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Kaleidoscope – full program description

Michael Arnowitt, piano

J.S. Bach ⋅ Selections from the 3-Part Sinfonias
    (F major, E minor, A major, D minor, G major, D major)
Claude Debussy ⋅ Selections from 12 Études (1915)
    Étude no. 11 Pour les arpèges composés
    Étude no. 6 Pour les huit doigts
    Étude no. 3 Pour les quartes
Victoria Poleva ⋅ Excerpt from the music to her ballet
    “Mirror, Dreams” (2021)
Victoria Poleva ⋅ Lacrimosa and Music that is not yet,
    from Marginalia (1998-2008)
Victoria Poleva ⋅ Sonata no. 2 “quasi una fantasia” (2011)
Witold Lutoslawski ⋅ Study for Piano no. 2 (1941)
George Benjamin ⋅ Selections from Piano Figures (2004)
    Spell - Knots - Alone - Hammers - Mosaic
Michael Arnowitt ⋅ Burana Bop (jazz improvisation based on
    music from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana)
Gyorgy Ligeti ⋅ Selections from Études for piano, Book 1 (1985)
    and Book 2 (1988-1994)
    Étude no. 2, Cordes à vide (Open strings)
    Étude no. 4, Fanfares
    Étude no. 5, Arc-en-ciel (Rainbow)
    Étude no. 10, Der Zauberlehrling (The sorcerer’s apprentice)

Encore: Michael Arnowitt ⋅ Bi Bim Bop
(a jazz fugue, mixing Bach and bebop jazz)

Michael Arnowitt’s new program Kaleidoscope takes the listener on a stimulating journey through rich and colorful musical landscapes. The program opens with a half-dozen of Bach’s miniature 3-Part Sinfonias, companion pieces in 3-part counterpoint to Bach’s more familiar 2-Part Inventions that have been learned by generations of piano students for 200 years. Bach’s Sinfonias are delightful jewels, the music at turns spirited, good-humored, lyrical, mysterious, and joyful. Three Debussy études take us on interesting adventures into Debussy’s unique world of spacious sonorities, bells, water imagery, and experiences that go beyond sound to evoke touch and our other senses.

A highlight of the program are pieces by the present-day Ukrainian composer Victoria Poleva. This Kiev-based composer writes highly absorbing music that is simple yet powerful, expressive, and deeply spiritual. Victoria Poleva recently sent Michael Arnowitt ten of her piano compositions. This program, featuring four of these pieces, marks the beginning of Arnowitt’s efforts to champion her music and raise awareness in North America of this outstanding composer.

The Hungarian-born Gyorgy Ligeti, in the final decades of his life, wrote three books of études Michael Arnowitt regards as the best piano pieces of the last fifty years. This concert provides a great opportunity for audiences to hear live these widely-praised pieces that have been among the most talked about classical compositions of recent decades. Arnowitt will perform Open Strings, Fanfares, Rainbow, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, showcasing the amazing imagination and creativity of these pieces full of beautiful new piano sounds and textures.

The pianist will also perform his Burana Bop, a jazz arrangement of musical material drawn from Carl Orff’s famous chorus and orchestra piece Carmina Burana, inspired by 13th century medieval secular poetry. Burana Bop has consistently received enthusiastic positive comments from audiences since its premiere in early 2021.

The program is rounded out with the shorter works Piano Figures by the British composer George Benjamin, with its enchanting, creative depictions of knots, a mosaic, and more, and abright, rambunctious 1941 piece by Lutoslawski full of Prokofiev-like youthful hijinks. Altogether, Kaleidoscope offers a concert experience that nicely balances serious and lighter fare.

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