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Notes on the performers
Adrian began his musical studies at the age of seven when he joined his local church choir. His love for the piano began shortly after joining, where he received his first piano lessons. Adrian’s talent was immediately spotted and remarkable progress led to early successes in competitions and music festivals.
His love in particular for music of the Romantic Period, brought Adrian his first victory where he was awarded first place at the Chelmsford Competitive Festival of Music for the ‘Roots trophy’ (2007) playing works by Chopin.
In 2008, Adrian was successful in gaining a place to study at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, where he completed his BMus (Hons) and Master’s (MMus) degrees studying under Alexander Ardakov. During his studies, Adrian was active in performing in concerts, master classes and competitions. Whilst only in his second year, Adrian was winner of the much sought after Alfred Kitchin Piano Competition (2010), playing works by Schumann.
Since completing his studies, Adrian has embarked on an international career, performing in numerous countries such as Russia, Germany, Austria, Madeira and Italy.
Amongst the many awards achieved by him, the following stand out:
- 2nd prize, “XXI Century Art” Competition, Madeira. (2013)
- 3rd prize, “XXI Century Art” Competition, Austria. (2013)
- 4th prize in the 23rd Dmitri Kabalevsky International Piano Competition, Russia. (2012)
Adrian has participated in many master classes with distinguished pianists such as Peter Donohoe, Melvyn Tan and William Howard, and currently enjoys a busy career, performing regularly across the UK and throughout Europe. His repertoire stretches from Bach to the Twentieth Century with a particular interest in the life and works of Robert Schumann.
Arabeske in C major Op 18
Arabeske in C major Op 18 was written in early 1839, perhaps as an act of appeasement in a troubled time. Schumann’s marriage to his beloved Clara would not take place for more than a year and the couple were busy petitioning the courts for permission to marry, over Clara’s father’s objection to the union. Robert had been courting Clara since 1835 after a previous romance came to an end.
The title is informative: an Arabeske or Arabesque is an ornament or style of figural, floral, or animal outlines used to create intricate patterns, inspired by Arab architecture. It is also a dance term, a ballet position. A simple ambling tune makes three appearances, interrupted by two minor-key passages. The tune itself is unchanged in each occurrence but notice how Schumann obliges us to reassess the figure, as though our view changes when seen through the differing shadows cast by the intervening passages. (notes : Grant Hiroshima)
Papillons Op 2
- Waltz prestissimo
- Waltz semplice
- Waltz – prestissimo
- Waltz – Vivo
Papillons (French for “butterflies”), Op. 2, is a suite of piano pieces written in 1831 by Robert Schumann when he was 21 years old. The work is meant to represent a masked ball, where attendees wear masks and dance the night away in a whirlwind of elegance and intrigue. Schumann was deeply inspired by Jean Paul’s novel Flegeljahre (The Awkward Age) while composing this suite, seeking to capture the essence of the characters and their experiences within the ball.
The suite begins with a six-measure introduction that sets the tone of anticipation and excitement before launching into a variety of dance-like movements. Each movement is distinct and carries its own unique atmosphere, transporting the listener into different corners of the ballroom. From lively waltzes to graceful minuets, Schumann skillfully navigates through various musical styles, demonstrating his versatility as a composer.
It is worth noting that while the individual movements of Papillons are separate entities, Schumann expertly weaves some recurring themes throughout the suite. The second theme of the sixth movement, initially presented in A major, reappears later in G major in the tenth movement, creating a subtle thread that connects these two sections. Additionally, the main theme of the first movement resurfaces in the grand finale, bringing a sense of unity and closure to the overall composition.
As the suite progresses, we encounter a diverse mix of emotional landscapes. Some movements exude elegance and grace, filled with delicate melodies that seem to flutter like butterflies in the air. Others have a more playful and exuberant character, inviting the listener to join in the joyous revelry of the ball. Schumann’s mastery of musical expression shines through in each movement, captivating the audience and allowing them to experience the masquerade ball through his musical lens.
In the eleventh movement, Schumann pays homage to the novel’s character Wina, who hails from Poland, through a polonaise. This vibrant dance, rooted in Polish tradition, adds a touch of cultural richness to the suite and provides a lively contrast to the preceding movements. It showcases Schumann’s ability to incorporate various musical genres and influences into his compositions, further enriching the tapestry of Papillons.
The suite concludes with a poignant and evocative finale. Schumann cleverly incorporates the theme of the traditional “Großvatertanz” (Grandfather’s Dance), a celebratory melody often played at the end of festivities like weddings. As the piece nears its end, repeated notes subtly suggest the striking of a clock, symbolizing the ball’s inevitable conclusion. This musical depiction masterfully brings the listener back to reality, reminding them that even the most enchanting moments must eventually come to an end.
Papillons stands as a testament to Schumann’s youthful creativity and his ability to paint vivid musical pictures. Through this suite, he invites us into a world of glamorous masquerades and spirited dances, weaving a captivating narrative that unfolds with each movement. It remains a beloved work of the piano repertoire, delighting audiences with its charm, elegance, and the timeless allure of the butterfly.
Two Rhapsodies Op 79
Brahms (1833 – 1897)
The Rhapsodies, Op. 79, for piano were written by Johannes Brahms in 1879 during his summer stay in Pörtschach, when he had reached the maturity of his career. They were inscribed to his friend, the musician and composer Elisabeth von Herzogenberg. At the suggestion of the dedicatee, Brahms reluctantly renamed the sophisticated compositions from “Klavierstücke” (piano pieces) to “rhapsodies”.
No. 1 in B minor. Agitato is the more extensive piece, with outer sections in sonata form enclosing a lyrical, nocturne-like central section in B major and with a coda ending in that key.
No. 2 in G minor. Molto passionato, ma non troppo allegro is a more compact piece in a more conventional sonata form.