Beauties and Beasts

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Beauties and Beasts

Ravel, Stravinsky, Schubert and Brahms

Four hands on the Stuart  &  Sons Piano

Olga Kharitonova and Igor Machlak (piano duet)

Works:

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Mother Goose Suite

  • Pavane de la Belle au bois dormant
  • Petit Poucet
  • Laideronnette, impératrice des pagodes
  • Les entretiens de la belle et de la bête
  • Le jardin féerique


Igor Stravinksy (1882-1971)

The Rite of Spring, Part 1

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Waltzes Op. 18a

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Hungarian Dance No. 6 in D♭
Hungarian Dance No. 7 in A
Hungarian Dance No. 8 in Am
Hungarian Dance No. 9 in Em
Hungarian Dance No. 5 in F♯m
Hungarian Dance No. 1 in Gm

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Maurice Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite and Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky were composed in almost the same year, but there is no doubt as to who is ‘The Beauty’ and who is ‘The Beast’. The evocative and quintessential Ravelian set of five pieces, based on Charles Perrault's fairy tales, transcend you to a beautiful and comforting heaven. Even the Beast in it is quite adorable!

The Russian genius Stravinsky, on the other hand, wanted to send them all to hell. He conveyed the brutality and sheer madness of hell by using dissonance for its own sake. The Rite of Spring caused a riot at its Paris premiere in 1913, and announced a new era in music and art.

Composed effortlessly and, no doubt, ‘on the go’, the Schubert Waltzes always managed to fascinate the next generations of composers, such as Liszt and Prokofiev.

They even tried to re-arrange the waltzes, looking for a greater effect, but in their original state their simplicity and purity are most enjoyable. These pieces compete perfectly for the 'Beauty' title.

It was while touring with Hungarian violinist Eduard Remenyi that Brahms heard many original Hungarian and Gypsy folk tunes. He most probably felt like he had stumbled across a golden nugget.

The result, in 1869, was a collection of Hungarian Dances for piano duet which brought Brahms huge success and tons of money! All but one of the dances borrowed material and their passionate and free-spirited nature is a startling contrast to the fragility and intimacy of Schubert’s waltzes.

- Igor Machlak

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