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Alexander Ardakov

21 March @ 12:45 pm 1:45 pm

£7 Adults

Tickets on the door (cash or card). Under 18s and carers go free

Doors open at 12:15 pm

Aylesbury Lunchtime Music

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St Mary the Virgin

Church Street
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP20 2JJ United Kingdom
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Alexander Ardakov


Notes on the performers

Born in Samara, Russia, Alexander Ardakov studied under the renowned pianist and professor Vera Gornostaeva at Moscow Conservatoire. Upon graduating, he joined the Moscow State Philharmonia as a performer.

Alexander won prizes at the Kabalevsky Piano Competition in Russia and the Viotti International Music Competition in Vercelli, Italy.

Moving to Britain and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where he has been teaching since 1991, have helped him develop as an international recitalist of exceptional versatility and musical integrity. Alexander has made notable radio recordings for BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. His extensive discography consists of 20 different CD albums. Among them is a remarkable recording of Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Alexander Gibson.

Alexander has given recitals at the Bösendorfer Hall in Vienna, Southbank Centre, Wigmore Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields and St John’s Smith Square in London; Carnegie Hall in New York; Gasteig and Carl-Orff-Saal in Munich; Benaroya Hall in Seattle; and Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. He frequently gives masterclasses in the UK and abroad.


Programme notes

Frederick Chopin (1810-1849)

Nocturne in C sharp minor op Posth.
Nocturne in F sharp minor op 48 no 2
Nocturne in D flat major op 27 no 2
Mazurka in G minor op 24 no 1     
Mazurka in C major op 24 no 2
Mazurka in A flat major op 24 no 3
Mazurka in B flat minor op 24 no 4
Mazurka in E C sharp op 41 no 1
Mazurka in E C sharp op 63 no 3
Ballade no 1 in G minor op 23
Waltz in B minor op 69 no 2
Waltz in C sharp minor op 64 no 2
Scherzo no 2 in B flat minor op 31

Frédéric François Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic period, who wrote primarily for solo piano. He has maintained worldwide renown as a leading musician of his era, one whose “poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation”.  

Nocturne in C sharp minor, Op. Posth. No. 20: Composed in 1830, Chopin dedicated this work to his older sister Ludwika Chopin, with the statement: “To my sister Ludwika as an exercise before beginning the study of my second Concerto”.

Nocturne in F sharp minor, Op. 48 no 2: Composed in 1841, Chopin once noted that the middle section was like a recitative and should be played as if “a tyrant commands, and the other asks for mercy.”

Nocturne in D flat major, Op. 27 no 2: Composed in 1836, the piece occasionally has been featured in popular culture, such as in the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me.

Over the years 1825–1849, Frédéric Chopin wrote at least 59 compositions for piano called Mazurkas. Mazurka refers to one of the traditional Polish dances.      

Mazurkas, Op. 24, No. 1-4: Composed in 1836. No. 1 has a reflective tone present in the kujawiak melody. The folk original song is ‘Czemu nie orzesz, Jasieńku, czemu nie orzesz?’ (Why aren’t you ploughing, Johnny, why aren’t you ploughing?). This reflective tone can be heard in the rhythmic wavering, defined with the word rubato, in the seemingly uncontrolled rises, then falls, of the minor-mode melody and in the little subtleties of the harmonic accompaniment. No. 2 is essentially a kind of folkloric cliché. A folk provenance can be found in all its themes: in the opening theme, which brings the gestures and movements of an oberek; in its complement, inviting us to dance and click our heels; and also in the theme that is coloured with the so-called Lydian fourth. An echo of rustic music-making can also be heard distinctly in the central part of the work, transferred to a flat key and adhering to the rhythms of a foot-tapping mazur. No. 3 is rather humble and has not won much popularity. No. 4 is one of the most celebrated mazurkas, a ‘consummate masterpiece’.

Mazurka, Op. 41: Composed in 1838-39, Op. 41 is dedicated to Chopin’s friend Stefan Witwicki, a minor poet, ten of whose poems Chopin set to music as songs.

Mazurka, Op. 63: Composed in 1846. Op. 63 was Chopin’s last set of mazurkas published during his lifetime. They demonstrate the composer’s “late” style and may suggest a maturity of his emotional approach to the mazurka as a musical form.

Ballade no 1 in G minor, Op. 23: Completed in 1835, it is one of Chopin’s greatest and most popular works. The ballade dates to sketches Chopin made in 1831, during his eight-month stay in Vienna. It was completed after his move to Paris, where he dedicated it to Baron Nathaniel von Stockhausen, the Hanoverian ambassador to France.

Waltz in B minor, Op. 69 no 2: This was composed in 1829 at the age of 19. Although it was published posthumously in 1855 by his friend Julian Fontana, together with the Waltz Op. 69, No. 1. The piece is largely melancholic with three different sections and melodies which changes to B major and again reverts to the original theme. It is one of several works that the composer hoped would be burnt upon his death.

Waltz in C sharp minor, Op. 64 no 2: Composed in 1847, this was the second work of his opus 64 and the companion to the “Minute Waltz” (Op. 64, No. 1). Chopin dedicated this Waltz to Madame Nathaniel de Rothschild.

Scherzo no 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31: Composed and published 1835-1837 and dedicated to Countess Adèle Fürstenstein. Robert Schumann compared this scherzo to a Byronic poem, “so overflowing with tenderness, boldness, love and contempt.” According to Wilhelm von Lenz, a pupil of Chopin, the composer said that the renowned sotto voce opening was a question and the second phrase the answer: “For Chopin it was never questioning enough, never soft enough, never vaulted (tombe) enough. It must be a charnel-house.” Dubal wrote that critic James Huneker “exults”: “What masterly writing, and it lies in the very heart of the piano! A hundred generations may not improve on these pages.”

Source: Wikipedia