Jan 26, 2016

Whetting Your Appetite

It’s just one month away! And what would that be. . .our Discover Dueling Pianists Discovery Concert on Sunday, February 28th 2016 at Drew University. But this blog post is not just for those who live near enough to attend.

The program for the day will feature two sensational young artists, Fei-Fei Dong and Solomon Eichner – not actually pitted against each other, as our concert title might suggest – but rather given the opportunity to ‘strut their stuff.’ And the repertoire we have chosen for them to play will provide ample opportunity for this to happen.

Sergei Rachmaninoff was himself a brilliant pianist. He’s been gone since 1943, but his compositional skills thrill audiences around the world to this day, 72 years later. The other composer highlighted in this Discovery Concert will be Frederic Chopin – also a virtuoso pianist and equally gifted as a composer. Chopin died 166 years ago, but his music can still make audiences weep.

My own childhood, chronicled in small measure in other posts on this blog, was filled with heavy doses of the music of these two giant composer-performers. My mother Helen was a fabulous pianist in her own right and Rachmaninoff and Chopin were two of her favorite composers. I have no idea how many times I may have been present for her practicing or playing the two featured compositions – Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C Sharp Minor Op. 3, No. 2 and the Polonaise HeroÌøque in A-flat Major, Op. 53. I suspect. . .many times.

Another ‘unlikely’ place I used to encounter these compositions was during visits to our family pediatrician, Dr. Green – and the playing was not recorded background music! Dr. Green was not only a doctor but also a gifted pianist. And, in those days, when a physician’s office was part of their home – strains of the music of Chopin and Rachmaninoff, as played by Dr. Green, could often be heard through the walls of the waiting room!

If you can’t join us for this Discovery Concert – click on the above links! 38-year-old Bulgarian pianist Georgii Cherkin – not a household name but a wonderful performer – is playing the Rachmaninoff. I chose one of the ‘Olympians’ from the past, Polish pianist Arthur Rubinstein, for the link to the Chopin. One of the great moments of my childhood occurred listening to Rubinstein perform live at the Philadelphia Academy of Music.

And if you are able to join us on February 28th – we promise that Fei-Fei and Solomon will give you an afternoon of discovery to remember!