If you love piano music, there’s a recital Friday that will rattle your bones and shake your imagination.
At the heart of a program that spans two centuries of music, Marilyn Garst will present Robert Schumann’s great Romantic sonata, oddly titled “Carnival Jest from Vienna.” It’s a highly emotional work that exemplifies the Romantic Movement in its intensity, verve and pulsing grandeur.
Schumann’s “Jest” is the centerpiece of Garst’s solo recital, which will take place at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Last weekend, I was lucky enough to sit in on a rehearsal.
In addition to Schumann’s five-part, 26-minute work, Garst will play a rarely heard Mozart prelude and seven works from the 20th century.
Composed in 1785, Mozart’s “Fantasia in C Minor” became attached to an earlier sonata, KV475, Garst said in rehearsal; but it can stand alone as a complete piece. And so it does – in seven dramatic minutes filled with contrasts all of which Garst exploits.
She may be diminutive in stature, but Garst is a powerhouse performer. She plays with the authority of a seasoned recitalist with a flair for musical nuance. Not since Norman Krieger – Franz Liszt’s aggressive champion – last walked on stage at Fort Lewis College’s Community Concert Hall or Avi Reichert – Beethoven’s beguiling guide last summer at Music in the Mountains – have we had an opportunity to hear pianism of such assurance, power and lyricism.
After the opening Mozart and the big Schumann centerpiece, an intermission will be followed by music from the 20th century.
Debussy’s “Reflections in the Water,” from Book I of Images, will probably be familiar. This sparkling piece embodies the essence of Impressionism – it evokes sunlight on water. Garst will follow with a more stately and chordal tribute to French baroque composer Rameau. And the final Debussy piece may surprise you with its hypnotic repetitions. Titled “Mouvement,” the work foreshadows 20th-century Minimalism with its sense of perpetual motion.
The recital will conclude with four etudes by a composer I’ve never heard of: Boris Papandopulo. Born to a Greek nobleman and a Croatian opera singer, Papandopulo studied in Zagreb, Croatia, and Vienna and experimented with a number of musical vocabularies.
Garst chose four of Papandopulo’s eight etudes, wonderfully titled “Osam Studija.” They range from a tango sprinkled with impressionistic motifs to a spare but jaunty waltz that has a Weimar quality to my ears. Apparently, Etude V was inspired by Arnold Schoenberg’s 12-tone technique, the core of musical modernism – a counterpart to Cubism in the visual arts. Spare and angular, the “Andante” proceeds through all kinds of variations. And finally, Garst will play a show piece, Papandopulo’s “Vivacissimo.” It’s a three-minute whirlwind that lives up to its title.
Tickets are $15 adults, $7 students/children and are available at the door.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Judith Reynolds is a Durango writer, art historian and arts journalist.