Midori performs Brahms, Debussy and Faure

Friday, 20 September 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


On 26 September at 7 p.m. at the Lionel Wendt Theatre, the Chamber Music Society of Colombo (CMSC) will present arguably the most important classical music concert of the year – the extraordinary violinist, Midori, with Ieva Jokubaviciute, piano. 

Midori, who is considered as one of the top violinists in the world today, is donating her celebrated talent and precious time towards the CMSC’s new Education Fund with this concert. The fund, that has Midori as its patron, will financially help deserving and committed music students further their education, and support specialist teacher training in the country. 

The Fund is the brainchild of the CMSC founder Lakshman Joseph de Saram. The concert is generously supported by the Mohan Tissanayagam Foundation and The Tokyo Cement Group, with media sponsorship by the Wijeya Newspaper Group.

Midori has this to say about the concert on the 26th:

“This is a program comprised of violin sonatas by three masters dating to the 19th and early 20th Centuries, two French and one German, augmented by short pieces by each composer. These pieces, taken together, present a variety of congruences and contrasts, which is to say the countervailing processes at the core of the artistic experience.

“Johannes Brahms, Gabriel Fauré and Claude Debussy were relative contemporaries, Brahms being born three decades before Debussy, Fauré in between the other two. They were from neighbouring countries, and their work responds to the musical outpouring that preceded each of them. For these overarching similarities, there are clear stylistic differences between these composers. Over a century later, their music still resonates among listeners, and it is worth considering that the different manners in which this work can be interpreted is a key element in its eternal freshness.

“It is worth noting that to many arts lovers, music by German composers ‘is’ classical music. Kids were once instructed in the ‘three Bs’ – Bach, Beethoven and Brahms – and while that is overly reductionist, throw in Haydn and Mozart, Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn, plus the late romantics, Wagner, Mahler and Strauss, and Germanic expression dominates European music. By contrast, the work of artists of other nationalities, imbued by different folk traditions, dance forms and harmonies, often seems different, even ‘exotic’ in certain cases.

“Artists are products of their times and cultures, so while Brahms, Fauré and Debussy each wrote sonatas, that dominant classical form, their intentions varied. Brahms bathed in a great fealty to German Romanticism, the heroic movement dedicated to passionate self-expression, and struggled – as befits such an artist – to craft every composition as worthy of his exemplars. Fauré came of age beholden to that same tradition, but studied not only the German immortals, but also French models and Chopin, as his harmonic conception became more quicksilver, to many listeners prefiguring French Impressionism.

“Debussy found his unique artistic voice near the end of the 19th Century, rebelling against what he believed to be the excesses of overwrought German Romantic style – particularly Wagner. He sought an art of French subtlety, of gradations of coloration, informed by a modernist, cosmopolitan impulse that borrowed from Eastern musics and the breakthroughs of the new Impressionist painting. His music was designed to be allusive, sly, suggesting mysteries.

“And so, three violin sonatas presented together, to explore the different imperatives that compelled their composition as well as their many similar characteristics. To that, the program adds miniatures by each composer, to further enrich the listening experience. These are not fragments, but rather ‘micro-worlds,’ statements in full. Brahms and Debussy’s brief pieces came from relatively early in their careers, and the sonatas date to their later years, and can be heard as ‘autumnal,’ but in each case the authorial signatures are always clear, as they both clarify and provide contrasting views of three musical visionaries.”