Music Web Page





Art - Philosophy

Favorite Tunes





Domenico Scarlatti

Sonata K1, K55, K113

Ludwig van Beethoven

Sonata Op.31 No.2 (Largo - Allegro, Adagio, Allegretto)

Bela Bartok

Romanian Christmas Carols

Claude Debussy

Images book I: Reflets dans l'eau, Omage a Rameau, Mouvement

Davide Verotta

Ricercando II (Allegro, Adagio - Moderato, Allegro, Moderato)



Domenico Scarlatti, Sonatas. For a long time overshadowed by is contemporary, J S Bach, Scarlatti is today recognized as the founder of modern keyboard execution. Although he wrote for harpsichord, his inventive style which includes exciting experimental effects - hand crossings, octaves, double trills, extended chords and sonorities - exercised a profound influence over later masters such as Mendelssohn and Liszt. Scarlatti wrote around 500 humbly named "essercizi" (exercises), or Sonate, during the last fifteeen years of his life, while he enjoyed the patronage of Queen Maria Barbara of Spain. Three Sonatas (K 1, K 55, K113) are presented.

Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonata Op.31 No.2 (1802). The Sonata op. 31 no. 2, the so-called 'Tempest' was composed during Beethoven's mid-period. It is a, as usual, highly innovative work with an opening theme that embraces two diametrically opposed tempos and characters: a hovering, ambiguous unfolding arpeggio, marked largo, and a turbulent continuation, marked allegro. From a variant of this passage Beethoven derives much of the development of the sonata, and introduces a mysterious reappearance of the arpeggios return, which leads to a recitative, before the return of to the tense, highly explosive Allegro. The Adagio is considered one of Beethoven's most beautiful slow movements, including a number of orchestral allusions, as, for example, the drum roll-like accompanying figure that characterizes the major part of this movement, particularly long notes, long pauses and unusually far-reaching melodic "jumps". Written in a loose form of variations, the recapitulation the main subject is enriched by a magically-woven accompaniment that flows through the original melody. A short, somewhat surprising, coda introduces a wisp of a new idea which materializes in the third movement. This is "moto-continuo" (continuous-motion) like, an almost hypnotic arabesque of sixteenth-notes which is organized in an amazingly consistent harmonic structure, and ends, in Ostinato style, with a a pianissimo repetition of the main "moto-continuo" cell. The nickname, due to Czerny, is apparently due to a conversation with Beethoven. When asked to explain the "meaning" of the first movement, he replied: read Shakespeare 'The tempest'.

Claude Debussy, Images book I (1904). This is the first series of Images, the second appearing in 1906, and the third originally conceived for two pianos but never completed. Debussy was pleased with the series. He wrote to his publisher: 'I think I may say without undue pride, that I believe these three pieces will live and will take [their] place in piano literature . . . ' adding a characteristically rather cryptic ' . . .   either to the left of Schumann or to the right of Chopin . . . as you like it. ' The pieces use a revolutionary, for the time, and extremely nontraditional harmonic vocabulary, which is combined with relatively standard musical forms.Of the three Images the title of the first image (Reflets dans l'eau) is perhaps best explained with a reference to symbolism, as Mallarme' said about his poetry: 'To name an object is to suppress three-quarters of the pleasure of the [art] . . . to suggest, herein lies the dream' a statement that can be applied to Debussy's musical esthetic as well and that does not encourage pictorial or literal interpretation of the piece based on the title. The second is an homage to the French Baroque composer and music theorist Jean-Philippe Rameau. The third is characteristic of a number of Debussy compositions which address or, better, inspired by a physical (or natural) geasture: in this case Mouvement (movement).

Bela Bartok. Romanian Christmas Carols (1915). This beautiful set of compositions is perhaps best described by the composer himself: "..From the point of view of their musical aspect, the most important of the above-mentioned categories of songs are the Christmas songs, or, as they are called in Rumania, Colinde. Moreover the song texts in this category include some which are invaluable to the historian of Rumanian folklore, even the historian of local culture. We must not think of the Colinde, however, in terms of the religious Christmas carols of the West. First of all, the most important part of these texts—perhaps one-third of them—have no connection with Christmas. Instead of the Bethlehem legend we hear about a wonderful battle between the victorious hero and the—until then—unvanquished lion (or stag), we are told the tale of the nine sons who—after hunting for so many years in the old forest—have been changed into stags... Thus here are texts truly preserved from ancient, pagan times! ..."

Davide Verotta, Ricercando I. Ricercando I is part of a set of five which are so named for a couple of reasons. First, as an homage to the baroque era "Ricercare" (which means "to seek again"). (The Ricercari were instrumental pieces which in many different ways tried to solve one of the main problems associated with instrumental, as opposed to vocal, music: the variety provided by the text is no longer present, thus new ways of extension and development of the music were needed). A Ricercare, terminology is lax, was often of imitative texture, they are considered the precursors of the fugue, and are often organized around modified recurrences of the theme of the piece. Ricercando I is also loosely derived from a single theme, but mostly explores a particular texture of the piano. The second reason is that "Ricercando" (seeking) delivers the idea of searching, exploring, finding, in this case, my way: both compositionally and expressively.

Any word of comment about the presence of a piece of mine in the company of works from absolute masters of the music literature can easily be interpreted as false modesty. I would therefore only say that my admiration for the masters is the one given by the apprentice, he who recognizes even more their greatness now that he is struggling with the unyielding limitations of his own limited skill and insight.



Program notes by Davide Verotta


Site Designed by
Click on Images for Surprise Links