With Memorial Day in mind, I have chosen a number of piano works which commemorate some of my favorite musical heroes. Ernesto Halffter's Llanto por Ricardo Viñes (Lament for Ricardo Viñes) remembers one of the great pianists of the early 20th century, who premiered and disseminated the major works of the French Impressionists and their Spanish counterparts. Halffter's final compositions were a set of Homenajes to various composers, including the Catalan Federico Mompou and Ernesto's own older brother Rodolfo. If you are interested in hearing more of Ernesto Halffter's music, my recording of his complete piano music is available on Bridge Records at Adam Kent Plays Ernesto Halffter.
Unitarian composer Edvard Grieg published numerous collections of short piano works he referred to as "Lyric Pieces". The first of these is entitled "Arietta"; nearly 40 years later, he would pen his final "Lyric Piece", an enchanting reworking of "Arietta" he called "Remembrances", a closing of his life's creative circle.
Ludwig van Beethoven included funeral
marches in two of his major works, his Third Symphony, known as the Eroica,
and his Piano Sonata No. 12. In both cases, the memorialized hero goes unnamed.
American composer William Bolcom (b. 1938) wrote his Three Ghost Rags in the early 1970's as a sort of homage to his recently deceased father. "Graceful Ghost Rag" is the first of these.
Read on for programming details and stay tuned for spoken introductions>
Gathering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Llanto por Ricardo Viñes
Piano Sonata No. 12 in Ab Major, Op. 26
III. Marcia funebre sulla morte d'un eroe
Ludwig van Beethoven
"Arietta", Op. 12, No. 1
"Remembrances", Op. 71, No. 7
Homenaje a Federico Mompou
Homenaje a Rodolfo Halffter
Graceful Ghost Rag