Asiya Korepanova in Personal Piano Project
Midnight Pieces – Episode #1
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“Midnight Pieces’ is a project presenting 53 beautiful works from 53 composers (originally meant as one piece for each week of the year, plus one) – music, that is just perfect for night-time listening.
The pieces follow a hidden pattern: within each consecutive 4 works one is famous, one is by a Russian composer, one is obscure work and one is a transcription by yours truly.
These categories mix and match sometimes, but overall there are iconic and less-known pieces by well-known composers, quite a bit of breathtaking pieces by obscure composers and several world premieres of my transcriptions of rare and famous works of different authors.
I felt a need to fight the general fascination of the general audience with piano pieces that are primarily virtuosic encores (Volodos Turkish March etc), and wanted to create a project that fulfills the desire for aesthetic pleasure, for beauty of the music itself. It doesn’t mean there is no virtuosity there – there is plenty, but not as the main point at all.”
Asiya Korepanova and Pianists Corner offer you a weekly rendezvous. Each rendezvous will contain 4 pieces.
“For the opening piece, I wrote a transcription of a beautiful and rarely performed art song by American composer Amy Beach, and premiered it on the week of her 150th anniversary of birth in September, 2017. She wrote this song on a famous poem, “Extase,” by Victor Hugo where he describes his amazing spiritual experience. “Extase” comes from a cycle Beach wrote on Hugo’s poems.” A.K.
Amy Beach / Asiya Korepanova : Extase from Songs Opus 21(transcription for piano solo)
The Amy Beach cycle Opus 21 is written from Victor Hugo’s poems
Extase (English translation) :
I was alone beside the sea, upon a starry night.
And not a cloud was in the sky, and not a sail in sight.
Beyond the limits of the world far stretched my raptured eye,
And the forests and the mountains, and nature all around,
Seemed to unite in questioning, in vast and mingled sound,
The billows of the ocean, and the splendour of the sky.
And the golden stars of heaven, in their unnumbered crowd,
With a thousand harmonies, with voices clear and loud,
Replied, as low they bended down their radiant crowns of flame
And the blue floods that nought has power to govern or arrest,
Replied, as low they bended down, the foam upon their crest—
‘The Lord, our great Creator, His glory we proclaim!’
Extase (Les Orientales, 25 Novembre 1828) :
J’étais seul près des flots, par une nuit d’étoiles.
Pas un nuage aux cieux, sur les mers pas de voiles.
Mes yeux plongeaient plus loin que le monde réel.
Et les bois, et les monts, et toute la nature,
Semblaient interroger dans un confus murmure
Les flots des mers, les feux du ciel.
Et les étoiles d’or, légions infinies,
À voix haute, à voix basse, avec mille harmonies,
Disaient, en inclinant leurs couronnes de feu ;
Et les flots bleus, que rien ne gouverne et n’arrête,
Disaient, en recourbant l’écume de leur crête :
– C’est le Seigneur, le Seigneur Dieu !
“The second piece represents the extreme rarity of the piano repertoire. Did you know Bruckner wrote piano music? This is Erinnerung (Remembrance) by Anton Bruckner. For a long time, I only knew Bruckner as an author of glorious symphonies and profound masses and motets, as well as some pieces for strings. But piano? His style never struck me as being particularly pianistic… Erinnerung is a true gem which displays Bruckner’s typical structural approach to writing slow movements of his symphonies, where the initial simple melody develops gradually, supported by ever-growing secondary lines. I love how this piece features a beautiful climax and yet ends with a big question mark, leaving us craving for more.” A.K.
Anton Bruckner : Erinnerung in A-Flat major (1868)
“The third piece is the worldwide piano favorite, Debussy’s Clair de Lune. Everyone knows it, but not many remember its inspiration – a subtly delicious poem by Paul Verlaine:Your soul is a delicate landscape Where roam charming masks and bergamasques Playing the lute and dancing and seeming almost Sad under their whimsical disguises. While singing in a minor key Of victorious love and easy life They don’t seem to believe in their happiness And their song mingles with the moonlight, With the sad and beautiful moonlight, Which makes the birds in the trees dream And sob with ecstasy the water streams, The great slim water streams among the marbles.” A.K.
Claude Debussy : Suite bergamasque L 75 (1905) – 3. Clair de lune
Paul Verlaine – Clair de Lune (Fêtes galantes, 1869) :
Votre âme est un paysage choisi
Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi
Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.
Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur
L’amour vainqueur et la vie opportune
Ils n’ont pas l’air de croire à leur bonheur
Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,
Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,
Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres
Et sangloter d’extase les jets d’eau,
Les grands jets d’eau sveltes parmi les marbres.
“The fourth piece is Russian, and it is a Prelude by the Russian-Soviet Dmitry Kabalevsky, No.8 from his cycle of 24 preludes for piano! This cycle is considered one of Kabalevsky’s best compositions, and it definitely deserves to be played much more often than it gets to be these days. Many pianists were absolutely obsessed with this music in the mid-twentieth century, and now I am, too. Kabalevsky wrote his preludes, masterfully incorporating and developing different folk tunes, songs and dances into the texture of his music. I love how the Prelude No. 8 within just two minutes displays a character which is lyrical, slightly ironic, and passionate at the same time.” A.K.
Dmitry Kabalevsky : Preludes Opus 38 (1944) – 8. Andante non troppo, Semplice e cantando – Poco Agitato – Tempo I
Personal Piano Project