Saturday, December 5, 2015
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Zeynep Ucbasaran and Sergio Gallo
Works for Piano Four Hands
- Benjamin Godard: “Berceuse” from Jocelyn, arr. Preston W. Orem
- Charles Gounod: Faust
“Melodie d’amour” arr. Hans Engelmann
“Waltz”, arr. W. P. Mero
- Georges Bizet: Overture from Carmen, arr. Orem
- Franz Liszt: Two Episodes from Lenau’s Faust
Der nächtliche Zug (The Nocturnal Procession)
Mephisto Waltz No. 1
- Darius Milhaud: Le boeuf sur le toit, Op. 58
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 concert features music for piano four hands from the Romantic and Contemporary periods, performed by Zeynep Ucbasaran and Sergio Gallo.
The program opens with Max Reger’s Introduction and Passacaglia, an imposing work from the German expressionist composer who held the post of Music Director and Professor at the Royal Conservatory in Leipzig. As expected, the music is complex and at times cerebral, but always exhibiting a Brahmsian solidity and Wagnerian grandeur.
A tender lullaby follows: Benjamin Godard’s elegantly compelling “Berceuse” from his opera Jocelyn, in an intriguing arrangement by Preston W. Orem. The plaintive character of this contemplative work perfectly captures the charm of the opera highlight.
Ucbasaran and Gallo next present two compositions from Charles Gounod’s opera Faust: the handsome “Melodie d’amour” (Love Song), transcribed by Hans Engelmann, and the captivating “Waltz,” transcribed by W. P. Mero. Salon favorites, these two operatic works are also often performed in their versions for piano solo as well as numerous instrumental combinations.
The Overture from Georges Bizet’s ever-popular opera Carmen provides striking contrast with its brilliant Spanish-inspired composite of the opera’s major thematic material. The arrangement of P. W. Orem definitely does Bizet’s wildly effective orchestration justice.
Next, the piano duo interprets Franz Liszt’s “Episode from Lenau’s Faust: Mephisto Waltz No. 1.” Liszt composed four Mephisto Waltzes — Nos. 1 and 2 for orchestra, Nos. 3 and 4 for piano solo. Liszt arranged the first two for piano solo, piano duet and two pianos, with No. 1 being the most performed and recorded. This version displays the composer’s bold dramatic flourishes, stunning emotional contrasts, and sure pianistic virtuosity.
Concluding the program will be Le boeuf sur le toit, Op. 58 (The Ox on the Roof), by Darius Milhaud. The title is that of an old Brazilian tango, one of close to 30 Brazilian tunes quoted in the composition, and the chamber orchestra score was originally written for a surrealist ballet (Pantomime farce) with scenario by Jean Cocteau and stage designs by Raoul Dufy. The lively and joyful spirit of the music inspired Milhaud to compose an arrangement for piano four hands.