Beethoven, Franck and romantic dreams of the counterpoint – 6 & 8 December 2022

Come join this concert with a most delightful programme of piano music (2- and 4-hands) inspired by romantic “dreams” – re-imaginations, re-inventions, inspirations – of or around the counterpoint.  Beethoven’s Op.109 sonata, one of his late sonatas and certainly one of the most loved by pianists, is on the menu, so is the majestic Bach-Busoni Chaconne in D minor, as well as two of Franck’s major triptychs for the keyboard, the much-loved Prélude, Chorale and Fugue (Op.21), and the slightly less often-performed piano transcription of the Prélude, Fugue & Variation (Op.18).

Warren Lee will bring half of his Carnegie Hall (“ingenious” and “compelling”) programme (the Beethoven and the Bach-Busoni Chaconne) from New York to London, and he will be joined by Sylvia Chan who will be making her first appearance at St John’s Smith Square after more than 15 years and interpreting Franck’s vision of romantic counterpoints with what can be described as finger dances around B minor (and many other keys) on the chromatic scale, both of them and both very much Bach-inspired, but always looking to reach the stars and the heavens, as we also celebrate the composer’s 200th birthday this December.

The two pianists (who combined for “the 3 song-inspired pianists” programme in Hong Kong earlier this year) will join together to play two 4-hands pieces too, one a better-known and very beautiful Bach transcription, the other a 4-hands transcription of a much lesser-known Brahms piece that was very much Bach-inspired, written for the organ and one of his final compositions, while Sylvia will start the concert with a most songful (and perhaps also soulful) Bach-Busoni transcription.

The programme is the first in our “Beautiful juxtaposition” series and here it is in full (** = 4-hands): 

  • J.S. Bach (arr. Busoni) – Ich ruf’ zu dir
  • Beethoven – piano sonata no.30, Op.109
  • Franck (arr. Bauer) – Prélude, Fugue & Variation, Op.18
    • [intermission]
  • Brahms (arr. Mandyczewski) – Chorale Prelude, op.122, no 8, Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen **
  • Franck – Prélude, Choral & Fugue, Op.21
  • J.S. Bach (arr. Kurtág) – Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit **
  • J.S. Bach (arr. Busoni) – Chaconne from Violin Partita in D minor No. 2, BWV 1004
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