Title: Retrospection, Despair and Death in Franz Liszt’s Late Piano Miniatures
The radical changes of Liszt’s compositional style reached their culmination in some of the piano pieces from his last decade (1876-86). These sound nothing like the familiar virtuoso works of his earlier years and while significantly diverging from the compositional conventions of their time, they foreshadow some of the avant-garde ideas of the early 20th century. A significant weakening of tonality, highly chromatic chord relations, use of new modes and scales or minimalistic approaches to texture – these are some of the most notable features of this remarkably underperformed repertoire.
This lecture-recital will include the performance of a handful of these late miniatures, which represent three distinctive categories, as outlined by Alan Walker in his biography of Liszt. The first category is ‘music of retrospection’, and it contains pieces in which a troubled spirit seeks consolation in memories of the past. The second group of works is titled ‘music of despair’, including some aesthetically challenging compositions, which are often highly dissonant and harmonically forward-looking. The final category called ‘music of death’ contains elegies, memorials and funerals, in which Liszt has raised grief to high art.
Title: Compositional Intentionality and Pianistic Performance Traditions in the Interpretation of New Music.
Hugh Benham, Prelude
Clive Osgood, "Off with His Head!" from Scenes from Alice Suite
George Richford, Rooted Time Suite (excerpts)
Combining my PhD research on European pianistic traditions and related aspects of interpretation and artistic integrity, with my recent recordings of modern British piano compositions by Hugh Benham, Clive Osgood, and George Richford for the Convivium label (for release in 2021/22), this lecture-recital attempts to answer the questions faced by performers of newly composed repertoire for which no tradition exists to fall back on or to reject, either wholly or in part, in order to explore the triad of composer, the score, and the interpreter.
Borrowing debates from historical musicology to elucidate the matter of performing new music, since all repertoire was once upon a time new, I discuss the work as an abstract idea and as a set of boundaries, the score itself as a performance, the authority of the performer and the ambiguities that stem from working in the current professional field of recording music, as well as strategies for becoming acquainted with and ultimately realising the intentions of the composer.
Keywords: Compositional intentionality, historical musicology, new music, piano, Richard Taruskin, Mine Doğantan-Dack, Ian Pace, Semiotics, score, authenticity, performance traditions, Hugh Benham, Clive Osgood, George Richford, Convivium Label UK.
Open discussion and Q&A session, moderated by Dr Ian Pace (c. 20 minutes)
Bozhidar Chapkanov is a final-year PhD student in Music at City, University of London. His music-analytical study titled Harmony in Franz Liszt’s late Piano Music – Functional and Transformational Analytical Perspectives is supervised by Dr Shay Loya. The on-going doctoral work has been presented at conferences internationally, including the annual conference of the Italian Group for Music Theory and Analysis in Rimini (2018 and 2019), Música Analítica in Porto, Portugal (2019), and the conference of the French Society for Music Analysis in Paris (2019), while forthcoming papers are featured in the programs of the SMI & ICTM Ireland plenary conference, the Music Analysis conference of the British Society for Music Analysis and EUROMAC Moscow, all to be held later this year.
Bozhidar holds a Master’s degree in Composition from the National Music Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria (2014-2017) and a BMus from the University of Huddersfield (2010-2013). He has been enjoying playing the piano since the age of six and taken part in hundreds of concerts in his formative years, including three solo recitals.
Natalie Tsaldarakis is a London-based, Greek pianist. Her earlier studies in piano performance saw her working with several Juilliard pianists (Dimitri Toufexis, Dr Bedford, Dr McHugh) which first set her on a path to researching pianistic traditions. At the conclusion of her graduate studies in the US and in recognition of excellence in performance Natalie was elected member of the American National Music Honour Society Pi Kappa Lambda, and upon her return to Greece became assistant and mentee of new music specialist, concert pianist Danae Kara (1994-1996). Natalie received further coaching from pianists Elena Riu and Martino Tirimo, first at Trinity Laban Conservatoire and then at Morley College (2005-2008), while also studying for a second Master's degree (the first being in piano performance) under well-known musicologists such as John Rink and Nicholas Cook at Royal Holloway (2007). Natalie’s ongoing research interests in the largely untold British history of pianism, have led her to pursue PhD studies under Dr Ian Pace at City with a focus on pianist and pedagogue Gordon Green (1905-1981).
Natalie’s commitment to education has seen her spend a decade as lecturer and artist teacher in residence at the American College of Greece (1995-2005), piano professor of conservatoires including the National Conservatoire of Greece (1997-2006), and Coordinator for Higher Education Music Provision at Canterbury College (2008-2010). She has also lectured on a wide range of topics and given masterclasses in Greece, UK, and Serbia EPTA.
Natalie’s performing career includes solo and chamber music concerts (mainly as member of the Ivory Duo Piano Ensemble with her husband Panayotis Archontides) in Greece, US, Finland, Serbia, and the UK, including Southbank's Women of the World Festival, Glasgow City Halls, St John's Smith Square, St-Martin-in-the-Fields, Steinway Hall, Blackheath Halls, St James Piccadilly, besides a longstanding relationship with Morley College in collaboration with the Cornelius Cardew Concerts Trust of which she was also a trustee (2016-2021). Her performances have been broadcast on the National Greek Radio (ERA-1, ERA-3), UK’s Resonance FM 104.4, and BBC Radio 3.
Natalie has published a review in the North American British Music Studies Association newsletter (2019), and her revival recording of Helen Hagan's piano concerto with the Ivory Duo Piano Ensemble can be heard in Yale University's commemorative video of the composer (2017) which further led to the ensemble's inclusion in the American Piano Concerto Compendium (W. Phemister, 2018) and was recently also featured on WQXR’s Hear Me Out series (2021). The ensemble's earlier successes led to their inclusion in the exhaustive Dictionary of Greek Music by T. Kalogeropoulos (Athens, 1998). Natalie’s chapter Classical Music in the Present on meaning and relevance is published in June 2021 (Vernon Press, Lawrence Kramer and Alberto Nones, editors).
Since 2020 Natalie is a Convivium label Artist. The first CD Elements of London (2020) under this label featured works for piano duet by British composers Hugh Shrapnel and John E. Lewis. Recently, Natalie recorded two further CDs under the label with music by Hugh Benham, Clive Osgood, and George Richford for both piano duet (with the Ivory Duo Piano Ensemble) and for piano solo (release in 2022). The selections for this lecture-recital have been taken from this newly recorded repertoire.