Chopin, original and transcribed, for cello and piano
The very latest from cellist Sara Sant'Ambrogio, a collection of Chopin's music, actually began a few years ago when she was asked to perform a Chopin recital in Austin. "Suddenly two other pianists asked me to do [Chopin] recitals as well!" says Sant'Ambrogio. "So I started thinking and researching, how do you fill a whole recital after you have the [Cello] sonata and polonaise..."
We continue working our way through the preliminary rounds of last years contest. This Sunday, the music of Italian Domenico Scarlatti, a man who won a harpsichord "play-off" against G.F. Handel, and was so impressed by Handel's abilities that he always crossed himself when mentioning the composers name.
Scarlatti left Rome and moved to the courts of Spain and Portugal where he taught Queen Barbara to play harpsichord. Our "concert" starts with three of Scarlatti's sonatas.
Contrast really means something to those of us who enjoy classical music. The carefully constructed essence of music is the growth and movement between the various emotional plateaus of the composition. This is where the listener derives enjoyment, knowing that Beethoven, Stravinsky or Leonard Bernstein is in the driver's seat and that while we perhaps have a frame of reference for the adventure, we still don't completely know how the journey will proceed or end.
In pop music, pieces featuring the "original artists" are usually big sellers. These are the performances we heard first and are used to -- not the cover songs performed by other artists years later. Some pieces are so familiar that we mentally hear the scratches and pops on the 45's that we had at home back in the day.
When I sit back and think upon my youth my thoughts often turn to television; I am an American after all. One program that gripped me in those days was "In Search of…" where Leonard Nimoy would explore various topics; everything from Bigfoot to the mysterious underwater monoliths thought to be the foundations of Atlantis.