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Angela Cheng, piano | February 25, 2024 | House Program

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CLASSICAL / VIRTUOSI SOLOIST SERIES<br />

ANGELA CHENG<br />

Solo Piano<br />

FEBRUARY <strong>25</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>, AT 2:30 PM<br />

CLASSICAL / VIRTUOSI SOLOIST SERIES<br />

ANGELA CHENG<br />

Solo Piano<br />

FEBRUARY <strong>25</strong>, <strong>2024</strong>, AT 2:30 PM


CLASSICAL / VIRTUOSI SOLOIST SERIES<br />

ANGELA CHENG<br />

Solo Piano<br />

PROGRAM<br />

HAYDN<br />

Piano Sonata in C Major, Hob. XVI/50<br />

Allegro<br />

Adagio<br />

Allegro molto<br />

MOZART Piano Sonata No. 10 in C Major, K. 330<br />

Allegro moderato<br />

Andante cantabile<br />

Allegretto<br />

BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 31 in A Flat Major, Op. 110<br />

Moderato cantabile molto espressivo<br />

Allegro molto<br />

Adagio ma non troppo – Fuga: Allegro ma non troppo<br />

INTERMISSION<br />

CHOPIN Nocturne in D Flat Major, Op.27, No. 2<br />

Polonaise-Fantasie in A Flat Major, Op. 61<br />

Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23<br />

Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 52


PROGRAM NOTES<br />

The career of Viennese composer Franz Joseph<br />

Haydn (1732-1809) coincided with a musical shift in<br />

tastes, as the monothematic instrumental music of<br />

the late Baroque evolved into the classical sonata<br />

with its emphasis on contrasting melodic ideas<br />

contained within a single movement. Recognizing<br />

Haydn’s originality and models, both Wolfgang<br />

Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Ludwig van<br />

Beethoven (1770-1827) were known<br />

to remark on their indebtedness to Haydn.<br />

The Haydn sonata opening this concert was likely<br />

the last one Haydn composed and dates from<br />

1794. A confidently mature work, it displays a<br />

resourceful economy of motivic material. This can<br />

be heard in the way the opening three notes are<br />

continually isolated and reinterpreted, as well as in<br />

the compactness of the final movement’s sparkling<br />

rondo that races to the finish line in under three<br />

minutes.<br />

Mozart’s sonata in the same key was composed<br />

a decade earlier than the Haydn and is built<br />

more prominently around longer melodic lines<br />

in the right hand, usually supported by brokenchord<br />

figuration in the left. Of note, is the slow<br />

movement’s digression to a very sombre F minor<br />

that continually stresses a throbbing repeated-note<br />

pedal point.<br />

Ludwig van Beethoven’s earliest <strong>piano</strong> sonatas<br />

date from 1795, and of the 32 he composed,<br />

only Op. 110 is in A flat major. This work has an<br />

intensely dramatic focus, prominently heard in<br />

the third movement’s expressive recitative-like<br />

passages that lead into a Bach-like fugue based<br />

on a subject of rising perfect fourth intervals. This<br />

fugue subject reveals the organic nature of the<br />

entire work as its pitches follow the main notes of<br />

the opening movement’s gentle theme. The brevity<br />

of the second movement’s F minor Scherzo, and<br />

the way it abruptly ends with an arpeggiated F<br />

Major chord that resolves into the slow movement,<br />

also suggest that Beethoven viewed this work as<br />

one continuous overarching structure. The last<br />

movement’s reworking of the slow movement’s<br />

recitative-like theme after the initial fugue, is<br />

always an astounding moment, especially given<br />

the way it sets up an entirely new fugal section<br />

and coda, all based on the fugue subject turned<br />

upside down and employed in combination with<br />

the original version.<br />

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) composed almost<br />

exclusively for the <strong>piano</strong> and his own performance<br />

opportunities, although he preferred playing in<br />

the more intimate settings of a Paris salon than on<br />

the concert stage. In genres such as the Nocturne<br />

and Polonaise, Chpoin’s operatic-like approach<br />

to melodic ornamentation and the incorporation<br />

of Polish dance elements, lend his music a<br />

distinctiveness that is often quite recognizable. The<br />

Polonaise-Fantasie is a late work and, from the very<br />

first page with its surprising harmonic shifts and<br />

slow cadenza-like exploration of the keyboard, it is<br />

apparent that the fantasy element will be a primary<br />

compositional motivator. As will also be heard in<br />

the two Ballades, it is in the transitions joining two<br />

sections together, where Chopin is often his most<br />

creative, either harmonically or virtuosically (or<br />

both). These moments provide the music with a<br />

forceful sense of momentum that in all three works,<br />

reaches its peak towards the music’s conclusion.<br />

©<strong>2024</strong> by John Burge for the Isabel<br />

ABOUT ANGELA CHENG<br />

Consistently praised for her brilliant technique,<br />

tonal beauty, and superb musicianship, Canadian<br />

pianist <strong>Angela</strong> <strong>Cheng</strong> is one of her country’s<br />

national treasures. In addition to regular guest<br />

appearances with virtually every orchestra in<br />

Canada, she has performed with the symphonies<br />

of Saint Louis, Houston, Indianapolis, Colorado,<br />

Utah, San Diego and Jacksonville, as well as the<br />

philharmonic orchestras of Buffalo, Louisiana,<br />

Rhode Island, London, Israel and Minas Gerais<br />

in Brazil.<br />

Recent performances include a debut with the<br />

Fort Worth Symphony, performing Rachmaninoff’s<br />

“Variations on a Theme of Paganini,” under the<br />

baton of Robert Spano, and a return to the<br />

Vancouver Symphony, performing Ravel’s Concerto<br />

in G with Otto Tausk. Next season will include the<br />

Boulder Philharmonic, Newfoundland Symphony,<br />

Okanagan Symphony, Saskatoon Symphony,


Saguenay Symphony and the Symphony of<br />

Northwest Arkansas.<br />

<strong>Angela</strong> <strong>Cheng</strong> has performed recitals and<br />

concertos at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center<br />

in Washington, D.C., the 92nd Street Y in New<br />

York, and Wigmore Hall in London. She appears<br />

regularly on recital series throughout the United<br />

States and Canada and has collaborated with<br />

numerous chamber ensembles including the<br />

Takács, Colorado, and Vogler quartets. North<br />

American festival performances include Banff,<br />

Chautauqua, Colorado, Great Lakes Chamber<br />

Music, Vancouver, Toronto, and the Festival<br />

International de Lanaudière in Quebec.<br />

Ms. <strong>Cheng</strong> has made several recordings for CBC,<br />

including discs of Mozart and Shostakovich<br />

concerti and a CD of four Spanish concerti with<br />

Hans Graf and the Calgary Philharmonic. In<br />

addition, an all Chopin recital CD has been<br />

released by Universal Music Canada.<br />

<strong>Angela</strong> <strong>Cheng</strong> has been Gold Medalist of the<br />

Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters<br />

Competition, as well as the first Canadian to<br />

win the prestigious Montreal International Piano<br />

Competition. Other awards include the Canada<br />

Council’s coveted Career Development Grant<br />

and the Medal of Excellence for outstanding<br />

interpretations of Mozart from the Mozarteum<br />

in Salzburg, Austria.<br />

A native of Hong Kong, Ms. <strong>Cheng</strong> studied<br />

extensively with Menahem Pressler at Indiana<br />

University and with Sascha Gorodnitzki at The<br />

Juilliard School. She is currently on the artist<br />

faculty of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music,<br />

where she was honored with the 2011-12<br />

Excellence in Teaching Award. •<br />

SPECIAL<br />

EVENT!<br />

BADER & OVERTON CANADIAN<br />

PIANO COMPETITION WINNER<br />

Jonathan<br />

Mak, <strong>piano</strong><br />

CLASSICAL / SOLOIST<br />

Tues, May 21, <strong>2024</strong> at 7:30pm<br />

Winner of the 2023 inaugural Bader &<br />

Overton Canadian Piano Competition and<br />

one of CBC’s 30 hot Canadian classical<br />

musicians under 30, Jonathan Mak has<br />

already made his mark on the world<br />

stage as a guest soloist with numerous<br />

orchestras. Mak will take the Isabel stage<br />

performing a program of repertoire by<br />

Bach, Schumann, and Prokofiev.<br />

TICKETS: General Public $30+ / Faculty/Staff $27+ / Student $10<br />

queensu.ca/theisabel

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