The Discovery Series is excited to open this year’s Festival with Nikolay Khozyainov, a phenomenal 21-year old pianist who won the 1st Prize at the Dublin International Piano Competition in May 2012.
South Florida audiences will have the pleasure of listening to the nearly identical program Khozyainov is performing at his Carnegie Hall debut in April. With his cascading golden curls and cherubic features, it is astonishing to witness the maturity and lovliness of his fresh interpretations of the Classics.
Khozyainov already has a number of prestigious competition wins under his belt and released his first CD in Japan less than a year ago. At 18, he was the youngest finalist in the 2010 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition.
Tonight’s program consists of three piano Sonatas that explore the depths of each composer. Beethoven’s Sonata No. 31 in A-flat is one of the last pieces he wrote for solo piano and reaches backward as much as it looks forward. Throughout history composers were fully aware of the emotional power of music, and exploited it regularly.
Still, insofar as the range of emotion is concerned, Beethoven’s music represents a sharp break with that of his immediate predecessors. In Op. 110, the spiritual journey through which Beethoven guides us over the course of the final movement is as profound as any he conceived.
The Prokofieff Sonata No. 7 in B major (“Stalingrad”) is the second of the composer’s three War Sonatas and was first performed in January 1943 by Sviataslov Richter in Moscow.
In an enthusiastic response to the work, Richter wrote:
“Disorder and uncertainty reign. Man observes the raging of death-dealing forces, but what he lived for doesn’t cease to exist. He feels, he loves…He is together with mankind, protesting and suffering deeply with them in their common grief. Full of a will for victory, he makes a headlong running attack, clearing away all obstacles. He will become strong through struggle, becoming a life-affirming force.”
The third sonata, Liszt’s Sonata in B minor is a treasured favorite. First performed on January 27, 1857 in Berlin by Liszt’s pupil and son-in-law, Hans von Bülow, it was attacked by conservative critics such as Johannes Brahms (who reputedly fell asleep during Liszt’s performance of the work at their first meeting).
It took a long time for the Sonata to become commonplace in concert repertoire both because of its technical difficulty and negative initial reception due to its status as “new” music. However by the early stages of the twentieth century, the piece had become established as a pinnacle of Liszt’s repertoire and has been a popularly performed and extensively analyzed piece ever since.
In a beautiful contrast to the heft of the sonatas, Khozyainov has selected two Chopin gems, the Barcarolle in F sharp major Op. 60 and Berceuse Op. 57. Literally translated as “Lullaby,” Berceuse is a charming 6/8 study in delicate and shimmering sound and a beautiful programming choice in partnership with the 12/8 Barcarolle that begins with calm watery undulations and ends with immense ocean swells.
Program includes a multi-media presentation by “Lecturer in Residence” Professor Frank Cooper.
The Ticket Price is $15.00