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Piano music concert English Suites

Piano music concert English Suites

To mark the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach
2021 March 21, Sunday, 19.00
Lithuanian National Philharmonic online, Vilnius
Organizer:

Lithuanian National Philharmonic

Online broadcast of the live recording on www.nationalphilharmonic.tv, the National Philharmonic and Digital Hall Facebook accounts, YouTube channel (search for Lithuanian national philharmonic)

Performers
ANDRIUS ŽLABYS (piano; Lithuania, USA)
Programme
Piano music concert English Suites

 

 

 

 

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685–1750)
English Suites for keyboard, BWV 806-811

Suite No. 1 in A major, BWV 806
Prelude, Allemande, Courante I, Courante II, Double I, Double II, Sarabande, Bourrée I, Bourrée II, Gigue

Suite No. 2 in A minor, BWV 807
Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Bourrée I, Bourrée II, Gigue

Suite No. 3 in G minor, BWV 808
Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gavotte I, Gavotte II, Gigue

Suite No. 4 in F major, BWV 809
Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuet I, Menuet II, Gigue

Suite No. 5 in E minor, BWV 810
Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Passepied I, Passepied II, Gigue

Suite No. 6 in D minor, BWV 811
Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gavotte I, Gavotte II, Gigue

“It’s hard for me to imagine my life without Johann Sebastian Bach”, said Andrius Žlabys. It is not surprising, therefore, that his recitals often feature the opuses by the Baroque genius. The audiences have more than once had the opportunity to experience his special relationship with Bach: at the National Philharmonic Hall we have heard Concerti for keyboard and orchestra, Six Partitas, Fantasia in C minor and other works. Tonight, Žlabys presents English Suites for keyboard.

Žlabys is one of today’s most renowned Lithuanian pianists, endowed with exceptional charisma and artistic presence. A graduate of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in the United States has earned international recognition by performing with the world’s most famous ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra and Buenos Aires Philharmonic, as well as outstanding soloists. The pianist’s “refined artistry” (as The New York Sun wrote) opened the doors to the most prestigious concert halls: New York’s Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colón, London’s Wigmore Hall , Vienna’s Musikverein and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. He has participated in many festivals in the United States and Europe: Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Salzburg, Lockenhaus, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, and more.

To this day, Bach scholars argue when and where the English Suites were composed: various sources state that this took place between 1713 and 1720 in Weimar or Köthen.

The works for keyboard, which (unlike the works for the organ) were not associated with the local German tradition or liturgy, exhibit features of Bach’s international style – here he turned to a refined French and Italian harpsichord music style. Six English Suites, six French Suites, and six Partitas were originally issued separately, and in 1731 included in the first volume of Clavierübung (Piano Exercises). It was not Bach who named the suites English and French, and these titles do not reflect the content of the suites: they display a synthesis of all the aforementioned styles. Each suite consists of four standard dances: Allemande, Courante, Sarabande and Gigue with short additional movements. All English Suites start with preludes, which demonstrate Bach’s masterful application of the principles of Italian ensemble music in compositions for the keyboard. The dances in the English Suites are stylized in a French spirit revealed in refined ornamentation, abundant use of doubles, bourrées, gavottes and passepieds. Lastly, in these suites Bach used only French style courante.

“A. Žlabys simply stunned with the richness of the sound palette, the incredible variety of musical expression from the barely palpable pianissimo, the magical beautifully sounding slow episodes, to the excitement, the tremendous inner energy that erupted in Gigue of the last suite in D minor. Here the piano sounded victoriously bright, loud, even sharp, as if conveying the message that Bach’s music is immortal even in the modern world”, wrote Aldona Eleonora Radvilaitė in 7 meno dienos after Žlabys’ recital on 29 October 2020.

 
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