On "The Piano" this Sunday, a collection of riveting pieces that have Slavonic roots. First, Sergei Rachmaninoff and his new, modular approach to music; whether he consciously or unconsciously chose tolling bell patterns as a basis for his 2nd piano sonata, the effect is the same as a great festival in which, at the conclusion, all the church bells get involved.
Then there is Mily Balakirev, who explored the height of piano virtuosity with his "Islamey," featuring a soloist who was never known to rein in his power and audacity - Vladimir Horowitz.
The program ends with Karol Szymanowski, a great friend of Arthur Rubinstein, who utilized that last patch of ground just before atonally. Influenced by composers as diverse as Alexander Scriabin, Max Reger, Debussy, Liszt, Chopin and Beethoven, Szymanowski sculpts a powerful and wide ranging sonata during the turbulent year of 1917. This work seems to some up the dehumanizing conflict of World War I with angry pounding notes in the bass determined to dislodge the beautiful shimmering trills in the treble. To fill out the program, an early etude that takes its inspiration from the ultimate Polish composer, Frederic Chopin.
A Slavic feast for the ears this Sunday evening at 5 on "The Piano," with three distinct methods of composition and execution, hear it on KPAC and KTXI.