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Piano Ensemble Program Mar 26, 2017

Sunday, March 26, 2017 - 3:00pm
Music by Members
Lincoln Theater, University of Hartford
Dorothy Bognar

On Sunday, March 26, 2017, the Musical Club of Hartford will offer its annual Piano Ensemble Day at the University of Hartford’s Lincoln Theater at 3 p.m. Admission is free!

Four teams will be presenting musical gems from the repertoire crafted for four and eight hands. 

Dorothy Bognar and Connie Hegarty will play Victor Babin’s transcription of Alexander Borodin’s Polovetsian Dances. These dances appear at the end of Act II of the opera Prince Igor, written between 1869 and Borodin’s death in 1887.  Unfinished at the time of his death, the opera was completed by Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov for its first performance in 1890. They are an exotic set of uniquely Russian dances, and many of its themes have been adapted for everything from the 1953 musical Kismet (“Stranger in Paradise”) to commercials, Olympic music, video games, hip-hop and heavy metal.  Victor Babin, a well-respected duo pianist, prepared this adaptation for two pianos in 1954.

Jane Bugbee and Linda Pezzullo are performing the first movement from Johannes Brahms’ Sonata in F Minor, Op. 34-bis for two pianos; Brahms himself prepared this version of his Piano Quintet, Op.34, both of which date from 1864, at the urging of his wife Clara Schumann.  The work upon which both of these versions are based, a string quintet, was destroyed by Brahms.

Diane Day and Stacy Cahoon will present Astor Piazzolla’s iconic masterpiece Le Grand Tango which the composer apparently prepared for two pianos at the same time he published the version for cello and piano.  Because the first publication for cello and piano in 1982 was French, the original French title has been retained for all other versions.  Piazzolla dedicated his work to Mstislav Rostropovich, but Rostropovich did not perform it until 1990 or record it until 1996.  The work has been a true success once it reached the public.  It is an example of Piazzolla’s nuevo tango, a blend of traditional tango rhythms with jazz-inspired idioms and occasional quasi-Baroque style. 

Finally, our eight-hand team which includes Elizabeth Carabillo, Colette Switaj, Susan Hunt, and Lean-Cheng Tan, will play three lively works:  1. Waltz (from Faust), originally by Charles Gounod in 1859 and arranged by Renaud de Vilback, 2. Novelette, Op. 99, No.9, the original for solo piano dating from between 1836 and 1849 by Robert Schumann and later arranged by F. Brissler, and 3. Dance of the Buffoons, from the opera The Snow Maiden by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov and premiered in 1880, arranged for 2-pianos, 8 hands by Miriam Fox Withrow. 

All performers are veterans of the annual piano ensemble day presented by The Musical Club of Hartford.  One is the current President of the Musical Club and one is a former President.  Several have served on the Musical Club Board. 

The mission of the Musical Club of Hartford is to develop the musical talent of its members and to encourage the study and appreciation of music through programs, lectures and concerts.  In addition, the Club gives financial assistance to promising young artists and aid to musical projects in the community.