Craig Sheppard, Faculty Recital, November 26, 1996

Tags: Clifford Curzon, Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, Yehudi Menuhin School, Juilliard School, Rudolf Serkin, Curtis Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Murray Perahia, Lord Georg Solti, Wynton Marsalis, Moving to England, Philadelphia, Leonard Slatkinl Michael Tilson Thomas, School of Music, University of Washington School of Music, Contemporary Group, Debussy Etudes, Claude Debussy, ethereal beauty, Debussy, suggestions, Adagio molto, frustration, Schoenberg, Meany Studio, Music Building, University Wind Ensemble, Craig Sheppard, UW Arts Ticket Office, Brechemin Auditorium, Meany Theater, Allegro con brio
Content: Senior Artist-in-Residence in Piano at the University of Washington School of Music, CRAIG SHEPP~RD was born and raised in Philadelrhia. His teachers included Rudolf Serkin and Sir Clifford Curzon, and he gradilnted from both the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, and The Juilliard School in New York City. Following a highly successful New York debut aUhe Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1972, he won the silver medal that year at the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition in England (the same year Murray Perahia won the gold.) Moving to England the following year, he quickly established himself through recording and frequent appearantes on BBCrad~o and television as one of the preeminent pianists of his generation, giving cycles of Bach's KlavierUbung and the complete solo works of Brahms in London and other centers. While in England, he also taught at both the Yehudi Menuhin School and the GuiJdhalJ School of Music and Drama. He has performed with all the major orchestras in Great Britain as well as those of Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Dallas amongst others, and with· such conductors as Lord Georg Solti, James Levine, Leonard Slatkinl Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Yehudi Menuhin. and Erich Leinsdorf. His work with singers (amongst whom Victoria '~ de Los Angeles, Jose Carretas, and Irina Arkhipova), musicians such as trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, and such ensembles all the Cleveland and Bartok string quar tets have also played a significant role in his musical development. Sheppard is also known for his broad academic interests~ particularly in foreign languages, In addition to EQCopean performances, he wal> recently featured as, soloist in the 0.,illlpipg c9ncert~ of The ,SpattIe Sy'Q1ph~lJY's 19p~",,97 season. His recoJ;'d!n~~ can be heard on the EMI, Polygram (Philips), Sony, Chandos, and Cinus labels.
1296-91 UPCOMING EVENTS ~ Tickets and information for events listed below in Meany The~ter and Meany Studio are available from the UW Arts Ticket Office at 543·4880.
Tickets for events listed below in' Brechemin Auditorium (Music Building) arid
Walker·Ames Room (Kane Hall) are on sale at the door, beginning thirty
minutes before the performance. ltiform~tion for those events is availabltil
from the School of Music Calendar of Events line at 685·8384.
To request di~ability accommodations, 'contact the Office of the Al>A
Coordinator at least ten days in advance ofthe event. 543·6450 (voice); 543-
6452 (TDD); 685·3885 (FAX); [email protected] (E-mail).
December 2: Contemporary Group. 8 PM, Meany Theater.
December 3: Faculty/Ouest recital: Lisa Bergman, piano; Carrie Rehkopf.
violin. 8 PM, Brechemin Auditorium.
December 3: University Singers. 8 PM, Meany Theater.
December 4: ProConArt. g PM, Brechemin Auditorium. Free.
December 4: University Wind Ensemble. 8 PM; Meany Theater.
December 5: Vocal Jazz EnsembJe'. 8 PM, Brechernin Auditorium. Free.
December 8: Soni Ventorum Wind Quintet & Craig Sheppard, piano. 2 PM,
Brechemin Auditorium.
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University of Washington THE SCHOOL OF MUSIC
presents a faculty recital:
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Craig Sheppard,
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'November 26, 1996
8:00 PM, Meany Theater
(i!:g.:?~? PartilЈ: #5 in 0 .....
... Johann Sebastian Bach
(ca. 1729)
Praeambulum (Prelude) Allemande Corrente Sarabande Tempo di Minuetta
Pa~sepied Gigue
SoIrDrat.a .m c nn.nor, .(..,.)....5..'.2...0..,.. LUdw'Ig van Bee. thoven
'Opus 111 (1822)
Maestoso - Allegro con brio ed appassionato Arletta: Adagio molto semplice e cantabile
I)It T~ve Etudes (1915) ......{LJ.(rif.I..................:.......Claude Debussy
Book 1
For five fingers
For double-thirds
For double-fourths
For double-sixths
For octaves
For eightfingers
For chromatic degrees
For ornaments
For repeated notes
For opposing sonorities
For complex arpeggios
For chords
(played without pause) /' lb! -:--._ ( ' f ) b 1D:, - ~ (;.<.)"1L ~ J.?e..- v $t; ~ "1 [Ґ (;/4 t v k I~
1 The gaiety and alacrity of the Bach are more than offset by the sever
ity of the Beethoven sonata. Scarcely did Beethoven ever write a work
of such unremitting contrasts. The first movement shows him shaking his fist at the world-not in defiance. but in despair. It is a world of black and white. of brimstone .and fire, of unrepressed passion bal
anced by a sort of heavenly grace. Indeed, it is, difficult for the
pianist in this movement to strike a balance with what he or she is
capable of doing with what the piano itself is able to give, all to satisfy
the seemingly limitless emotional demands of the work. The only
thing Beethoven could have written to complement such an unsettling of the soul was a second movement to calm those very forces unleashed in the first. This is Beethoven, a profoundly devout and
religious individual, seeking peace with 'his maker. The intervals of the falling fourth and fifth which help delineate the opening melody
t ._ ruili& this mood of resignation, nobly and simply conceived. Even the ~vertly jazzy thi~d variation is ,too ephemeral to override an overall
feeling of ethereal beauty. ..
The difficulties of the Debussy Etudes are of a completely different order. They are pianistically demanding precisely because they are studies in color. Indeed, they evoke the artist-painter's palette to such a~ extent that any unconscious pretensions the pianist might have towards true landscape painting and portraiture are readily and easily fulfilled here. Their sound world, exotic and illusory in the extreme, belie. a tight otganiza~ion. an; economy of means analogous ta the contemporary piano works of Schoenberg. Written within the space of six weeks during the summer of J915, and following a period of depression brought on by the apvent of World War J. these works are the'summation of Debussy's art;in every sense.
Reflections on a Program The greatest pmblem facing a pianist who wishes to play the twelve
"j ,
studies of Claude Debussy is to find a suitable balance in the rest of
the program. With this task in mind, tonight's artist has decided on a ligfifer.:weight work of J. S. Bach and one of the greatest and most
profound of all sonatas, the Opus III of Beethoven.
Indeed. the Partita #5 starts off ina Scarlatti-like fashion with'a fleet ness of fingerwork reminiscent of Bach's great contemporary to the south. The normal dance movements follow-a stately Allemande, a brief and lively Corrente (faster than its French equivalent. the. Courante). a poignant Sarabande. a brisk yet' controlled Minuet. tan·~, talizing in its constant play of two against three (the ever-present hemiola), a foot-stomping Passepied (emphasis here on the upbeat of each measure), and a briskly contrapuntal Gigue.
Debussy purposely· eschews all suggestions of fingering, noting that efforts to supply such to his pupils and followers are, at best, in vain! The first Etude shows how frustration on the part of the pupil (the five-finger exercise broken by an interpolated A flat) can be. trans fQrmeq thtough inventiveness, curiosity and humor. An anomaly sur f~ces in number six-what exactly does "eight fingers" mean? As a footnote, D~bussy explains that the use of the thumb on each hand causes a type of acrobatic display not in keeping with the meaning of the work, and therefore must be avoided. The irony. of course, is that tlils piece. without the anchorhig of the thumb, becomes acrobatic! A footnote to· potential performers of this very special music: Once _, can get over the very real fears of memory and execution (it would be false to deny that these occur!), you can literally sit back and tevel in the endless fascination these "little" pieces evoke. It's well worth the effort. Program notes by Craig Sheppard