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Anna Le Hair
Anna le Hair
Notes on the performers
Anna Le Hair gained an honours degree in music at Edinburgh University, and her postgraduate studies were at the Royal College of Music, London. Anna has a busy and varied career as a performer, teacher, accompanist, ABRSM examiner, adjudicator and conductor. Engagements have included recitals, both solo and as chamber musician and accompanist, in many venues in London, including St Martin in the Fields, St Johns Smith Square and the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and around Britain and abroad, including a concert tour to New Zealand with the violinist Arwen Newband. Anna has given performances of several piano concertos and has performed at many festivals in Britain and abroad, including Edinburgh, Criccieth and Buxton, where she was nominated for the title of ‘Performer of the Fringe’. Anna has worked with several choirs. She teaches piano and accompanies at St Albans School, and she also has a thriving private teaching practice at her home in Tring. She is the founder of and runs the successful ‘Piano and more’ concert series at St Peter and St Paul church in Tring and is a founding member of the Icknield Ensemble. She completed her first international examining tour for ABRSM in summer 2019 to Malaysia. Anna has several upcoming performances, details of which can be found on her website.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Italian concerto BWV 971
In composing a solo concerto in Italian style, Bach set himself the twofold task of simulating the contrasting ensemble forces of concerto grosso or tutti (the full orchestra) and concertino (soloist or group of soloists) and supplying the form (fast-slow-fast) and exuberant spirit of the Italian concerto grosso models. Originally written for a harpsicord with two manuals, the pianist has a far greater challenge defining and colouring ‘solo’ and ‘orchestra’ parts but that’s all right; hard work is good for a pianist’s soul!
Sonata No. K310 in A minor
- Allegro maestoso
- Andante cantabile
Written in 1778, the sonata is the first of only two Mozart piano sonatas in a minor key. It was composed in the summer of 1778 around the time of his mother’s death, one of the most tragic times of his life.
Born in Dallas, Texas, James grew up in a musical family. He is a composer, educator and clarinettist. His compositions have been premieres in Tring by Anna with Alison Eales on clarinet.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
July from The Seasons op. 37
Eighteen Pieces, op. 72 no. 8 Dialogue
The Seasons, Op. 37a is a set of twelve short character pieces for solo piano by the Russian composer Tchaikovsky. Each piece is the characteristic of a different month of the year in Russia. Today, Anna will perform July: Song of the Reaper (E-flat major). [Move the shoulders / shake the arms! / And the noon wind / breathes in the face!] (Aleksey Koltsov). Dialogue is the eight of eighteen pieces in Op. 72. These were his last works for solo piano, completed in 1893 in Klin. It is dedicated to Yekaterina Laroche.
Nocturne No. 4, Op. 36
Fauré greatly admired the music of Chopin and was happy to compose in forms and patterns established by the earlier composer. Fauré’s nocturnes follow Chopin’s model, contrasting serene outer sections with livelier or more turbulent central episodes. The composer’s son Philippe commented that the nocturnes “are not necessarily based on rêveries or on emotions inspired by the night. They are lyrical, generally impassioned pieces, sometimes anguished or wholly elegiac.” The fourth nocturne (c.1884), dedicated to the Comtesse de Mercy Argenteau, contrasts a lyrical opening section and an episode in E♭ minor with a sombre theme recalling the tolling of a bell. The first theme returns and is followed by a short coda. The pianist Alfred Cortot, generally a great admirer of Fauré, found the piece “rather too satisfied with its languor.”
Impromptu no. 5 from Six Impromptus op. 5
Romance from Ten pieces op. 24
The Op. 5 set was published in 1893, about the time of his set of orchestral tone poems Kullervo and the Karelia Suite. Sibelius wrote his piano music at a time when a composer could earn extra money by writing salon pieces for piano. Sound recording was still in its infancy, so many people learned to play the piano for entertainment. Sibelius’ music for piano is well written, and very musical.
Number 5 – Vivace, in B Minor – This impromptu glitters and shimmers with music that sounds almost Debussian as it goes up and down the keyboard with alternating hands. As in the previous pieces, the minor key dominates. The music sparkles, but there is a mood of melancholy to it as well. The Ten Pieces, Op. 24 were not originally intended to be a set, but were written sporadically over the years 1894 – 1903. There are two movements called Romance – number 2 in A flat major and number 9 in D flat major. There is a slight awkwardness about even so fine a piece as the “Romance” (No. 2) which, despite some thickness of texture, is quite a haunting piece which covers a fair amount of emotional ground. There is a quirky sweetness about the outer sections of the somewhat hackneyed D flat “Romance” (No. 9), perhaps the best known of these ten pieces. Can you work out which one is performed today?