Program Notes: Piano Fantasies: 1905-1915
The period between 1905 and 1915 was a time of great innovation and experimentation in classical music. It was a time when composers were pushing the boundaries of traditional forms and techniques, creating new sounds and textures, and exploring a wide range of emotions and moods. This recital features three works from this period: R. Nathaniel Dett’s “In The Bottoms,” Maurice Ravel’s “Miroirs,” and Enrique Granados’ “Goyescas.”
R. Nathaniel Dett’s “In The Bottoms” is a suite of five pieces that paint a vivid portrait of life in the African American communities of the American South. Each movement evokes a different mood and setting, from the quiet and contemplative “Night” to the lively and energetic “Juba.” Dett’s use of folk melodies and rhythms, combined with his own compositional skill, creates a powerful and evocative work that is both a celebration of African American culture and a reflection on the struggles and challenges faced by its people.
Maurice Ravel’s “Miroirs” is a collection of five pieces that showcase the composer’s mastery of impressionism and his ability to create rich and vivid musical landscapes. Each movement is inspired by a different image or idea, from the fluttering wings of nocturnal moths in “Noctuelles” to the tolling of bells in “La vallée des cloches.” Ravel’s use of color and texture, combined with his exquisite sense of melody, creates a musical world that is both beautiful and haunting.
Enrique Granados’ “Goyescas” is a suite of six pieces that capture the spirit and energy of Spain in the early 20th century. The work is inspired by the paintings of Francisco Goya and features a variety of moods and emotions, from the flirtatious and playful “Los requiebros” to the hauntingly beautiful “Quejas, o La Maja y el ruiseñor.” Granados’ use of Spanish rhythms and melodies, combined with his own compositional skill, creates a work that is both deeply rooted in the culture of Spain and universal in its appeal.This recital concludes with “El pelele: Escena Goyesca,” an additional piece by Granados that captures the lively and colorful spirit of Goya’s paintings. This work, which features a fast and energetic tempo and a playful melody, is the perfect conclusion to this program of Piano Fantasies from 1905-1915.