The Keys to the Future festival, at Greenwich House’s Renee Weiler Concert Hall, presents 3 consecutive nights of recent solo piano music – each concert features 4 pianists. The fundamental premise of this festival is that the contemporary scene is characterized by unprecedented diversity, and that that is a good thing. On these poly-stylistic programs, sometimes the only thing that two given pieces on one of our programs have in common is that they are notated and contemporary. I prefer this to a concert of works all in the same style – when a post-minimalist work follows an atonal modernist work on the same program, they tend to highlight characteristics in each other in interesting and unexpected ways. Audiences have really responded to this aspect of the shows.
A few words about a couple of the pieces on Evening 3 (Thursday, March 27 at 8PM). Bang on a Can alumnus Lisa Moore, virtuoso Tatjana Rankovich, Yukiko Tanaka and I will play works of Chick Corea, Kevin Puts, Ingram Marshall, John Adams, Arvo Pärt, Bruce Stark and Robert Muczynski.
Here are a few comments from composer Kevin Puts about his “Alternating Currents”, which will be played by Lisa Moore: “Writing piano music is a daunting task due to the enormous repertoire of great works pianists already have available to them. So in my preliminary improvisations for Alternating Current I allowed myself to gravitate toward the aspects of piano pieces I have studied since childhood: the motoric clarity of toccatas by Bach, the ennobling harmonic progressions of Beethoven’s slow movements, the terrifying neurosis of Ravel’s Scarbo. The title refers to the use of alternating meter which occurs in all three movements, and also to the flowing nature, which characterizes the entire work. The movement that will be performed by Lisa Moore is quick and Baroque. Like the other two movements, this movement ‘alternates’ in mode as well as meter, shifting between the key signatures of D and F.”
And a few words from composer Robert Muczynski about his “Desperate Measures (Paganini Variations)”, which Tatjana Rankovich will play: “It was 1992, and I was at a loss as to what direction to take for my next composition. Over the years I’d produced a considerable amount of solo piano music as well as sonatas and trios for instruments of all sorts of combinations. One evening I was enjoying a drink with a good friend and remarked ‘I know it may sound like a silly idea, but ever since I was a music student I had this notion of doing some piano variations on the Paganini “Caprice” – and now I think I’d like to have a crack at it; I must be desperate!’ That’s how the title (and pun) came about, Desperate Measures… It consists of the theme and twelve variations. My variations are not grand, etude-like, nor European-born (Brahms, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, etc.)… I think of them more as entertainments.”
Chick Corea’s “Children’s Songs” are lively and brief, little capsules like the Chopin Preludes; “China Gates” is probably familiar to many of you, but this is Lisa’s first time performing it, so I know she will bring her own special flair to it; Ingram Marshall’s “Authentic Presence” is profound and totally unique; and Bruce Stark’s “Fugue, Interlude and Finale” is a whirlwind tour de force, which is tailor-made for Tatjana’s take-no-prisoners style. Hope to see you there! For more complete info, please check www.keystothefuture.org.
Joseph Rubenstein Artistic Director, Keys to the Future