IN HIS DEBUT CONCERT IN THE U.S.A.
Silicon Valley, CA-- For those unfamiliar with Classical Piano Music who from March 26 through March 30 watched Online the streamed concert of Pianist ALEXANDER SINCHUK from Russia, which was broadcast as part of the SPRING HOME CONCERT HALL Series Sponsored by the Steinway Society the Bay Area, to fathomed the technical difficulties inherent in the performance of each one of the pieces that SINCHUK played during his three-part broadcast, would have required attending the Lecture explaining the program listed at the end of this article.
The reason was that Chopin, Études, Op.10 (Complete), which was the title which appeared on the screen before SINCHUK started playing the first part of his three part recital, failed to inform those home viewers, unfamiliar with Classical Piano Music, that Chopin's compositions are very difficult to play and explain, in a few short words what the Études are.
As a virtuoso pianist himself, Chopin was aware of the difficulties in playing his music, and maybe because of it, one day he decided to teach other pianists how to play it by instructing them in how to master his compositions' "difficult passages." He instructed them by showing them, musically, how to do these passages, so he composed a series of short musical pieces, each one containing a drill which, when practiced, allowed the students to master a particular "difficult passage." Some drill trained them in how to play their scales perfectly, other drill in how to master a series of fast arpeggios or how to do their hands crossovers seamlessly, to name a few. And because the purpose of each song was to drill by studying it, he called these group of songs études, which is a French noun which translated to English means studies.
But with his études, Chopin also tried to explain to his students piano-playing technical matters in an aesthetic manner, which was the reason why he named his songs with names which could evoke an Image in the pianists' mind when he or she was playing them on the piano. Because of it, the names of some of his études are: Waterfall, Sadness, Sunshine, to name a few, and constructed them, musically, to evoke their name's image in their sound when they were heard. One example is Waterfall where the sound of the falling water is created (by the pianist) playing a series of descending scales (Presto) with the right hand, starting on the higher notes of the piano and moving towards the lower tones. After all this turbulent motion, the piece ends in with loud, deep-sounding chord to echo (in our minds) as a majestic splash of water.
The lecture explains each one in detail giving the keys, the key changes, tempos, dynamics and the technical difficulties each étude presents to the interpreter.
But because of the imagery that these études were composed to create is interesting, and it was not mentioned on the lecture, we added it here, believing that if when watching the online concert, some of the adults in the audience would have learned this fact, they should have been better capable to understand the young pianist virtuosity while interpreting them and even try to construct their own images in their own minds based on the music's sounds. Even the children in the audience may have enjoyed, if they knew about it, trying to guess what images were those sounds trying to represent. .
The études were composed between the years of 1829 and 1832, and were published in 1833, in France, Germany, and England. There are twenty-seven études in total, divided in groups and all were published during Chopin's lifetime. The 12 Études in Op. 10 belong to the first group.
In the second part of his three-part concert, ALEXANDER SINCHUK, played for the American Audience the World's Premiere of Svetislav Božić, Sacred Music for Piano. And because it was its World's Premiere, the Online streaming audience should have benefited by having listened to the lecture first, and learning something bout the music of Serbian composer Božić, which was inspired by Serbian Sacred and Serbian Folk music and that the piece that they were about to hear by the Orthodox choral singing.
Classical Music Serbian Composer Svetislav Božić is a prolific composer of more than 300 compositions of different genres, from preludes to opera to music for different instruments. He is well known worldwide, where all his compositions have been played, except his Sacred Music for Piano which had never been played before for an audience. That was the reason why Serbian Romantic Music Pianist SINCHUK, who classifies Božić's music as Romantic, decided to premiere his Sacred Music for Piano in this concert, because since he became a Concert pianist he made his mission to introduce Božić's music to the world,
For its performer, to play Sacred Music for Piano is not only very technical and difficult in execution, but requires deep concentration because it is highly interpretative. Because it was inspired in the Orthodox Liturgy, it requires that every one of its parts convey (when being played) the feeling of the different part of the Orthodox Liturgy it represents.
The names of the different Parts of the Orthodox Liturgy are: 1. The Great Litany and Bless the Lord Oh my Soul. 2. Only-Begotten son. 3. Come, Let Us Worship. 4. Oh Holy Lord. 5. Cherubic Hymn. 6. Credo. 7. It is truly Meet. 8. Holy Lord of Hosts 9. We Praise Thee. 10. The Litany. ll. Our Father. 12. The Litany. 13. One is Holy. 14. The Litany. 15. Prase the Lord. 16. Blessed is he.17. The Litany, and 18. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
In our opinion, knowing this fact, (Which was mentioned in the lecture) would have helped the Online listeners of ALEXANDER SINCHUK's concert to be able to associate the music which they were listening to, with each part of the Orthodox Liturgy.
And when in the first two parts of his concert, Romantic Music pianist ALEXANDER SINCHUK had already demonstrated his piano-playing masterly to his Online audience, his perfect timing, his dynamic control, the prodigious dexterity of his long fingers, and even his ability to let us hear bells ringing in his piano rendition of Božić Liturgical Piece, where SINCHUK excelled, on the night of his U.S.A. debut, was in his interpretation of Rachmaninoff's "Morceaux de Fantaisie " (which the composer composed when he was l9 years old).
SINCHUK's interpretation of Rachmaninoff's music, allowed his online audience not only to listen to his music, but to feel Rachmaninoff's tenderness, his melancholy, his longings and his passion. Interpreted by SINCHUK, Rachmaninoff's music was crying, shouting and conversing in a long dialogue between the melody and the base. We felt the explosion of his loud chords in our bodies. We were soothed by his gentle melodies, sounding as softly as a murmur, but with perfectly controlled dynamics. And when we expected the music to end, it got louder and livelier ornamented with fast arpeggios and scales and where the notes seemed to be dancing. Another fast dynamic change made them cry again, for just a few notes, giving the melody the flavor of Flamenco' music and the rhythm of his zapateado. After that, the sound began increasing in volume, getting louder and louder as if becoming alive. It was marvelous!
The Steinway Society provides online pre-concert lectures for this concert and past and future concerts at: https://steinwaysociety.com/concerts/pre-concert-lectures/. To Order tickets for the next concerts in the Home Concert Hall Performances go to: Steinwaysociety.com For questions contact their box office at (408) 300-5635.