Celebrating Liszt at 200

This special G-Sharp Duo program will be in celebration of the 200th birthday of Franz Liszt (1811-1886) – one of the greatest avant garde figures, composers, and piano virtuosos of all time. The first half of the program will feature a pairing of two highly contrasting sonatas by Liszt’s two great Classical predecessors – Mozart and Beethoven. It will begin with Mozart’s youthful and sunny Sonata in G Major for violin and piano, K. 301, followed by Beethoven’s stormy and dramatic Sonata in C minor for violin and piano, op. 30, no. 2, whose Pathetique style well anticipates the Romantic, rhapsodic writing of Franz Liszt. The all-Hungarian, second half of our program will begin with Bartok’s rousing Rhapsody no. 1 for violin and piano, with its catchy folk music and Gypsy influence. It will then be followed by Kurtag’s elusive Three Pieces for violin and piano – a highly concentrated, serious, and aphoristic work, comprised of three mini-movements, each of which explores a different emotional state and an altered sense of time, space, and sonority. Finally, the program will conclude on a celebratory note with Liszt’s little known and seldom heard transcription of his Hungarian Rhapsody no. 12 in C-sharp minor for violin and piano –  a work full of brilliant virtuosic writing for both players which alternates sections of tragic, profound emotion on the one hand with moments of delightful and playful humor on the other.  – Program notes by Dr. Yelena Grinberg