The second recital in the Steinway Inaugural Series will be held at 8:00 pm on Friday, November 20th, and will feature Camrose pianist and Augustana Campus Professor, Milton Schlosser. This internationally recognized musician will perform works especially chosen to highlight the distinctive, exciting sounds of Camrose’s new 9-foot Steinway.
Schlosser, who has resided and taught in Camrose since 1985, will perform selections from three major, popular piano works: Robert Schumann’s Carnaval, Maurice Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin, and Johannes Brahms’s Opus 118 collection.
Carnaval was composed in 1834 and is one of the most popular works within piano music today. Consisting of twenty shorter pieces, it is known for its beautiful melodies, romantic qualities, and the sheer athleticism it demands on the part of the performer. Schumann gave each piece a title that imaginatively represents himself, people in his life, and characters from improvised Italian comedy (commedia dell’arte). Collectively, these pieces are intended to provide the listener with the experience of a masked ball during carnival season.
Maurice Ravel was inspired to compose Le Tombeau de Couperin by the lively dance suites from the French Baroque period. Each of the work’s pieces bears the title of a historic dance and is dedicated to the memory of friends who died fighting in World War I (Ravel himself was a driver for the French army). Given these dedications, it is understandable that Ravel was criticized by some for composing pieces marked by light humour, lush sonorities, and dazzling playing. In response, Ravel underlined his celebratory intent, noting that "The dead are sad enough, in their eternal silence."
Johannes Brahms composed the six pieces of Opus 118 in 1893, a time when the grand piano in its construction had achieved much of the sound qualities of today’s best pianos. Given that most pianos did not consistently have 88 keys until the latter part of the nineteenth century, Brahms’s use of the low A in the first piece immediately distinguishes this work as written for a larger, more complex instrument. In this respect, he is different than Schumann, Chopin, and other composers from the early nineteenth century. The pieces are dedicated to Clara Schumann, the love of Brahms’s life. Because of their rich sound qualities and exquisite construction, they are some of the composer’s most popular ones.
The ticket proceeds for this recital will help support the purchase of the new 9ft New York Steinway at Augustana Campus. The corporate sponsor for this recital is Dr. Rhonda Markowsky. Celebrate this fabulous instrument and add your support on Friday, November 20th at 8:00 pm at the Augustana Faith & Life Chapel on university campus. Tickets are $20 (adults) and $15 (students/seniors). They are available at the door and in advance at the Augustana Bookstore and Candler Art Gallery. For further information, call the Augustana Fine Arts Office 780-679-1532.