Pre-Concert Conversations

Sunday, January 17, 2021
Doric String Quartet with Ben Grosvenor, piano
“Reflections”

William Everett, presenter

The last movement of the Beethoven string quartet featured on this afternoon’s program carries the subtitle “La Malinconia” (Melancholy). This sense of reflection is evident not only in the Beethoven quartet but also in the two piano quintets featured on the program. Elgar’s Piano Quintet is one of the musical responses to World War I, and Faure’s Piano Quartet No. 1

January 30, 2021
Vladimir Feltsman, piano
“Inspirations”

William Everett, presenter

Drawing on the works featured on this evening’s program, we’ll explore different types of inspiration for musical composition. A pre-existing musical theme is at the inspirational core of a variation set, and Beethoven often used one of his own themes as the basis for variations, as we’ll hear tonight. Human imagination and experience can also inspire musical works, as in the set of Schubert Impromptus. Finally, pieces of art and the very idea of being in an art gallery can also offer inspiration, as in Mussorgsky’s dynamic Pictures at an Exhibition.

February 19, 2021
Apollon Musagète Quartet with Garrick Ohlsson, piano
“Fugues”

William Everett and Dr. Karen Savage (Associate Professor of Collaborative Piano, UMKC Conservatory), presenters

All three works on this evening’s concert feature fugues, a highly intellectual approach to music whereby the same musical idea is presented in different parts in an extremely regulated fashion. The challenge for composers, and performers, is to make such a rule-based approach not sound that way. In larger works, such as the Szymanowski String Quartet No. 2 and the Shostakovich Piano Quintet, fugues are but one part of the musical soundscapes, and we’ll discuss how fugues interact with other musical dimensions in performance.

March 12, Morgenstern Trio
“Beethoven and the Piano Trio”

William Everett, presenter

In a preview to the next day’s “Beethoven: In His Time and Ours” panel, we’ll explore the significance of the piano trio as a chamber music genre and its place in Beethoven’s output. Beethoven’s first published work was a set of piano trios, and the composer returned to the genre throughout his life.

April 10, Inon Barnaton

“Connections”

William Everett and Dr. Christopher Madden (Assistant Professor of Piano Pedagogy, UMKC Conservatory), presenters

 

Tonight’s program features music from three centuries, linking together the past and present. Conversations and connections abound between the works themselves, as we’ll explore in our discussion. While Brahms was overt in his homage to Handel in his Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, other composers might be more subtle in their allusions.

May 16, Sergei Babayan, piano

“Impressions”

William Everett and Dr. Jeffrey Savage (Adjunct Professor of Piano, UMKC Conservatory), presenters

Composers have often used pre-existing texts as sources for musical inspiration, giving us their own take, or impressions, of them. Tonight’s conversation will look at how Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Zlabys, and Schumann have given us their musical impressions of visual art, novels, scientific writings, and other composers’ music through their own artistic lenses.

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