Pebbles in the Pond . . .
Producer: Pat Feuchtenberger
Engineer: Paul Jacoby
Recorded April 20, 2005 in Bluefield, Virginia
Piano Technicians: David Allen and Charles Allen
Photography: David McNeil
Licence #1050980795 Gershwin Three Preludes Dedicated to Gary, Mark, and Greg
- Claude Debussy
- 1. Relects dans l'eau (Reflections on the water) from Images 1 5:37 Sample
- Domenico Scalatti
- 2. Sonata in F Minor, K 481 6:04 Sample
- Frederic Chopin
- 3. Etude No. 3, Op. 10, in E Major 3:54 Sample
- 4. Nocturne No. 9, Op. 32, No. 1 in B Major 4:32 Sample
- 5. Mazurka, Op. 68, No. 4 in F Minor (Posthumous) 1:42 Sample
- 6. Waltz in G Flat, Op. 70, No. 1 (Posthumous) 2:19 Sample
can be but a small speck in the scheme of things, and make a profound influence heard 'round the world.
The exceptional characteristic about classical music is there is no right or wrong way to listen to it, and no one dictates what you should hear. It depends on what is in your life to relate to it. That is the correct interpretation for you. As Charlie Parker said: "Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." Of course, it is a little like eating peanuts, the more you try it, the more you enjoy it.
Reflections on the Water has been one of my favorite pieces to play for many years, and audiences have always loved it. It invites us to imagine all kinds of water-fountains, pools, great oceans, sprays with the sun glistening, and a trip back to childhood, throwing pebbles in the pond to watch the ripples grow in outward, in ever-enlarging circles. Debussy's impressionistic sounds conjure images similar to the paintings of Renoir, Manet, and Monet. He was influenced by American jazz, and his music had a profound influence on all composers after him.
The music of Scarlatti was such fun to work on after doing Chopin and Gerswhin, just like a refreshing dip in a pool, after the steamy summer day. Scarlatti's sound reflects the cool blue of the Mediterranean, and simple joys of life. We hear unique usage of dissonance, and remarkably original sonorities, deep expressive range, from humor and wit to passions and despair.
The Sonata in F Minor represents one of Scarlatti's more thoughtful, quiet pieces which constantly seems to reach upward, striving for an unknown sublime entity only the listener can understand for himself.
Chopin wrote music that changed the way the world wrote music, heard music, and performed music. Considering he found the piano complete for the expression of his creative spirit, pianists revel in his music, and audiences have responded to that love
It was not always so. His editors told him, his music was "too difficult," and people couldn't read it. Indeed, if one approaches Chopin's music with a mind set on a classical style, it is rather dreadful!
And so, we change gears, and enter into the Romantic mode, where we have lyrical phrases, which reflect Chopin's love of the opera. The accompaniments are flowing, and Chopin's pedaling becomes an art in itself. We must enter into the heart and mind of the composer to communicate his feelings to the listeners.
Many find Chopin at his best in his small pieces, and so I have chosen an unusual Nocturne-one which has a surprise ending, a Mazurka not too often heard, and the lovely Etude in E Major, which is said to be a melody Chopin claimed to be his best, along with the Waltz in G Flat.
The Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue by Bach is a piece sometimes avoided by performers and teachers, because it takes a good deal of research to come up with what the performer believes is a credible version. I used three editions, listened to several recordings, and referred to some notes from Evelyn Mitchell, a fine teacher who had been a child prodigy and studied with Maurice Rosenthal. The Fantasy progresses through chromatic chords and cadenza-like runs which are a real trip! Going back to the Urtext edition, it is easier to understand the structure which Bach uses to create his improvisations. The Fugue begins with a soft, noble subject in the right hand and progresses relentlessly to a majestic finale with octaves using the whole keyboard.
George Gershwin, one of America's greatest composers, died at the age of 39. He was a talented pianist, who made his way on Tin Pan Alley at the age of 15. He could sight read anything put in front of him, and transpose it, and then improvise on it. He had large hands and much of his music contains intervals of 10ths and 12ths. These three Preludes were written to bring the syncopation and craggy rhythms and lyrical blues of jazz to the concert stage and reach "serious" audiences.
"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." (Red Auerbach (1812 - 1882) and quoted again by Pat Conroy -and now, by me. It is my deepest wish that those who hear this music experience some of what I felt in making this CD -no worries, no fears-I was invincible. I felt connected -to the past and the present.