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Kyle Adam Blair Recital

Friday, April 25th, 2014 7:00 pm

Conrad Prebys Concert Hall


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Kyle Adam Blair presents: EVOCATIONS/FANTASIES

In his first DMA recital, pianist Kyle Adam Blair continues to explore the American solo piano repertoire. On this occasion, Blair performs music of Aaron Copland, Carl Ruggles, Donald Martino, and Elliott Carter.

This program features two pairs, each pair consists of an outward, declamatory piece from the early-to-mid 20th century succeeded by a moody, imaginative piece from the late 20th century.

Aaron Copland’s Piano Variations reduces the familiar “Theme and Variations” form into a lean, stark, essential statement. A harsh, pointed theme of sharply struck single notes is run through a developing world of dissonant counterpoint in which every step is sure-footed; every intention—clear and directed.

The blunt, coarse rhetoric of Copland is followed by character, wit, and whimsy in Martino’s Fantasies and Impromptus, a nine-movement work mimicking at once a suite and a loose fast-slow-fast sonata-esque form. Although Martino employed twelve-tone techniques in some of the movements, Fantasies and Impromptus owes a tremendous amount to the German Romantic tradition; one could swear at times that the textures were borrowed directly from Brahms, Chopin, or Liszt (especially in the two Impromptus each bearing the subtitle “Omaggio”).

Carl Ruggles’ only work for solo piano, Evocations: Four Chants for Piano, bears the same boldness as Copland’s Variations, utilizing, in its loud moments, brashly melodic octaves and large, crashing chords to craft a mountainous landscape. The piece is not without subtleties, however. In its soft moments one can hear carefully crafted harmonic colors shift, disintegrate and coalesce.

Finally, Elliott Carter’s Night Fantasies signifies the evening’s final retreat from the evocative back into the subconscious. Depicting a restless sleep, periods of floating, open harmonies reminiscent of the calmness of slumber are interrupted by fluttering, nervous gestures, which dart about like fleeting thoughts in the night.

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