Ravel – Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose Suite)
Rachmaninoff – Preludes (Five Selections from Op. 23, Op. 32)
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Schubert – Fantasy in C Major, “Der Wanderer”, D. 760
Liszt- Deux légendes, S.175
Stories & Legends is the first of two major programs I have created for this performing season, which will be performed from coast to coast in 2017.
1. The Mother Goose Suite tickles all my fancies. It is a brilliantly simple work that showcases Ravel’s powerful ability to channel innocent wonder into song. It is a work I came to know intimately through my work with Janelle Fung (as part of the Fung-Chiu Duo), and is also, in a small way, my homage to our musical partnership. I present it here in its solo arrangement by Ravel’s friend Jacques Chariot.
2. The companion work I’ve chosen for the first half is a personal selection of Rachmaninoff preludes. I find they are not unlike the Mother Goose suite; self-contained tales that evoke diverse images and emotions. I’ve chosen five-for-five, five preludes that loosely match, in sense and style, with the five movements of the Ravel suite.
3. Ah… intermission.
4. Schubert. Yikes. The Wanderer Fantasy. Double Yikes. This is a beautiful, impressive (every piano program needs some fireworks) piece that strays fairly far from its source material, at least in character. Save for the second movement, which quotes the original Der Wanderer lied quite directly, the remaining three movements presents this melancholic song in a more jubilant, high-spirited manner. Twenty-minutes of keyboard intensity with plenty of Schubertian modulations, melodies, and mood-changes.
5. Liszt’s Two Legends is epic storytelling at its very epic-est. Liszt uses all his tricks in the piano-writing book to vividly illustrate his impressions of these two biblical stories (St. Francis’s Sermon to the Birds, and St. Francis of Assisi Walking on the Waves). You will hear birds, you will hear undulating waves, you will hear quiet, awestruck wonder and also very loud wonder.