Fiery Pianist Ciro Foderé Will Visit Sottile

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

ciro_fodere_cropTHE INTERNATIONAL PIANO SERIES at the College of Charleston is heating up again.

Ciro Foderé’s latest performances have been described as “masterful, electric, fiery and lyrical” and “edge-of-the-seat thrilling.” As a First Prize winner of the Bartok-Kabalevsky-Prokofieff International Competition, he has performed Saint-Saens, Liszt, and Gershwin Concertos with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Rachmaninoff Third with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, and a Mozart Concerto in Sendai, Japan.

Foderé is a graduate of the College of Charleston as well as a Master of Arts student under Artist-in-Residence (and fellow Uruguayan) Enrique Graf, with whom he studied at Carnegie Mellon University. While completing a four-year fellowship at the New World Symphony, Foderé performed Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Variations, and a Beethoven Concerto with the Philharmonic of Florida, and the Miami Symphony. In the process, he collaborated with the likes of Joshua Bell, Renee Fleming, and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Tuesday, February 19
8 PM • Sottile Theatre, 44 George St • (843) 953-6575
Tickets $20 at the door
(under 18 and CofC students free)

Program Notes by Lindsay Koob

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was the pioneering French Impressionist composer, credited with creating an entirely new style of “tone-painting” that broke with the prevalent late romantic musical language of his day and ushered in the radically new musical movements of the 20th Century. His many magical piano compositions illustrate the evolution of his revolutionary techniques more completely than any other genre he worked with.

His Jardins sous la pluie (Garden in the Rain)—from his three-piece cycle known as Estampes—is his musical impression of a French garden as it is enveloped by a heavy rainstorm: complete with high winds and thunder. Listen for its turbulent mix of chromatic and whole-tone harmonies, Reflets dans l’eau (reflections on the water), from his first volume of Images, is a spectacularly effective example of his many “water” studies, using fleeting melodic fragments, ambiguous harmonies and varied tone colors to suggest the ever-shifting play of light upon a watery surface. L’isle Joyeuse (Island of Joy)—written after he had eloped with another woman to the Isle of Jersey following the collapse of his first marriage—radiates an almost feverish sense of impassioned happiness. Listen for its nearly symphonic scale and sound, relentless rhythmic drive, and Debussy’s unique bag of musical tricks: fragmented melodies, multi-layered sonorities, and whole-tone harmonies.

The story goes that, after Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909) had finished the twelve pieces of his Iberia Suite in 1908, he almost refused to have it published, due to its prodigious technical difficulty: not surprising, considering his primary reputation as a brilliant piano virtuoso. Each of the work’s twelve substantial pieces is a colorful musical characterization of a different region or city of Spain, written in a distinctly impressionistic style. Our artist delivers here the first three of the suite’s 12 impressionistic (and fiendishly difficult) pieces, beginning with Evocacion: a nostalgic prelude of sorts to the cycle. El Puerto—overflowing with arresting rhythms and tone colors—takes us to the picturesque Spanish port of Cadiz; Corpus Christi en Sevilla—the set’s only piece to quote actual folk tunes—evokes a religious procession through the streets of Seville, the Andalusian region’s capital.

The late piano master Earl Wild—who has thrilled Charleston audiences with several unforgettable appearances in this very recital series—was widely known for his many sensitive and appealing piano transcriptions of other composers’ works. Among these are twelve remarkable piano arrangements of original art songs by Russian icon Sergei Rachmaninoff (1872-1943), whose wonderful vocal miniatures seldom get the attention they deserve outside of Russia. The three selections here begin with In the Silent Night, presenting an engaging, yet bewildering mix of conflicting love-related emotions in a piece that ranges from tranquil serenity to helpless, lovesick confusion. Where Beauty Dwells impresses with its haunting sense of wistful reverie; a perfect foil to Floods of Spring, with its mad outpouring of passion’s power.

Rachmaninoff composed his lush Piano Sonata No. 2 in 1913, but revised it in 1931—and it is this condensed (120 bars shorter) version that is most often performed today. Rachmaninoff dives into the work with a slashing, arpeggiated downward plunge, before nearly drowning the listener in a rhapsodic torrent of tense and neurotic music. The slow movement follows without a pause, offering tender and exquisitely elegiac relief—before taking it to a level of feverish intensity. Another sudden downward slash announces the stormy and nervous finale, alternating between a frantic march-parody and moments of incredible lyric intensity. It ends in a blaze of virtuosic glory.

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Learn more about the International Piano Series.

The International Piano Series is directed by CofC Artist-in-Residence, Enrique Graf.

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It is with life as it is with art: the deeper one penetrates, the broader the view.                   
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