CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Nov. 1, 2002
NOSIKOVA WILL PLAY PIANO WORKS OF BRAHMS AND LISZT ON NOV. 16 RECITAL
Ksenia Nosikova from the University of Iowa School of Music will pair two
of the icons of 19th-cetury Romanticism -- composers Johannes Brahms and Franz
Liszt -- on a free faculty recital at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, in Clapp Recital
Hall on the UI campus.
By Brahms, Nosikova will play the Variations and Fugue on a theme of
Handel, op 24, considered one of the composers .greatest keyboard
works. And she will play several works by Liszt, a composer that she has frequently
programmed in her solo recitals: the Polonaise melancolique in
C minor; selections from the massive collection Annees de Pelerinage
(Years of Pilgrimage); and the Polonaise No. 2 in E Major.
Brahms completed the Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Handel
in September 1861. It was published without dedication, but was intended as
a birthday gift for Clara Schumann -- the wife of composer Robert Schumann
and a supporter of Brahms music. The manuscript is labeled Variations
for a beloved friend.
The theme is taken from a set of pieces for keyboard the Handel wrote in
1733. Handel had written five conventional variations on the theme, which
is very simple and direct and therefore ideal for the variations treatment.
Brahms created a much larger construction on the theme, however, with no fewer
than 25 variations of various kinds. It is in fact a demonstration of his
mastery of both historical knowledge and compositional technique, with a series
of variations in different Baroque styles -- a siciliano, a musette, a chromatic
fantasy, several strict canons and other contrapuntal types. The grand finale
is the large-scale fugue, which again shows off the composers mastery
of contrapuntal techniques.
Franz Liszt was one of the greatest pianists, and most influential musicians,
of the 19th century. Displaying both an astonishing technique and an extravagant
personality, he created a sensation in his performances. One of the first
musical super-stars, he was largely responsible for the ideal of the flamboyant
virtuoso. He was also an important and original composer who wrote orchestral
tone poems, songs and sacred choral music in addition to his many difficult
virtuoso show pieces for piano.
Liszt worked on the Annees de Pelerinage almost constantly throughout
his life. The first pieces were published as early as 1836, when the composer
was 25 years old, and the final book was published in 1883, three years before
Liszts death. Thus it is the only work that spans his lifetime, from
his years of study in Paris, to his years as a traveling virtuoso, and his
later years in Weimar and Rome. In its entirety, the Annees de Pelerinage
is considered a musical self portrait that covers many aspects of Liszts
The colossal cycle consists of three volumes. The first, Switzerland,
records Liszts experiences while traveling in Switzerland in 1837. The
second, Italy, records his impressions of travels through Italy
with the glamorous Countess Marie dAgoult. And the Third Book is a document
of Liszts years of religious pilgrimage in Rome, late in his life, between
the years 1867 and 1877. Rather than sets of sound paintings, it is a set
of seven predominantly religious meditations.
Nosikova will play three pieces from the third set: To the Cypresses
of the Villa dEste I and II, and The Fountains of the Villa
The two polonaises that will open and close the Liszt portion of the program
were both completed in 1851 and were influenced by the death of Frederic Chopin,
the Polish composer and contemporary of Liszt, who had died in 1849. The First
Polonaise is subtitled Melancolique and is a gloomy and introspective
work. The Second is the more popular of the two, undoubtedly due to its rhythmic
liveliness and pianistic fireworks.
Nosikova, who joined the UI faculty in 1998, has performed extensively as
a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States Europe and South
America. She presented two solo recitals in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie
Hall in New York City in 1996 and 2001 and has been a guest soloist with symphony
and wind orchestras in Colorado, Louisiana and Iowa. In addition she has been
invited to perform at international festivals in Munster, France; Rimini,
Italy; and Rovin, Yugoslavia; as well as the Aspen and Sarasota Music Festivals
in the United States.
A critic in the Boston Globe wrote, Nosikova again displayed impressive
musicianship, and in Alsace, France, a review noted, her performance
is brilliant, full of grace and the most astonishing precision. New
York Concert Reviews noted, in her Weill Hall recital, the space bloomed
with fresh colors and supple pulse, an invigorating and pleasing effusion.
In addition to international appearances in France, England, Brazil and Argentina,
she has performed as a guest artist at several American universities, including
the universities of Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. She received
a return invitation to the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago and concert series
in England and Moscow for the 2002-03 season
The Italy volume of her three- CD set of the complete Years of Pilgrimage
by Franz Liszt was released by Centaur Records in March 2001. The year 2003
will see the release of the Switzerland volume the and recording of the third
and final volume of the set. She has also recorded a disk of chamber music
works for viola and piano by early 20th-century English composers Rebecca
Clarke, Arthur Bliss and Frank Bridge with her UI colleague Christine Rutledge.
Nosikova has presented master classes in England and both North and South
America. The winner of several international competitions, she regularly serves
the Ibla Grand Prize International Competition in Italy as a jury member.
She is listed in Whos Who in America and Whos Who in American
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
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