October Concert Lineup Announced At 92Y
92Y's Tisch Center for the Arts is proud to launch its 2018/19 concert season with a month of singularly compelling programs. Of special note, October brings the opening installment of Inflection, an adventurous new series that gathers artists from various disciplines - including music, literature, visual art, and dance - to explore a creative project from multiple perspectives. Says Hanna Arie-Gaifman, Director of the Tisch Center, "I am delighted to introduce you to our revolutionary 2018/19 Performing Arts season. From multidisciplinary programs that deal with complex issues of our day, to deeply-felt recitals from some of the greatest artists of our time, this relevant and vibrant series of concerts promises to engage our hearts, our minds, and our souls. I look forward to welcoming you to 92Y in the coming months!"
The season opens on Sunday, October 14 (3 pm) with the North American premiere of East West Street: A Song of Good and Evil, the first event in 92Y's new interdisciplinary Inflection series. East West Street was created by award-winning author/human-rights lawyer Philippe Sands, who also narrates. The multimedia work features pianists Emanuel Ax and Guillaume de Chassy; Metropolitan Opera bass-baritone Laurent Naouri, who chose the musical selections; and co-narrator Katja Riemann. Nina Brazier is the stage director.
Philippe Sands is recognized as one of the world's leading human rights lawyers, often involved in cases on crimes against humanity and genocide. He has appeared before most international courts and tribunals around the world, including the World Court and the International Criminal Court of Justice. Along with East West Street (2014), his books include Lawless World (2005) and Torture Team (2008). His articles have appeared in many publications, including Vanity Fair, the New York Review of Books, the Financial Times and the Guardian.
East West Street is by turns a reading, a drama and a semi-staged concert. Drawing on words from Sands' book, it explores the connections between three men whose lives became intertwined during the Nuremberg trials: Hersch Lauterpacht, who introduced the concepts of crimes against humanity and war crimes into international law; Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term "genocide"; and Hans Frank, Hitler's personal lawyer and a leading architect of the Final Solution.
The musical selections include Bach, Beethoven, Busoni, Fréderic Chaslin, Leonard Cohen, Paul Misraki, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, and Ravel. Notes Sands, "Laurent Naouri's beautiful, eclectic selection of music drawn from the lives of the three men is an integral part of the performance. It draws us right into the heart of the stories while allowing us our own moments of solace."
How do people at the extremes of good and evil find solace in the same Bach aria? How can a nation's leaders be brought to justice? In the face of atrocity, where does our common humanity lie? East West Street is a powerful meditation on moral accountability, along with the twists of fate that shape our lives.
To date, East West Street has been presented in Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, and the UK. It was praised by The Financial Times as "amazing;" Swedish Radio described it as "gripping" and the BBC called it "brilliant."
Brahms Exploration, Garrick Ohlsson's two-year voyage through the composer's complete keyboard works, sets sail on Saturday, October 27 (8 pm). Hailed by BBC Music Magazine as "a born Brahmsian" whose "mature mastery of Brahms...is now comprehensively evident," Ohlsson is noted for his magisterial interpretive and technical skills, and "a sound so lush it almost glistens" (The Seattle Times).
Ohlsson's opening Brahms Exploration program centers on three variation sets: the introspective Variations on an Original Theme (Op. 21, No. 1); its effervescent successor, Variations on a Hungarian Song (Op. 21, No. 2); and the first book of Variations on a Theme of Paganini (Op. 35), which includes some of Brahms' most pyrotechnical piano writing. Also included are the tender Ballades (Op. 10) and the varied, inventive Eight Pieces for Piano (Op. 76). All together, the program forms a fine entry point to four decades' worth of essential piano repertoire.
"The famously self-critical Brahms discarded many string quartets and symphonies before publishing the first in either of those genres," says Ohlsson. "He wanted an impeccable legacy. Performing all of the solo piano music in one series is a way of honoring that legacy as well as to indulge my own joy in hearing so many of the less familiar opuses."
Garrick Ohlsson continues Brahms Exploration in April with the composer's adventurous Intermezzi (Op. 117), the Variations on a Theme by Handel (Op. 24), and other works.
On Sunday, October 21 (3 pm), Angela Hewitt begins Year 3 of her four-year Bach Odyssey. Cited by The Sunday Times (London) as "the outstanding Bach pianist of her generation," Hewitt brings both sparkle and precision to Book II of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier (BWV 870-893).
Book II of the WTC completes Bach's supreme contrapuntal achievement. Its 24 preludes and fugues, one in every major and minor key, illuminate the subtle differences in the sound and mood of each key present in the well-tempered system, and demonstrate Bach's supreme mastery of French, German and Italian idioms, the leading styles of the day. Angela Hewitt's beautifully-wrought survey of this legendary musical landscape is not to be missed.
Says Hewitt, "To perform Book II all at once is one of the biggest challenges I set myself. Each half is 75 minutes long. Each half is a recital in itself. Twenty years had passed since Bach compiled his first book of 24 Preludes and Fugues, and we notice a difference. The Preludes are longer, some looking towards sonata form. The Fugues are more complex, more inventive, and even more emotionally involving. It is Bach at the height of his powers. It gives me great joy to share this remarkable music with you."
Tuesday, October 16 (7:30 pm) brings the venerable Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble in octets by Schubert and Jean Françaix, plus Glazunov's Idyll for horn and strings. Founded in 1967, the Chamber Ensemble was created to perform the larger scale chamber music repertoire with players who customarily worked together, instead of the usual string quartet with additional guests. Through decades of collaboration, the group has developed a uniquely cohesive sound. Wrote the Washington Post, "Their sound is sweet and pure; their ensemble work airtight."
Jean Françaix's spirited, witty octet was written in 1972 for Willi Boskovsky's Vienna Octet as a companion to the Schubert Octet. The piece has soaring melodies and a sly nod to Boskovsky's tenure as director of the Vienna Johann Strauss Orchestra: a finale that is an unapologetically Straussian waltz. While Schubert's famed Octet is largely lighthearted, it contains virtuosic writing for each player and an Adagio of breathtaking beauty.
Sunday, October 14 (3 pm)
East West Street: A Song of Good and Evil
Laurent Naouri, bass-baritone
Emanuel Ax, piano
Guillaume de Chassy, piano
Katja Riemann, narrator
Philippe Sands, narrator
Nina Brazier, director
Tickets from $48
Tuesday, October 16 (7:30 pm)
ACADEMY OF ST MARTIN IN THE FIELDS CHAMBER ENSEMBLE
FRANÇAIX: Octet for clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, and Strings, "Á huit"
SCHUBERT: Octet in F Major, D. 803
Tickets from $53
Sunday, October 21 (3 pm)
ANGELA HEWITT, piano
Bach Odyssey VII
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II BWV 870-893
Tickets from $55