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Yale in NY offers piano music for four and six hands

February 4, 2009

Piano

Featuring pianists Boris Berman, Claude Frank, Elizabeth Parisot, Wei-Yi Yang

The Yale School of Music presents “One and Two Pianos, Four and Six Hands,” a fascinating program of music by Mozart, Schnittke, and Stravinsky, on Wednesday, February 4 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall. Eminent pianists from the School of Music include Boris Berman, Claude Frank, Elizabeth Parisot, Ilya Poletaev, Wei-Yi-Yang, and Dean Robert Blocker. Alumna Pei-Yao Wang and student Reinis Zarins will also perform. In reviews of recent Yale in New York performances, the New York Times praised Berman’s “fluency” and Yang’s “virtuosity.”

The first half of the program highlights works of Mozart, opening with the overture to The Marriage of Figaro arranged for piano six hands. This unusual transcription was created by the renowned piano pedagogue and composer Carl Czerny, who was born in 1791, the year of Mozart’s death. This is followed by Mozart’s Andante with Five Variations for Piano Duet in G major, K. 501, for piano four hands, and the Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K. 448.

The evening’s second half opens with another novelty for six hands: the seldom-performed Homage to Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich by Alfred Schnittke. The evening ends with a masterpiece, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in the composer’s own transcription for piano four hands. Months before the groundbreaking Rite premiered in Paris in 1913, Stravinsky himself played this four-hand version with none other than Claude Debussy, who later remarked that the piece haunted him like “a beautiful nightmare.”

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