Two piano recitals this January at Le Poisson Rouge caught my eye the other day. On one, Tamara Stefanovich performs Bartok, Carter, Ligeti, and Rachmaninoff.
- Bartok - 14 Bagatelles
- Carter - Matribute
- Carter - Catenaires
- Rachmaninoff/Ligeti - 12 Etudes (presumably some from each composer)
My first thought was, "Oh man, how lush and epic is Rachmaninoff going to sound next to Carter and Ligeti?" I've always felt that programs that pair the well-known with the new and/or unknown are a great way to give an audiences a fresh perspective on familiar works. The other program features Taka Kigawa.
- Debussy - Preludes, Book II
- Ferneyhough - Lemma-Icon-Epigram
- Dai Fujikura - Joule (audio clip here)
- Stravinsky - Three Movements from Petroushka
There's a nice symmetry in the way the two outer pieces (veritable war horses in this context) surround music that is considerably more dense and formidable. By putting the more demanding pieces in the middle you 1) allow the audience to settle in before hitting them with the heavy artillery and 2) give them a chance decompress afterwards with the final piece. That's not to say that Debussy and Stravinsky pieces are fluff - far from it! On any other program they might be the gnarly stuff, just not on this one. It's all about how the pieces relate to one another.
Ultimately, what attracted me to these programs is that even though both include composers I don't particularly care for, I still want to hear them because I'm curious about how the pieces will sound in relation to one another. How will Carter sound next to Bartok? How will Stravinsky sound after Ferneyhough? Will Rachnaninoff really sound fresh and new? I don't know for sure, but I'd pay $15 to find out.