In celebration of the 200th birthdays of Frederic Chopin and Robert Schumann, we bring you a divine programme of their piano works, performed by New Zealand’s best known and loved pianist, Michael Houstoun.
Schumann’s delightful Arabesque in C Op.18 is beloved of professional and amateur pianists alike. This is followed by Kreisleriana, considered to be one of the composer’s greatest works.
Stormy, lyrical and virtuosic are some of the adjectives used to describe Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35, but of course it is best known for its celebrated Funeral March.
Chopin’s Two Nocturnes, Op.37 were described by Schumann as being “of that nobler kind under which poetic ideality gleams more transparently”.
The programme concludes with four of Chopin’s Études Op. 25 – No.1 which was nicknamed the ‘Aeolian Harp’, No.7 which is an exercise in perfect sound and phrasing, No.5 which is notable for its use of minor seconds, and finally, No.12, sometimes known as the ‘Ocean’ because of its series of rising and falling arpeggios.
The mystery of why this set of Études was dedicated to Marie, the Countess d’Agoult, lover of Liszt and mother of Cosima Wagner, has never been revealed.
Sunday 29 August 2010 - Ilott Theatre, Wellington Town Hall