Saturday, February 4, 2023, 8:00 pm
 at
New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall

Presenting
 


Kate Liu  劉珒, pianist
https://www.kateliu.com/
 

 

















 


 

~
Program ~
 

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)

Nocturne Op. 27, No. 1 in C# minor
Mazurka Op. 50, No. 3 in C# minor
Waltz Op. 70, No. 3 in D-flat major
Waltz Op. 64, No. 3 in A-flat major
Mazurka Op. 59, No. 3 in F# minor
Waltz Op. 69, No. 2 in B minor
Mazurka Op. 68, No. 4 in F minor
Ballade No. 2, Op. 38 in F major
(40’)

~ intermission ~

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

Piano Sonata No. 8 in B-flat major
Andante dolce—Allegro moderato
Andante sognando
Vivace

(30’)

 

Program subject to change to comply with COVID mandates and rules of Jordan Hall.



Foundation for
Chinese Performing Arts

 

 
 

Kate Liu 劉珒, pianist
https://www.kateliu.com/

Pianist Kate Liu gained international acclaim after winning the Bronze Medal and Best Mazurka Prize at the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Competition in Warsaw, Poland. She was also awarded the audience favorite prize voted by the Polish public on the Polish National Radio.

As a soloist, Kate has performed in many important venues, such as the Seoul Arts Center, Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, Severance Hall in Cleveland, La Maison Symphonique de Montréal, Warsaw National Philharmonic, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Shanghai Concert Hall, Osaka Symphony Hall, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Hall, Phillip’s Collection, and others. She has collaborated with orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Polish Radio Orchestra, Poznan Philharmonic, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Daegu Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, and Evanston Symphony Orchestra. Her debut album of works by Chopin was released on the Fryderyk Chopin Institute label in 2016.

Born in Singapore, Kate began playing the piano when she was four years old and moved to the United States when she was eight. Early on in her career, she won 1st Prizes at the Third Asia-Pacific International Chopin Competition and the New York International Piano Competition. She received a Bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and is currently pursuing graduate studies at The Juilliard School with Robert McDonald and Yoheved Kaplinsky. Her previous private studies were at the Music Institute of Chicago with Alan Chow, Micah Yui and Emilio del Rosario.
 


NOTES ON THE PROGRAM
By Dr. Jannie Burdeti

Frédéric Chopin: Nocturne in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 1

James Huneker wrote about Chopin’s Nocturne, Op. 27, No. 1 as being “the gloomiest and grandest of Chopin’s moody canvasses.” Written in 1835, Chopin’s Two Nocturnes, Op. 27 were dedicated to his Parisian student, Countess d’Appony, whom he would frequent weekly between 1833 and 1835. The first nocturne opens with a cold and extended left-hand arpeggiation, after which, a lone voice is heard. A lower duet partner later joins the melody. Subsequently, a passionate middle section which escalates in intensity, ultimately arrives at a tragic recitative before its return to the melancholic, opening material. The C-sharp major coda in thirds is both comforting and conciliatory.

As has been frequently noted, it was Irishman John Field who secured the nocturne (posthumously) as a romantic piano work, with a singing right-hand line and a left-hand accompaniment. While Chopin’s Op. 27 Nocturnes epitomizes the bel canto (well-sung) style in the right hand, the emotional landscape, especially in this opus, reaches far beyond the musical world of his predecessor.


Mazurka in C-sharp Minor, Op. 50, No. 3

Chopin used the mazurka to disclose his most intimate sentiments and thoughts. He completed fifty-seven of them throughout his lifetime, which range from half a minute to over five minutes. The typical mazurka contains references to three main types of popular Polish folk dances: the mazur, kujawiak, and oberek. Through the combination of Chopins folkloristic roots and his adventurous harmonic language, he transformed a genre of rustic dance melodies into art music for the concert hall. Moreover, in these miniatures, Chopin explored the entire spectrum of human emotions while paying homage to his roots. G. C. Ashton Jonson writes, “In his hands, the mazurka ceased to be an actual dance tune, and became a tone poem, a mirror of moods, an epitome of human emotions, joy and sadness, love and hate, tenderness and defiance, coquetry and passion.”

Jonson’s words are indeed an apt description of Chopin’s Mazurka, Op. 50, No. 3. Written between 1841 and 1842, Chopin was at the peak of his creative powers. The work’s narrative is both rich in its use of themes and complex in its construction. From a lone, opening note, a magical web of counterpoint unfolds. While Chopin always loved Bach, Cherubini’s recently published handbook on counterpoint also greatly inspired him. After the opening material, a contrasting, patriotic (mazur) dance breaks out. A faster middle section (an oberek dance) in B major ensues before the opening returns. A touching kujawiak is heard in the middle of the spritely oberek. The last section builds to a tragic climax until, with an air of resignation, it winds down.

Waltz in D-flat Major, Op. 70, No. 3

With the help of Johann Strauss II, nicknamed the Viennese Waltz King, the waltz made its shift from an Austrian folk dance to the dance hall. As a teenager in Warsaw, Chopin had not taken waltz music seriously. It was not until after spending a few months in Vienna, at the age of twenty, that he exclaimed to his teacher, Waltzes are regarded as pieces here!” Chopin, along with Schubert and Weber, were instrumental in bringing the waltz to the intimate salon setting.

His Waltz, Op. 70, No. 3 was composed in 1829, at the age of nineteen, while he was living in Vienna. He wrote to his father that year, I have absorbed nothing of a Viennese nature; consequently, I am unable to play waltzes.” Clearly, this was untrue because he wrote his first waltz soon after. Robert Schumann wrote this piece wasof a different character from ordinary waltzes, and bearing the unmistakable mark that only a Chopin could give them.” It was published posthumously and dedicated to Konstancja Gladkowska, a soprano whom Chopin was in love with at the time.

Waltz in A-flat Major, Op. 64, No. 3

This waltz is of a subtle nature and, in this genre, displays one of the more unusual instances where the theme is handed over to the left hand in the middle section. It offers fewer themes than other mature waltzes and its beauty is found not only in the harmonic colors within each key area but also in its forays into different modulations. This was the last waltz published during his lifetime (in 1847) and was dedicated to Baroness Katarzyna Branicka.

Mazurka in F-sharp Minor, Op. 59, No. 3

Chopin completed his Op. 59 in 1845, a trying year for him for several reasons. His relationship with his partner, Baroness Aurore Dudevant (best known by her pen name, George Sand), was slowly deteriorating. Health issues further plagued him that summer in Nohant, which the doctor blamed on hypochondria. Last but not least, the weather had been horrible in the countryside where Chopin and Sand lived: first it was cold and windy; then heavy rainstorms arose, followed by flooding, and culminating in a heatwave, causing everything to smell like rotting vegetation.

The grandest of the Op. 59 set is the third, which begins with an impetuous, impassioned Lydian melody. The initial pathos gives way to a middle section in the tender key of F-sharp major, the same key as his Barcarolle, Op. 60, written around the same time and featuring melodies similarly harmonized in thirds. After a return of the opening, the coda ends in a sparkling and sonorous F-sharp major. This mature, three-minute piece has a greater dramatic and emotional scope than many large-scale compositions. Initially, Chopin composed the work in full in the key of G minor, only transposing it later.

Waltz in B Minor, Op. 69, No. 2

Composed in 1829 at the young age of nineteen, Chopin dedicated this waltz to “Mlle. Marie,” who was the daughter of Count Wodzinski. Chopin was in love with the young Marie and even proposed to her, but ultimately, her parents disapproved of their engagement. In B minor, a historically solemn key, a melancholic aura pervades most of this piece. The waltz was published posthumously.

Mazurka in F Minor, Op. 68, No. 4

While there are varying conclusions by scholars about when Chopin composed this mazurka, traditionally, it has been thought to be the very last work he wrote before his early death at the age of thirty-nine. It was published posthumously and reconstructed from sketches that were found. It is both sorrowful and elegiac in tone, with a left hand containing searching chromatic harmonies that at moments look forward to Wagner.

Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38

In 1836, Frédéric Chopin was the first composer to turn the “ballade,” an originally literary term, into a purely instrumental genre. From 1836 to 1843, he published four ballades, which eventually inspired Brahms, Liszt, and others to follow in his footsteps of writing in this genre for solo piano. His Second Ballade, Op. 38, dedicated to Robert Schumann, reciprocated Schumann's dedication to Chopin of his Kreisleriana, Op. 16.

The essence of the Second Ballade lies in the polarity between a pastoral and mesmerizing siciliano melody in F major and a demonic and tempestuous section in A minor. Initially, the two themes are clearly separated by cadence and silence, but upon their return, they begin to infiltrate one another. A driving coda ultimately transforms what was originally an optimistic opening melody into a sigh of surrender in the key of A minor, and a synthesis is thus created between the two polarities.

According to Schumann, Chopin was inspired by the ballads of Adam Mickiewicz. While Chopin held a distaste towards music following an external narrative, this work has lent itself naturally to programmatic thought for interpreters throughout generations. While different versions are told, Chopin scholar Jim Samson tells of one of them: “Tradition has it that the Second Ballade was inspired by Mickiewicz's ballad Switez, which recounts how the maidens of a Polish village were besieged by Russian soldiers. They pray that they might be swallowed by the earth, and when their wish is granted, they are transformed into beautiful flowers which adorn the site of the village.”

Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 8 in B-flat Major, Op. 84
Andante dolceAllegro moderato
Andante sognando
Vivace

Sergei Prokofiev’s monumental Eighth Piano Sonata was dedicated to Mira Mendelson, his second wife. This work offers a window into the composer’s dark inner struggles during the terrible War Years in the Soviet Union. Sviatoslav Richter, Prokofievs most favored pianist and dedicatee of several works, wrote regarding Prokofievs Eighth Piano Sonata: “It is the richest of all of Prokofievs sonatas. It has a complex inner life with profound contrapositions. At times it seems to freeze, as if listening to the inexorable march of the times. The sonata is somewhat heavy to grasp, but heavy with richness—like a tree heavy with fruit.”

Adding to its emotional weight is its sheer length. The first movement, Andante dolce, is in fact the longest single movement of all of his piano sonatas, lasting a quarter of an hour. “Sweet” and “dreamy” are hardly characteristics associated with Prokofiev’s music, but here, in the first movement, a great majority of it is Andante dolce, while the entire second movement is marked Andante sognando. Like his Fifth Symphony, the longest of his seven symphonies, written during this same period and also in the key of B-flat major, there is a strong predominance of slow music, which is very unusual for Prokofiev’s typically extroverted and energetic personality. Emil Gilels, who gave the premiere of this sonata, wrote: “In 1944, Sergei Sergeyevich invited me to give the first performance of his new Eighth Sonata… I became totally absorbed in my work on this composition. The Eighth Sonata is a profound work demanding a great deal of emotional tension. It impresses one by the symphonic nature of its development, the tension, breadth and charm of the lyrical passages.”

The first movement begins with a slow moving, lyrical theme that emphasizes theepic quality, so favored in Russian music. Prokofiev weaves a richly layered three-part texture with almost vagrant harmonies that serve as the backdrop for the thematic material. The theme’s origin can be traced back to the projected and yet unrealized film, The Queen of Spades—a movie based on a short story by Alexander Pushkin planned for his centenary in 1937. By the time the project had stopped due to censorship issues, Prokofiev had long completed the piano score. Eight years later, the composer incorporated the material from The Queen of Spades in both his Fifth Symphony and his Eighth Piano Sonata. Repurposing his film music for the concert hall was not something unusual for Prokofiev—he did so brilliantly with some of his earlier films scores, notably Lieutenant Kijé and Alexander Nevsky. The thematic material that Prokofiev borrows from, represents one of the main characters in The Queen of Spades, Lizavyeta, and is presented in the first theme as three short segments, each with a variation directly following. The transition between the first theme group and the second is a nervous section marked poco piu animato. This section is in itself a development, and one senses explicitly for the first time, the inner life of discontent, which was only in the subconscious at the beginning. The haunting second theme consists of a distorted “fate” motif. The central development begins with the previous transitional material and builds up to a tremendous and immense climax. Being a classicist at heart, Prokofiev brings back the return of the exposition in full.

Andante sognando (meaning “walking tempo, dreaming”) is literally a suspension from reality. The listener is in an imaginary world, and a world that he inhabited with ease: the world of children. It is reminiscent of his music for the young, but presented in the context of a dream.

Extreme emotions pervade the Vivace—an unusually large finale and, in fact, the second longest single movement in all of his piano sonatas. It begins with rapid toccata-like triplets, whose momentum is halted when it slides into a D-flat-major section, a march-like waltz, which in itself is a contradiction. It is somewhat subdued, albeit with sharp accents in ¾  time and is a subconscious reference to the world of the second movement, which bears the same tonality and meter.

The reality of the D-flat major excursion is eventually unveiled, and the terror is exposed as it becomes transformed into a stomping, grotesque march. After about a minute, the stomping march recedes into the background and one hears the reoccurrence of the entire second theme from the first movement, juxtaposed over the backdrop of an inexorable march.’ Here, Prokofiev puts side-by-side the metaphysical and physical reality: the reality of fate and the reality of the war in the distance—both which are harrowing. One of the most remarkable and unusual passages in all of Prokofievs oeuvre then appears as a re-transition before the recapitulation of the primary material in this third movement. For a headstrong man like Prokofiev, nothing could be less expected than the marking irresoluto. In this passage, the march completely disappears, and the music sequences continuously, searching and faltering. It is a crisis of spirit. In this moving passage, Prokofiev is groping in the darkness in the aftermath of the war, questioning his place in this horrible reality of Stalins regime and World War II. Before one knows it, the listener is brought back to the terrifying yet fearless toccata from the beginning of this movement.

Prokofievs monumental and epic Eighth Sonata is indeed a work of profound contrapositions and heavy with richness. Of the many profound contradictions, the juxtaposition of the outer world and the inner world is heard throughout the work: the victory and glory of the Soviet Union and personal crises and loss, the fearless toccata of the machine and vulnerability of mankind, and the question of what is reality and what is a dream. One dreams of happier times in the second movement, yet simultaneously, the war is a nightmare that one cannot awaken from. There is the message that our sense of personal fate and destiny is indeed a tragic one. Perhaps the final paradox for Sergei Prokofiev was that two years after the completion of this sonata, he was awarded the first class Stalin Prize for his Eighth Piano Sonata.


 
劉珒
(Kate Liu) 音樂會新聞稿 - (Feb 4, 2023)

中華表演藝術基金會第34屆音樂季 (2022-2023)3場音樂會,將於24日週六晚8時,在新英格蘭音樂學院喬頓廳 (Jordan Hall) 舉行。由在新加坡出生,國際蕭邦大賽的銅獎得主,鋼琴家劉珒 (Kate Liu) 演出獨奏會。曲目包括蕭邦的夜曲、華爾茲、瑪祖卡、敘事曲等,及普羅科菲耶夫 (Prokofiev) B大調第八鋼琴奏鳴曲等作品。票價為 $15 (7-13)$30$50。提供學生免費票 (14歲以上),及非學生贈送卷。需事前預訂。6歲以下兒童請勿入場。詳情請查官網

劉珒在2015年國際蕭邦大賽中除了贏得銅獎以外,並同時獲得波蘭廣播電台特別獎,及觀眾投票選出最佳馬祖卡 Mazurka舞曲的特別獎。她的首張蕭邦作品專輯於 2016 年由蕭邦學院  (Chopin Institute) 發行。在此之前,她已獲得無數次比賽的第一名及各種榮譽。 作為獨奏家,劉珒曾在世界各地的重要音樂廳演出。 與世界頂級交響樂團及指揮合作,佳評如潮。

2021320日,在大流行期间,中華表演藝術基金會為劉珒在波士顿伊莎貝拉博物館 (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum) Calderwood 音樂廳舉行了一場精彩的現場獨奏會。現場只允許10人。這是當時很少的現場音樂會之一。 在全場錄影放在YouTube上後,一天內就有超過千次的觀賞,到目前为止,這場獨奏會的視頻, 已有靠近三萬二千次的觀賞。波士頓音樂雜誌 (The Boston Musical Intelligencer) 的樂評兼鋼琴家Jim McDonald在看了品質極佳的錄影後說:『整場演出的態度都是絕對的認真嚴肅,鎮靜平穩,特別敏感,華麗又強有力。 每個音符都是經過仔細的思考。使人聯想到蘇聯最偉大的鋼琴家之一Emil Gilels的演出。她在最強勢震撼之處能保持冷靜,在最調皮的地方也是用尊敬的專業的態度表現出來。』

劉珒已由柯蒂斯 (Curtis)音樂學院畢業,繼續在茱莉雅(Juilliard)音樂學院攻讀最高學位藝術家文憑。 相信她的名聲毫無疑問的會繼續在樂壇上發光發熱。

主辦單位深知音樂對大眾的重要性,也了解個人經濟的壓力,所以每一場都提供免費票。 但希望有心人能慷慨解囊,贊助音樂會的出場費和場租錄音等等費用,免稅捐款可上本網站 希望愛樂者不要錯過這場精彩的音樂會。
  






音樂會門票分為$50 (貴賓保留區、可預先指定座位)及$30(不對號自由入座)兩種 , 學生票$15 (不對號自由座區) 。六歲以下兒 童請勿入場 。網站購票: http://www.ChinesePerformingArts.net 無手續費 。
$50: VIP Reserved Seats
$30: open seating at non-VIP section
$15: student open seating at non-VIP section
Children under 6 not admitted.



提供100張免費學生票 (14歲以上 , 每人一張) 請上 贈票網頁 索票  。
100 free student tickets available at www.ChinesePerformingArts.net only
(1 per request for age 14 and up)

 

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中華表演藝術基金會
Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts
Lincoln, Massachusetts
updated 2023