Laura Kargul in Concert: Composers on the Edge
Internationally acclaimed pianist Laura Kargul comes to us once again, Oct. 15, 7:30 PM, at Nordica Auditorium to share an intimate evening of piano music on Nordica's own Falcone piano. This event has taken years of planning by the Arts Institute of Western Maine (AIWM). Laura Kargul is happy to be back in Farmington--she has gained a local reputation in this town for her commanding and sensitive performances introduced with her often humorous and always penetrating insights into the history and the meaning of the music she plays. Many of us know her for her incandescent Liszt performances, but her repertoire goes far deeper--in this concert she explores in this concert, "Composers on the Edge."
That edge is the rare emotional edge where the composer is seriously and intimately sharing his or her deepest feelings with the listener. Imagine for a moment, a composer (famous most likely) in which all technical issues of harmony and style are conquered, and the compositional flow is completely natural. This composer too, has written orchestral music, knows all the unique sounds of the orchestra, and how they blend, and will put these effects into his or her piano score. Now the question is....what happens when the composer turns that technical power into something intimately and truly affecting, to bring out the deepest feelings that music can convey?
Those familiar with J.S. Bach's repertoire know how even in his most technically complex works, the continual emotional stream of his personal life is evident--his doubts and sorrow at the loss of first wife and many children, for example. And how his musical self-explanations can wrestle and culminate in faith and an exultation in God. In this concert we will hear Bach's “Capriccio on the Departure of His Beloved Brother”. This piece is written in a rare style, a "capriccio" being a "little caprice or caper", typically in free form and usually lively and brilliant. A second work is Schumann's. The romance between Robert Schumann and his young love Clara Wieck is the stuff of many biographies. Briefly put, Robert wooed the quite young Clara in a long courtship against her family's objections. (Their subsequent long marriage produced 8 children but ended tragically as Schumann was incarcerated with mental illness.) In this early love piece, longing, obsession and passion pour out in his rarely played “Sonata No. 1 in F-Sharp Minor.” And Maurice Ravel in the early 1900's was witnessing the breakdown of the Golden Age with his masterpiece “La Valse". This well-known opus was originally for ballet and became an orchestral piece, but is rarely played in its solo piano transcription for its extreme difficulty. Ravel opposed the unanimous critics in their interpretation of the piece as a reflection the decadence of the times and the oncoming maelstrom, and wrote, "This dance may seem tragic, like any other emotion... pushed to the extreme. But one should only see in it what the music expresses: an ascending progression of sonority, to which the stage comes along to add light and movement." Ravel himself is fully aware of the modernization that is coming in the world, the vortex tugging on the world as well as at musical forms.
Laura Kargul is a commanding and sensitive performer whose performances have continually been a hit with our audiences. Her repertoire spans Scarlatti to Rochberg, but she has received particular recognition for her playing of the nineteenth century romantics. After obtaining her doctorate in piano performance from the University of Michigan, her European tour created a sensation. Her newly released solo CD, “Liszt and Ravel: Transcriptions for Piano,” produced by Grammy winner Bob Ludwig includes the piece she will play, "La Valse". Kargul moved to Maine in 1989 to join the piano faculty at the University of Southern Maine, where she now serves as the Director of Keyboard Studies. Devoted to teaching, Ms. Kargul lectures and presents at many Music Teachers’ Associations. Oct 15 she will present a concert which is sure to be memorable.