunted for the rest of his life upon hearing it. Unsurprisingly, eleven years after witnessing the premiere, Schubert quoted the symphony in his Variations in A-flat major for Four Hands. According to Musicologist Mosco Carner, the movement also became a model for the second movement of Schuberts C-major and Mendelssohns A-major Symphonies. A few decades later, Beethoven’s Allegretto theme would inspire Robert Schumann to write his uncompleted Études in Variation Form on a Theme by Beethoven, WoO 31.

In 1985, the famous American composer John Corigliano received a commissioned from the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition to compose a piece for the twelve semifinalists. Corigliano decided on a Fantasia on an Ostinato,” based on none other than the Allegretto from Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. An ostinato is a persistent, repeated melodic or rhythmic motif, and in this piece, Corigliano delves into the genre of minimalism, creating a hypnotic meditation based on the repeated motifs found in Beethoven’s Allegretto.

When beginning to compose this piece, Corigliano asked himself, What could I write that would test something the standard repertoire would not?” From the work’s very conception, Corigliano knew that he wanted to compose a piece that would challenge the imagination, creativity, and individuality of the performer, instead of writing a technical showpiece, so typical of competitions. The result was a hybrid of aleatoric and set instructions, giving freedom to the performer to decide not only the number of repetitions of certain patterns, but also how the character would be developed. Corigliano found it interesting that the performances at the 1985 Cliburn Competition spanned from seven minutes to over twenty minutes.

Corigliano writes, The first half of my Fantasia on an Ostinato develops the obsessive rhythm of the Beethoven and the simple harmonies implicit in the first half of his melody. Its second part launches those interlocking repetitions and reworks the strange major-minor descending chords of the latter part of the Beethoven into a chain of harmonies over which the performer-repeated patterns grow continually more ornate. This climaxes in a return of the original rhythm and, finally, the reappearance of the theme itself.” Pianist Hélène Grimaud describes the final unveiling as giving you the sense of something that was already there, sort of a memory of the future.”

Born in New York in 1938, John Corigliano is one of the distinguished composers of his generation. He is known best for his important symphonic works and has been a recipient of four Grammy Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and an Academy Award (an Oscar). One of his most celebrated works is the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, written for the film The Red Violin, premiered by Joshua Bell.

Franz Schubert:
Impromptu in B-flat Major, D. 935, No. 3

In the latter part of 1827, Franz Schubert faced both financial and health problems, and he began reaching out to different publishers in an effort to sell his music. In response, his correspondents asked that he provide smaller works that could be monetized. It was under these circumstances that Schubert composed eight short works that eventually became his two sets of Four Impromptus. Unfortunately, only two impromptus of the first set were published during his lifetime (by the Viennese publisher Haslinger); the second set, D. 935, was published posthumously by Anton Diabelli in 1838. Robert Schumann had remarked that the latter set was a sonata in disguise, but many scholars have argued otherwise, despite the fact that the set does contain complementary key relationships. In many ways, these gems show that Schubert can be seen as the first herald of the Romantic character piece. 

Schubert’s Impromptu in B-flat major is a theme and five variations, based on a melody that he used in his incidental music for Helmina von Chézy’s play Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus and his own String Quartet in A minor, D. 804. The charming theme is here presented as a lied or song. The origin of the Rosamunde theme as ballet music is brought forth in the second and fifth variations, represented by the staccato bass note followed by a syncopated quarter note. The middle variation is the stormiest, in the parallel key of B-flat minor. Next follows the most blissful of them all, the serene fourth variation in G-flat major. The concluding variation is a sparkling display of color and delight.

Larry Weng writes, “The rhythmic motive of [this] work is a dactylic rhythm that closely resembles the theme of the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, which is the quote that Corigliano uses in his Fantasia. In fact, the dactylic rhythm can be heard throughout his works, especially following the year of the Symphony’s composition (think Death and the Maiden by Schubert). No matter how much it was intentional, [Beethoven] cast a long shadow on not only his contemporaries such as Schubert, but the later Romantic composers such as Schumann and Brahms.”

Johannes Brahms:
Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5
Allegro maestoso
Andante espressivo
Scherzo: Allegro energico
Intermezzo (Rückblick): Andante molto
Finale: Allegro moderato ma rubato

The year 1853 was a momentous one for the twenty-year-old Johannes Brahms. Until then, he lived a somewhat uneventful life, teaching untalented students, playing accompanying gigs, and studying piano and composition with his teacher, Eduard Marxsen. He did not wish to be a virtuoso pianist, but he also had doubts about making a livelihood only composing. It was not until 1853 that Providence answered him and events snowballed. In April, his violin partner, Eduard Reményi, asked him to go on a performance tour with him. During this tour, he visited more of Germany than he had ever seen before and met one of Reményi’s former classmates, twenty-two-year-old Joseph Joachim, who was already a famous virtuoso violinist. Joachim was so utterly impressed by Brahms’s music that he sent introductory letters and created contacts on behalf of the composer. Through Joachim, Brahms came into contact with Franz Liszt, George V (king of Hanover), and ultimately, Robert and Clara Schumann. On the fateful day of September 30, 1853, the young Brahms rang the doorbell of their house. Upon hearing Brahms play, Robert and Clara Schumann were so taken by his talent that they welcomed him with open arms and promised their friendship to the young composer. Schumann wrote in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Music): It seemed to me that there would and indeed must suddenly appear one man who would be singled out to articulate and give the ideal expression to the tendencies of our time, one man who would show us his mastery, not through a gradual process, but, like Athena, spring fully armed from the head of Zeus. And he has come, a young man over whose cradle Graces and Heroes stood guard. His name is Johannes Brahms.” The young composer had started his tour in April as an unknown accompanist; by October, he had become the new Messiah of German music.

It was during this extremely eventful year that Brahms wrote his third and last sonata for the piano, an epic five-movement mammoth. Brahms had learned from Marxsen the hallowed traditions and craft of Beethoven. This sonata demonstrates Brahms’s complete mastery of Marxsen’s lessons on motivic development and formal logic, balancing it with a Romantic ardor borne of his youthful passion. All three piano sonatas are extraordinarily orchestral—texturally, in scope, and in concept. Robert Schumann aptly described them as veiled symphonies.” As with all three piano sonatas, Op. 5 launches with a striving, heroic gesture that reaches across the range of the piano. A somber chorale ensues, under which a timpani-like motif is heard, borrowed from the fate motif” from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The dichotomy of the lyrical and the dramatic continues to unfold throughout the development. The next movement, Andante espressivo, is a song without words, based on the poem Junge Liebe (Young Love) by C. O. Sternau (pseudonym of Otto Inkermann).

Twilight falls, the moonlight shines,
Two Hearts are united in love,
And keep themselves in bliss enclosed.

It contains some of the most sublime music ever written and makes audible the tender bliss between the two young lovers. The central Scherzo movement is uninhibited Florestan writing, opening with a quotation from the last movement of Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in C minor. The placid middle Trio section contains the ominous fate motif heard in the opening of the sonata. The unusual added movement, an Intermezzo titled ckblick (Remembrance”), is used to recall the music of the second movement. However, no longer is the theme paradisiacal; rather, it is in minor mode, embedded with an eerie, funereal timpani that again sounds the fate motif. Musicologists have surmised that the music may have been inspired by a poem that Brahms entered into his notebook at that time, also by the poet Sternau, with the words:

If ye knew how soon,
How soon the trees are withered,
And the wood is bare,
How soon comes the dreary day
When the heart’s beat is dumb.

The final movement unleashes a fiery rondo, which is symphonic in its contrasting use of registration. The first episode after the main theme contains a cryptogram using the notes F-A-E to represent frei aber einsam” (free but lonely”), a motto Brahms shared with his friend Joachim. This virtuosic movement ends the F-minor work in a triumphant and jubilant F major, not unlike the trajectory of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony from darkness to light.

Copyright © 1999-2021
中華表演藝術基金會

Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts,  Lincoln, Massachusetts
 


音樂會後新聞稿
翁來(Larry Weng)

中華表演藝術基金會於724日週六晚上八點,在波士頓伊莎貝拉美術館 (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum) Calderwood大廳中,舉行自去年十一月份以來在同一場地的第八場現場音樂會。2016年伊麗莎白國際鋼琴大賽決賽入圍者,及2019年紐約音樂家協會 (New York Concert Artists and Association) 全球音樂甄試冠軍鋼琴家翁來(Larry Weng)擔任以『向貝多芬致敬』為題,演出舒曼,舒伯特,克里亞諾 (Corigliano),及布拉姆斯等的經典作品。當晚有包括多位音樂界的名師,名指揮家,約150人到場欣賞。雖然都已打好疫苗,仍都戴口罩,雙重保護。

翁來以專業又輕鬆的語氣,解釋他策劃這場演出的經過。2020是貝多芬250年生辰紀念,全球的音樂會都以演出貝多芬的作品為主題。翁來則希望不直接演奏貝多芬的作品,但由演奏其他深受貝多芬影響的作曲家的經典作品,顯示其影響力的深遠,以示敬意。翁來在每一曲演奏前,都先說明並示範。指出其主題是由貝多芬那一首作品中延伸而來的等等。他面帶笑容,身體隨音樂擺動,充分表現此曲帶給他的喜悅。這種氣氛感染全場,觀眾都被它帶入另一個世界。觀眾Eldridge先生甚至在會後有感而做一首詩。其大意為『不論白天我們是如何過的,今晚我們都被他的手指,笑容,動作...帶領進入他的音樂世界,和他一同歌唱。』原文已經由作者同意放在中華表演藝術基金會的網頁上。

波士頓音樂雜誌 (The Boston Musical Intelligencer) 50多年的經驗,專門評寫鍵盤音樂的資深樂評David Moran到場仔細聆聽,並以『和藹可親的翁來描述片段的歷史』為題稱讚他:『琴藝高超,有強力,有低沈,有多彩的音色。關注到結構的細緻及和諧。如一串閃閃發光的珍珠,激動卻連接無縫無痕,是少見的青年藝術家。』但樂評對翁來曲目的選擇及詮釋,甚至連安可曲的安排都有不同的意見和看法。以貝多芬對他當代及後世深遠的影響,想要在一場短短的音樂會中,包羅全部最具代表性的作曲家及作品是有相當的難度,也可理解每個人都可能有不同的看法。本場演出的全場錄影,最近即將放在中華表演藝術基金會的YouTube上 ,供愛樂者欣賞。

接下來828日週六晚八時在同一地點,將由2017年范克萊本 (Van Cliburn) 國際鋼琴大賽銅牌獎主徐翔Daniel Hsu演出舒曼的童年回憶組曲,貝多芬第31 Op.110 奏鳴曲,及李斯特的B小調奏鳴曲。 免費公開但須預約,六歲以下不可進場,門票可在本網站上登記,歡迎樂捐贊助!





 

    

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   Email: Foundation@ChinesePerformingArts.net


    

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中華表演藝術基金會
Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts
Lincoln, Massachusetts
updated 2021