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Shadows in the Forest

Journey with us through the passionate soundscape of music from the Russian culture, as we explore works by the country’s greatest composers.  Hear wonderful works for cello and piano, and a piano quintet (string quartet and piano) with our musicians as we bring to light some buried treasures of the Russian chamber music repertoire in this online streamed event.

Alexander Borodin’s Cello Sonata in B minor (reconstructed by composer Goldstein is a striking example of the composer’s original and unique voice.  Composed in his late 20’s. the work begins with a quote from Bach’s G minor fugue, BWV 1001, transporting us back in time, but quite quickly pulling us into Borodin’s unique Romantic sound world.  Being an accomplished cellist himself, Borodin writes virtuosically, expressively, and idiomatically for the instrument, as he rhapsodizes on the Bach theme.  The work was written in Heidelberg during a revival of the cello sonata genre in Russian music.  Throughout, the work contains a strong singing melody.

Mily Balakirev is often known more for his piano writing than chamber music.  In his “Romance” for cello and piano, however, the composer proves his knowledge of both instruments.  The writing is lyrical and expressive from the first to last notes: melodies exchanged in passionate gestures between the instruments, using both to their full dynamic and expressive potential.

Sergei Rachmaninoff spoke of his contemporary and fellow composer, Nikolai Medtner, as the greatest composer of his lifetime.  Vladimir Horowitz often kept Medtners music in his repertoire, even if he did not often play them.  “Why nobody plays Medtner?”  Says Horowitz, “He is wonderful composer.  Piano composer – in some ways deeper than Rachmaninoff…  There are special colors – perfumes – complex rhythmic counterpoint.  I want to play it now, but it’s a lot of work!”  This is a worthy introduction to the man’s music.  Like Rachmaninoff, Medtner remained a true romantic, in the time of many modern innovations in composition.  His works are rooted in the fantastical and the passionate.  The composer also has a fascination with counterpoint, which permeates his work, and his musical language is akin to a cross between late Beethoven and Rachmaninoff.  The Piano Quintet in C Major on this concert presents us with the composer’s truly unique compositional voice.  Though less melodically generous than Rachmaninoff in his writing, and at times harder to latch onto (as there is often so much to hear a single piece, that it is hard to decide where the ear should go) Medtner’s music is rewarding the more often it is heard.  For many years this wonderful composer’s works have been overlooked somewhere between Rachmaninoff and Scriabin, and now they are finally available to us.  Join us for an exploration of this lost voice of the chamber music repertoire.

Saturday, June 26th,

7:30 PM

LIVE on Youtube

from the Houston Piano Company

Get your tickets via Eventbrite and check your email for the link!

Images, Dreams, and Impressions: Music from France

Join us on the next leg of our World Journey’s series to France!  In this concert, we explore the music of great French composers Faure, Ravel, Debussy, Cesar Franck, and others.  Visual artwork from local Houston artist Vena Ashley will be on display, and French cuisine will be available.  Get your tickets today for a discount!  Our second performance will be at Houston Piano Company in the Heights!  Visit our events page for more info! We have a new member Leah Ann Brashear, who will be singing vocal works on this concert.  Read more about her on our ensemble page!