Saturday, September 12, 2015
- David Noon: Elegy Variations, Op. 97
- Debussy: Four Preludes
- Joel Feigin: Four Elegies
- Bach-Busoni: Chaconne from the Violin Partita No. 2
Robert Cassidy, piano
Notes on the Program
by Betty Oberacker
One of the highlights of Santa Barbara Music Club’s concerts is the opportunity for audiences to hear great music from a variety of historical periods, with a diversity of musical forms, performed by excellent artists. This opening concert features internationally renowned pianist Robert Cassidy in a program highlighting beloved masterworks as well as new and exciting compositions.
The concert opens with Elegy Variations, Op. 97, by the prolific American composer David Noon, currently Professor Emeritus at the Manhattan School of Music. The work juxtaposes somber and introspective musings with mercurial emotional outbursts, providing an intense and ultimately peaceful musical tribute to a departed colleague.
Four Préludes by Claude Debussy follow, two from Book I: Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest (What the West Wind Has Seen), and La danse de Puck (The Dance of Puck); and two from Book II: Général Lavine – eccentric, and Feux d’artifice (Fireworks). Noteworthy in both books of Préludes is that the titles are not printed as a header above the first page, but as a footer on the last page, almost as an afterthought, possibly suggesting that the title is inspired by the music and not the other way around.
The next presentation is Four Elegies for Piano: In Memoriam Renée Longy (1897-1979) by Joel Feigin, UCSB Professor of Composition. Dr. Cassidy describes the work thusly: “… written in memory of Renée Longy, Feigin’s ear-training teacher at Juilliard. Expertly using the full range of the piano, Feigin bends your ear with tonality (or lack thereof), register, and a moving blend of chaotic gusts and then profoundly simple lines that tantalize your emotions.”
Concluding the program will be the Chaconne from the Partita II in D minor for Violin, BWV 1004 of Johann Sebastian Bach, arranged by the virtuoso pianist-composer Ferruccio Busoni. Bach was inspired to compose this Chaconne upon returning from a journey and learning of his wife’s passing; overcome with grief, he poured his emotions into this monumental tribute, which he appended to his already completed Second Partita. Busoni, in tribute to Bach’s eloquence, created the tour de force which has challenged and inspired pianists since its inception.