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With special thanks to Jane and Bill Frazer
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CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, op. 11
KRISTS AUZNIEKS: Crossing (World Premiere)
GERSHWIN: An American in Paris
Chopin didn’t like to write for orchestra, and his two piano concertos exist only because pianists at the time were expected to compose their own showpieces. There’s evidence that he even left the job of orchestration to unskilled friends who did odd things like leaving the third and fourth horns with nothing to play in the last two movements of his First Piano Concerto. However, the glittering piano parts make these works delightful nonetheless.
Latvian-born composer Krists Auznieks has been a Composition Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and School and had his quintet “Piano” featured in The New York Times as one of the week’s best classical music moments. His award-winning opera Neoarctic was staged in Denmark, and deals with the devastating consequences of climate change. Concluding the program on the lighter side is Gershwin’s jazzy depiction of his visit to Paris, complete with street noises and taxi horns brought back from Paris for the work’s 1928 premiere. The score includes piano, but in sharp contrast to the Chopin concerto, the orchestra takes center stage.hoo