Pebbles in the Pond II . . .

frontcdcover Artist Biography
Producer: Pat Feuchtenberger
Recorded April 2007 in Bluefield, Virginia
Recording Engineer: Paul Jacoby
Editing Engineer: Dan Merceruio
Piano Technicians: Andy Lyford
Steinway Piano
Music Notes: Pat Feuchtenberger
Photography: David McNeil
Dedicated to my four granddaughters: Ali, Kate, Heather, and Randi.
    Johannes Brahms
  • 1. Wiegenlied, Op. 49, No. 4 (Lullaby) 1:47 Sample
    Johann Sebastian Bach
  • 2. Aria from The Goldberg Variations 3:35 Sample
  • 3. Variation No. 7, from The Goldberg Variations 3:00 Sample
    John Field
  • 4. Nocturne No. 5, in B Flat 3:50 Sample
    Frédéric Chopin
  • 5. Nocturne in E Flat, Op. 9, No. 2 3:50 Sample
    Francis Poulenc
  • 6. Nocturne, No. 1, in C 4:27 Sample
  • 7. Nocturne, No. 4 in C Minor, "Phantom Ball" 1:30 Sample
    Samuel Barber
  • 8. Nocturne, Op. 33 (Homage to John Field) 4:00 Sample
    Mily Balakirev
  • 9. Reverie 7:05 Sample
    Franz Liszt
  • 10. Liebestraume, Nocturne, No. 3(Love Dreams) 4:47 Sample
    Robert Schumann
  • 11. Traumerei, (Dreaming) from Kinderszenen, Op. 15 2:43 Sample
  • 12. Abends, (In the Evening) from Fantasiestucke, Op. 12 3:30 Sample
  • 13. Kind im Einschlummern, (A Child Falling Asleep) from Kinderszenen, Op. 15 2:11 Sample

Johannes Brahms, a great composer of the Romantic period,   composed in a style which looked backward, as well as forward.   He admired Bach and venerated Beethoven.  He was capable of complicated rhythms, (as five and seven beat meters) and used bold and expressive harmonies.  And yet,  he  composed this simple, sweet lullaby, which he called Weigenlied(Cradle Song.)   It is one of the loveliest, if not the loveliest of all lullabies, and since it is a song, not piano music, I arranged for piano solo.
          Johann Sebastian Bach rarely used the variation form.  Count Kaiserling, who did not sleep well and asked Bach  to write some music for Goldberg to play for him at night, which “should be of such a smooth and somewhat lively character that he might be a little cheered up by them in his sleepless nights.” ( Johann Nikolaus Forkel)  Bach wrote the thirty variations, the Goldberg Variations for the Count.   To me, this music in its entirety,  has everything, almost every emotion.    I chose the Aria, a sarabande which first appeared in Notebook for Anna Magdalena,  and Variation No. 7 for this recording.
          The Irish-born pianist John Field had studied with Clementi, and he dedicated his first works, piano sonatas, to  his famous teacher.   But it was the Eighteen Nocturnes which made his reputation, and Liszt wrote a fine introduction to the first edition.   The nocturne  set up a mood and an atmosphere, and it appealed directly to the listener  to share an emotion.   It is most often a sadness,  a longing, or searching.    They serve as a prelude to Chopin’s Nocturnes.   The Nocturne in B Flat is one of Field’s   best-known pieces. 
          Frédéric Chopin changed forever the way composers would write for the piano.   In his  smaller works for piano, Chopin is at his best.  He found he could express himself through the piano, and did not use other genres.   He perfected the nocturne.   The Nocturne in E Flat  creates a dreamy, nostalgic, hopeful atmosphere, and then erupts into a rebellious tirade which diminishes into a peaceful, resigned, ending. 

          Francis Poulenc  may prove to be the most enduring of the group, “Les Six.”  He created  melodies that would have challenged what was considered appropriate for Parisian music halls.   The Nocturne No. 1 in C from Huit Nocturnes   is fresh and unpretentious, and is written in a melodic, richly harmonic style.     No. 4, in C Minor, the Phantom Ball, creates a wonderful musical vision.   The inscription reads:  “Throughout the house no note of the waltzes or scottishes  was lost, so that from his bed the patient could share in the party and dream of the good years of his youth.”
          At the age of nine, Samuel Barber knew he wanted to become a composer.    He wrote to his Mother:  “ I was not meant to be an athlete. I was meant to be a composer, and will be I’m sure. I’ll ask you one more thing.—Don’t ask me to try to forget this  thing and go play football.—Please—Sometimes I’ve been worrying about this so much that it makes me mad (not very).”
           Samuel Barber’s instant claim to fame was the  Adagio for Strings played for the John F. Kennedy funeral.  Barber studied J. S. Bach intensively, and his compositional style has been lauded for its musical logic, sense of architectural design, effortless melodic gift, and direct emotional appeal.
          Barber received numerous awards, including two Pulitzers,  the Prix de Rome,  and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.     The Nocturne, which is dedicated to John Field,  is written with a nineteenth-century melody and twentieth-century harmonies.   
          Mily Balakirev was highly influential in the development of Russian music.  He influenced Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Borodin, and many others.  The Reverie is a masterpiece architecturally and represents Balakirev at his best, with a three-part sonata form which vanishes in a dreamlike coda.     

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          Franz Liszt is regarded by many as the greatest pianist of all time.   He was the first superstar, the first to play piano recitals, teach master classes, and the first to play entirely from memory.     He was the first to use music as therapy, and the first musical philanthropist, raising funds for national disasters and charities.   Genius, benevolent, showman, he taught more than 400 students, among them Rosenthal, who taught one of my teachers, Evelyn Mitchell, making me the great-grand daughter of Liszt. 
          The immense emotional, mysterious form of communication his music evokes in listeners is an enormous influence today    Liebestraüme,  Nocturne No. 3, is one of Liszt’s most famous pieces, popularly known as Dream of Love.
          Robert Schumann created the adult reminiscences of childhood in the Kinderszenen, Opus 15, Scenes from Childhood. In his Biography, Allen Krantz says Robert Schumann is
”the purest embodiment of early romanticism in music.    The beauty of the music almost keeps us from realizing how much organically grows out of a single turn of phrase that appears in piece after piece, and that Schumann was also one of the great musical theorists.”      “Träumerei“ from Childhood Scenes, has been played and enjoyed by amateur pianists and great artists, and is one of the greatest “dream” pieces ever written.
          Des Abends (In the Eveningfrom Fantasiestücke. Op. 12 creates the mood of  looking forward—to being with someone;  for Schumann, of course, this would have been Clara.  Perhaps, hurrying down a country lane, full of tender excitement, and arriving  to warm embraces.
          Child  Falling Asleep from Childhood Scenes   will put you to sleep.   Schumann is a genius at using chord progressions and repetitive rhythms to create a rocking of the cradle, and  that wonderful, warm,  drowsy, just-before-sleep-feeling,  which almost put me to sleep as I played it!
Enjoy! Pat Feuchtenberger
Dedicated to my four granddaughters: Ali, Kate, Heather, and Randi.

 

Pat