CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Sept. 10, 1999
Pianist Tsachor to present familiar, unfamiliar versions
of Romantic pieces Sept. 26
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Pianist Uriel Tsachor will present
a free recital of music from the heart of the German Romantic repertoire --
works by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms -- along with a piece by Israeli
composer Paul Ben-Haim, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, in Clapp Recital Hall
on the University of Iowa campus.
In his recent recordings and the recitals he has given
on campus since he joined the UI music faculty in 1988, Tsachor has explored
unfamiliar ways of hearing works from the mainstream of 19th-century music.
Like many performers today, he has gone beyond the standard repertoire, but
unlike some, he does not play unknown works just for their novelty value.
Instead, Tsachor's explorations have taken two principal
directions: he has played familiar piano pieces in unfamiliar editions, discovering
new expressive possibilities for well known music; and he has played piano
versions of pieces that are better known from other media, bringing those
works into a new realm of sound. Both approaches are represented in the program
for the Sept. 26 recital.
The program will include four of Mendelssohn's popular
"Songs without Words" -- shorter piano pieces that have a lyrical, or song-like
quality. For one of the four -- the "Song without Words" in B minor, op. 30
no. 4 -- Tsachor will be using the little known British edition instead of
the more standard German edition. Both editions appeared in the composer's
lifetime, and according to Tsachor, both were authorized by Mendelssohn.
"These pieces were so popular they were published in different
editions all over Europe," Tsachor said. "Today, everyone plays the German
edition, but I find the British edition to be better. The differences are
slight, but the British edition is more cheerful. It is almost jubilant, where
the German edition is much more subdued in mood."
In an even more unusual departure from familiar territory,
Tsachor will play Brahms's own solo piano arrangement of the second movement
of his String Sextet in B-flat, op. 18. "This is one of several piano transcriptions
that Brahms made, always on Sept. 13, which was the birthday of his good friend
Clara Schumann," Tsachor explained.
"This arrangement was sent to Clara in1860, exactly one
year after he had finished the Sextet. That was a piece that Clara especially
loved, so Brahms sent her the piano arrangement as a birthday present. Although
it is a slow piece, it is very difficult. This was definitely intended for
one of the finest pianists of the times, which Clara was. Brahms did not take
even a single note out of the score -- it is that faithful to the original,
which makes it very hard to play."
Another piece on the program -- heard in its usual solo
piano format -- is also related to Clara Schumann. Robert Schumann's Fantasy
in C major, op. 17, one of the most challenging and revered pieces in the
piano repertoire, was written 1836-38, during a period when the young composer
was separated from Clara, then his bride-to-be.
"The piece is full of expressions of yearning and abrupt,
violent mood changes," Tsachor said. "It is one of Schumann's stormiest and
desperate-sounding pieces, but at the same time, it's a wonderfully balanced
piece. Schumann successfully joins all the different moods and feelings with
a mature, balanced technique, so the Fantasy is really a masterpiece."
Two other works on the program will be Ben-Haim's Nocturne,
op. 20b, a gloomy, expressive combination of neo-Romantic style with long
chains of mid-Eastern melismatic motives; and to close the recital, Brahms's
Scherzo, op. 4, in E-flat minor -- the very earliest known piece by Brahms,
which Tsachor describes as "young, young Brahms, but where you can see all
the great pianistic things to come."
Tsachor joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in
the fall of 1988. The first prize-winner of the Bosendorfer Empire International
Competition in 1986, the second prize-winner of the Busoni Competition in
1985 and a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition in 1983, he is
a graduate of the Rubin Academy in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and the Juilliard School
in New York. He has performed as a soloist in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, New York,
Chicago, Vienna, Paris, and other cities around the world.
Tsachor has performed with the Israel Philharmonic by
invitation from Zubin Mehta. He has also appeared as soloist with the New
York City Symphony, the Teatro La Fenice Symphony in Venice and the National
Orchestra of Belgium, among others. He has performed both live and in recordings
for radio and television stations in Israel, Europe and the United States,
and he has made recordings for the EMI, Musical Heritage Society, PHONIC,
DIVOX, Olympia and EMS labels.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr
on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/