The life and work of Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Enrique Granados one of the best-known composers of Spanish piano music was born in Catalonia, (Lleida) Spain in 1867, and died in 1916 when his ship was torpedoed while crossing the English Channel.
Although best known as a composer of piano music, Granados composed music for other mediums and was a renowned teacher who founded an academy in Barcelona that still exists.
Although he was born in Catalonia, he along with his other contemporaries was inspired by the cultures of various parts of Spain, especially southern Spain known as Andalucia, and incorporated these features into his music. Much of his piano has also been transcribed for the guitar, the quintessential Spanish instrument.
This PowerPoint lecture-demonstration will highlight the life and tragic death of Granados, discuss influences including the art of Goya, and examine aspects of his piano music and other repertoires through recordings of a variety of works by the composer.
It will also feature a recording done by Granados himself made in the early part of the 20th century, and conclude with a live performance of selected compositions, with commentary on the specifics of each work for further understanding and appreciation. The lecture will conclude with a live performance by the presenter.
In Celebration of the Centenary of Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy (1862-1918), is considered one of the most significant composers of the 20th century who developed a new harmonic language and a unique sound world that influenced many composers during the threshold of the 20th century and beyond.
Although he did not like to be labeled the Impressionist in music, his work nevertheless embodies ideals of Impressionist art, and his music shares many stylistic features with the parallel movement.
Works include: selected songs, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, Nuages, La Mer and works for piano, La Cathédrale engloutie (The Submerged Cathedral), and L’isle Joyeuse.
This lecture will discuss Debussy’s life and illustrate examples of his music. Primarily known as a composer of piano music, Debussy also composed for orchestra and for voice.
Examples of works for all of the above mediums will be played and will conclude with a live performance of piano music.
This will be presented through a PowerPoint presentation, rich with visual images of Impressionist art, other illustrations, and commentary.
CLARA WIECK SCHUMANN (1819-1896)
Clara Wieck Schumann, the wife of Robert Schumann was a child prodigy pianist and became the chief exponent of Robert Schumann’s piano music. Although she is best known in that role, Clara Schumann was a fine composer herself, composing piano music, chamber music, and vocal music. She also became a well-known teacher who trained many pianists who came to the US and, who in turn, taught many pianists.
The lives of Robert and Clara Schumann are some of the best-known accounts of 19th-century composers. Robert Schumann first met Clara Wieck in about 1829, when he began studying piano with Frederick Wieck, Clara’s father who was also her own piano instructor. Although Robert was nine years her senior, he developed an attraction for the young lady when he would go to the Wieck household for his piano lesson.
Frederick Wieck did everything to stop the relationship and correspondence, as he did not want anything to distract from Clara’s career, since she was already touring Europe at a young age. This did not deter Robert Schumann, and the couple continued to correspond and eventually married in 1840. They had several children some of whom died in infancy, and Clara Schumann developed a special friendship with Johannes Brahms. She outlived her husband forty-years and became a well-known teacher. Many pianists traveled to Europe to study with her.
This lecture consists of a PowerPoint presentation with music, will highlight the lives of these two significant 19th-century musicians, and give recorded examples of Clara Schumann’s vocal and instrumental works.
It will conclude with a live piano performance of some of her piano pieces and the music of Robert Schumann for which she was the chief inspiration.
A segment of the movie Song of Love, 1947 featuring Katherine Hepburn as Clara Schumann will also be shown!
(1 hour and 15 mins. approx.)
In Celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
One of the greatest composers in the history of music, Beethoven was also a great pianist and composed a tremendous output of music for solo piano, chamber that included piano, and orchestral music. His ability to compose his last works while being deaf best exemplifies his genius.
Beethoven inherited a great tradition from his two most famous predecessors, Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Although his early works express that heritage, Beethoven embraced German Romanticism in music in his own unique way, and paved the way for composers following this tradition.
Examples of his piano music, chamber music, and orchestral music will be heard.
This lecture will discuss Beethoven’s life, and demonstrate how his personal life influenced his music. It consists of a PowerPoint presentation with music embedded in the slides. It is not only musically interesting, but also visually stimulating showing some of Beethoven’s homes, and cities where he resided.
Segments of live performances of orchestral and chamber works will also be shown followed by a live piano performance!