Essay on Gold Medalists Concert Review

Submitted By gueorguiev
Words: 980
Pages: 4

Ivan Gueorguiev

Professor Olga Amelkina

Music Literature

November 24, 2012

Gold Medalists Unite

The Van Cliburn 50th anniversary gold medalist concert was a marvelous event to come in the Fort Worth Bass Performance Hall. On a Thursday night at 7:30pm, four Steinway concert grand pianos lay next to each other on stage awaiting their performers to come and produce a unification of tone and musicality. The four gold medalists that came out were each very unique to their own standard. There was Ralph Votapek, the oldest who won the very first Van Cliburn Competition in 1962. André-Michel Schub, French artist who won in 1981, and the most recent winners being Alexander Kobrin in 2005 and Haochen Zhang who amazingly is the youngest in history to win at the age of 18 in 2009. To make the concert even more interesting, Van Cliburn himself made a surprise appearance and gave a warm welcome to everyone in the audience. The concert opened up with everyone making their appearance and began to play J.S. Bach’s Concerto for four pianos in a minor, BWV 1065. This piece originally intended for four Harpsichords and a smaller string ensemble so with the four grand pianos together and the orchestra on top, it did not quite capture the Baroque feeling and the sound was of course a bit murky because of these huge instruments. Nonetheless, each performer still captured moments in the piece which gave it a unique tone and was still quite spectacular. The piece follows a typical slow, fast, slow movement series labeled allegro, largo, and allegro. In both of the fast movements, Bach added some tension between the harmonies and a blend of virtuosity for an audience. The slow movement consisted of each piano playing their own arpeggiated chords in a different articulation creating an unusual mixture of tone. Overall, the performance was very exciting and almost too loud, but watching four gold medalists collaborated together was a spectacular moment on its own. The next piece in the program was Francis Poulenc’s Concerto in d minor for two pianos and orchestra. Here in the last two works, the pianist split into pairs and performed separately. For this work, it was Alexander Kobrin and Andre-Michel Schub who played. Kobrin seemed to have brought out a more noticeable personality in his playing but both played impressively. This work is made up of three movements as well; Allegro ma non troppo, Larghetto, and Allegro molto. The first and second movements of the piece have ternary forms using a basic ABA structure. In the first movement, there evokes a very Mozart like effect through the chord progression used, making the sound very direct and to the point. In the second movement which gently rocks back and forth, there is a familiar theme that is transformed from the Andante in Mozart’s concerto No. 21 in C major. Meanwhile, as the middle section increasingly builds, there is a touch of Saint-Saens spirit because Poulenc believed that in his best, Saint-Saens was the closest to a Mozart like composer from the nineteenth century. The reason why this piece so closely relates to Mozart then is simply because Poulenc favored Mozart’s writings over any other composer at the time. The final movement of the piece changes its effect slightly from ABA form into a Rondo. With its many energetic rhythms and virtuosic sounds, there seems to be a new theme for every upcoming section. This of course is again mimicking Mozart’s style and thus giving it its unique effect in sound. The entire piece overall as complex and difficult as it sounds, interestingly enough, requires a higher level of skill in ensemble playing more so than technique and virtuosic fingers since throughout, the orchestra might go