USA/RUSSIAEugene Ugorski andKonstantin LifschitzWHENMonday 21 FebruaryWHEREAlbany Entertainment CentreThis performance is 1 hour and 45 minutes including interval11 February–7 Marchperthfestival.com.au
2EUGENE UGORSKI ANDKONSTANTIN LIFSCHITZMONDAY 21 FEBRUARYALBANY ENTERTAINMENT CENTREThis performance is 1 hour and 45 minutes including intervalJohannes Brahms (1833–1897)Scherzo for Violin and Piano in C minor, WoO 2 ‘FAESonata’ (1853)Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)Violin Sonata No.3 in D minor, Op.108 (1888)i. Allegroii. Adagioiii. Un poco presto e con sentimentovi. Presto agitatoINTERVALErnest Chausson (1855–1899)Poème for violin and piano, Op.25 (1896)César Franck (1822–1890)Violin Sonata in A major (1886)i. Adagio sostenuto – Presto – Adagioii. Andante con variazioniiii. PrestoProgram Note1853 was an auspicious year for the 21-year-old JohannesBrahms. In April he met the great violinist Joachim, andduring an eight-week stay with Joachim in Göttingen overthe summer the two struck a deep and enduring musicalfriendship. On Joachim’s suggestion, in September Brahmstravelled to Düsseldorf and met Robert and Clara Schumann.Joachim was booked to travel to Düsseldorf in October, and,as a surprise, Schumann, Brahms and a fellow composer AlbertDietrich decided to contribute a movement each to a sonatafor violin and piano to present to Joachim. The resultant workwas named the ‘FAE Sonata’ after Joachim’s motto: ‘Frie abereinsam’ (free but alone), and Brahms’s contribution was theScherzo in C minor.If the galloping and brilliant Scherzo shows us Brahms at hismost youthful and eager, his Violin Sonata No.3 in D minoris the utterance of a composer at the height of his fame andpower. First sketched while Brahms was on holiday at thealpine Lake Thun in the summer of 1886 and completed in1888, the work is cast in four concise movements, as distinctfrom the three-movement structure of his two earlier violinsonatas. The first movement is noteworthy for its developmentsection, which takes place entirely over a pedal note in thebass that lasts for 46 bars. Both the melancholy but tendersecond movement and the whimsical third demonstrateBrahms’s ability to capture deep feeling within relatively shortmusical spans, while the final movement, a turbulent andrelentless sonata rondo, is truly symphonic in scope.For all their technical mastery and emotional depth, Brahms’slate works were not universally welcomed in late 19th-centuryEurope outside the newly formed German Empire.This was an age of intense nationalism, and across Europe –and particularly in France – composers were eager to escapefrom the Austro-Germanic artistic hegemony.Cesar Franck (1822–90), a native of Liege in FrenchspeakingBelgium who had settled in Paris in 1834, by the1880s had become the focus of a particularly nationalisticgroup of younger composers at the Paris Conservatoire.Interestingly, Franck’s reputation as a bastion of French musicsits oddly with much of his oeuvre, which seems to standquite comfortably within the Austro-Germanic tradition. Hisjustly famous Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major (1886)is perhaps his most ‘French’ piece. The opening bars featurea sensuous, ambiguous sonority on the piano and a dreamy,wandering violin line, and the work as a whole is notable for itsgorgeous melodies and sonorities. The Sonata was written forthe wedding of the violinist Eugene Ysaye, and in the ecstatictwo-part canons of the work’s closing movement it is difficultnot to hear a song of joy for the newly married couple.Ernest Chausson (1855–99) was one of Franck’s circle at theParis Conservatoire, and his Poème Op.25 (1896), originallyfor violin and orchestra, was also dedicated to Eugene Ysaye.The work’s program is derived from a short story by IvanTurgenev entitled ‘The Song of Triumphant Love’. The storyconcerns two young friends who love the same woman. One,an artist, wins her hand, and the other, a violinist, travels tothe East to allow his broken heart time to mend. Years laterthe musician returns, and after dinner with his friend and hiswife, plays a long and passionate song of happy and satisfiedlove that he learned on the isle of Ceylon. Chausson’s Poèmeis a realisation of that fictional performance. With its daringand voluptuous harmony, laced with the scent of the Orient,Chausson’s work departs decisively from the Austro-Germanic19th-century lingua franca and illustrates powerfully how,under the influence of nationalism, musical language fracturedand styles proliferated as the 20th century approached.Note by Paul HopwoodPERFORMER BIOGRAPHIESEugene UgorskiBorn in 1989 in St Petersburg, EugeneUgorski is being hailed as one of themost exciting young violinists of today.Having made his orchestral debut withthe San Diego Symphony Orchestra atthe age of eight, Ugorski has alreadyperformed concerts with orchestrasin Western Europe, Russia, Canada,the USA, South America and the FarEast, working with conductors such as Valery Gergiev, AndreyBoreyko, Eri Klas, Keith Lockhart and Roberto Minczuk.Eugene Ugorski was launched onto the international scenefollowing an invitation from Gergiev to perform at the MoscowEaster Festival in 2005. The concert was an enormous successand was broadcast around the world. As a result Gergievimmediately invited him to perform with the RotterdamPhilharmonic that season.In the 2007/8 season, Ugorski returned to Rotterdam toperform in four special concerts celebrating the New Year.Other highlights of the season included debuts with the BBCSymphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestraand the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He also madea trip to South Korea for his debut with the SeoulPhilharmonic Orchestra.
3Highlights of the 2008/9 season included two concerts withthe Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the HollywoodBowl, a performance of Paganini Violin Concerto No.1 withthe Houston Symphony Orchestra under Hans Graf and hisJapanese debut with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphonyplaying Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole. European appearancesincluded his debut with the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestraand a tour of the Netherlands with the Royal LiverpoolPhilharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vassily Petrenko playingthe Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.Recently, Ugorski made his debut with the LondonPhilharmonic Orchestra, DSO Berlin, Tampere Philharmonic,Malmö Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, RTÉ Dublinand with the Vienna Kammerphilharmonie at the ViennaKonzerthaus. He also returned to the Rotterdam Philharmonictaking over concerts at the last minute from an indisposedLeonidas Kavakos playing the Stravinsky concerto withRobin Ticciati.As a recitalist, Ugorski first collaborated with pianist KonstantinLifschitz at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germanyto great acclaim, and in September 2009 the pair playedfour concerts at the Enescu Festival in Romania. In January2010, the duo released a recital DVD for VAI of works byBach, Brahms, Strauss, Szymanowski, Ravel and Tchaikovsky.Future engagements together include debuts at the WigmoreHall in London, the Beethovenfest in Bonn, Tivoli Festival inCopenhagen and the Lucerne Festival.Eugene Ugorski began studying the violin at the age of sixwith Professor Vesna Gruppman. He continues to study withVesna as well as with Igor Gruppman, one of the world’s mostrespected concertmasters.Konstantin Lifschitz completed his studies at the GnessinSchool of Music in 1994 with a performance of Bach’sGoldberg Variations. The concert was recorded by theJapanese record label Denon, and upon the release of thealbum, the critic Edward Rothstein of The New York Timeswrote that it was ‘the most powerful pianistic interpretationsince Gould’. In 1995, Lifschitz received an Echo Klassik Awardas ‘European Young Artist of the Year’ on the strength of thisrecording. In 1996, the Goldberg Variations recording wasnominated for a Grammy Award.Among the many eminent orchestras with which he hasappeared are the New York Philharmonic (under MstislavRostropovich), the Chicago Symphony, the San FranciscoSymphony, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields (underSir Neville Mariner), the Moscow Philharmonic (under YuriSimonov), the New Amsterdam Sinfonietta, the DanishNational Radio Symphony Orchestra (under ChristopherHogwood), the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, and theBeethoven Orchestra of Bonn (under Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau).In 2003, he became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Musicin London, which followed his being made an Associate twoyears earlier by the Committee of Royal Musical Institutions.Konstantin Lifschitz is dedicated to performing chamber musicwith his colleagues and peers. His collaborators include theviolinists Maxim Vengerov, Gidon Kremer and Leila Josefowiczand the cellists Mstislav Rostropovich, Misha Maisky and LynnHarrell. In addition to his vast repertoire of hundreds of pieces,he has more than 20 solo albums to his credit.Konstantin LifschitzKnown the world over for his exquisitemusical sensibility, nuanced playingand poetic, profound and stirringinterpretations, Konstantin Lifschitz hasbeen performing for audiences since theage of nine in the great concert halls andcentres for culture in the United States,Europe, Israel, Australia, New Zealand,Brazil, South Africa, Singapore, Korea,Hong Kong, China, Japan and hisnative Russia.A continually expanding range of pieces – including some 800works from the solo, concerto and chamber music repertoire,as well as a substantial and growing collection of works whichhe has transcribed for the keyboard – express not only thevastness of Maestro Lifschitz’s musical language but his deepdevotion to the extensive body of existing literature by thegreat composers.Born in Russia in 1976, Kosntantin Lifschitz was five yearsold when he was accepted into the preparatory class at theGnessin School of Music in Moscow, where he was taught byTatyana Zelikman, one of Russia’s most famous piano teachers.In 1989, at the age of 13, he presented a landmark recital in theOctober Hall of the House of Unions in Moscow. The capacitycrowd’s overwhelming enthusiasm, along with local criticalacclaim, established him as a major artist, ready to take hisplace alongside the elite of legendary Russian pianists. Thefollowing year, a grant from the Russian Culture foundationenabled him to fulfil a series of concert engagements in Paris,Munich, Milan and other European music centres.