Frank Wiens, Piano Recital

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Frank Wiens, piano Feburary 16, 2024 7:30 pm Faye Spanos Concert Hall


FEBRUARY 16, 2024, 7:30 PM Wolfgang Amadè Mozart (1756–1791)

Rondo in A minor, K. 511 (1787)

Piano Sonata in C minor, op. 13, “Pathétique” (1798) Grave: Allegro di molto e con brio Adagio cantabile Rondo: Allegro

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)

Troubled Water (1967)

Margaret Bonds (1913–1972)

Nocturne in F-sharp major, op.15, no. 2 (1830–33)

Fryderyk Chopin (1810–1849)

Scherzo in C-sharp minor, op. 39 (1838–39)



Piano Sonata in B minor, LW A179 (1853)

Franz Liszt (1811–1886)

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PROGRAM NOTES Mozart: Rondo in A minor, K. 511 Mozart wrote his A minor Rondo in the spring of 1787 after a triumphant tour of Prague. Full of melancholy, it may have been inspired by the news of the death of a close personal friend. A highly chromatic first theme in A minor is followed by the first of two episodes in major keys and less somber character. After the return of the first section with additional ornamentation, its cadential material becomes the source of the next episode in the major mode, with alternating staccato and legato scale-like passages in a brighter spirit. Finally the first section returns with further ornamentation, followed by a brief coda which ends in that melancholy mood. Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, op. 13, “Pathétique” Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, op. 13, commonly known as “Sonata pathétique,” was written in 1798 when the composer was twenty-seven years old and was published in 1799. This work was very successful from the start and helped to develop Beethoven’s reputation as a composer. While the name “Pathétique” attached to this Sonata was suggested by his publisher in reaction to its tragic harmonies, the title evidently met with Beethoven’s approval. It has remained one of his most celebrated compositions. Beethoven dedicated the work to his friend Prince Karl von Lichnowsky. The Sonata is in three movements, I. Grave: Allegro di molto e con brio; II. Adagio cantabile; and III. Rondo: Allegro. Bonds: Troubled Water Margaret Bonds, one of the most prominent African American woman composers, was born in Chicago in 1913. As a high school student she studied piano and composition with renowned African American composer Florence Price. She went on to study at Northwestern University, where she would receive her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition and piano. In the library there she first became familiar with the poetry of Langston Hughes, with whom she would later collaborate, setting several of his poems to music. She was the first African American to perform as soloist with the Chicago Symphony. Like Florence Price, Margaret Bonds was to combine African American influences with Western classical music forms and traditions, including many settings of spirituals. Troubled Water, based on the spiritual “Wade in the Water,” has been one of her most popular works.

PROGRAM NOTES Chopin: Nocturne in F-sharp major, op. 15, no. 2 Chopin wrote the three nocturnes, op. 15, between 1830 and 1833. The second of these is the F-sharp major Nocturne. Written in an ABA form like many of the nocturnes, it begins with an expressive and highly decorated melodic line. A middle section is marked doppio movimento, or twice the tempo, and builds to a climax. Then the first section returns in somewhat abbreviated form followed by some lovely closing descending arpeggios. Chopin: Scherzo in C-sharp minor, op. 39 The third of Chopin’s four scherzos is in C-sharp minor, characterized by a main theme in fiery octaves. This is followed by a chorale-like chordal theme in the lower register alternating with delicate descending runs in the piano’s upper register. The first section then returns, followed by a slower and more ominous version of the chorale section. Then, as if the sun is coming out of the clouds, there is a long crescendo on a dominant pedal point which leads to a fast and exciting coda. Liszt: Piano Sonata in B minor The B minor Sonata of Franz Liszt was written in 1853 and published in 1854. It was dedicated to the composer Robert Schumann, who had dedicated his own C major Fantasy to Liszt. Whereas some of the earliest reactions to this Sonata were far from positive, it has become one of the staples of the piano literature and considered perhaps the composer’s finest work for piano. Although the term “sonata” traditionally meant a work in multiple movements, Liszt composed this work in one huge arc. There are resemblances to the traditional movements within this long, continuous work, which runs close to a half hour to perform. There are numerous attempts at attributing extra musical associations with this work, including the story of Faust with its characters, or Milton’s Paradise Lost, or even biblical links. Many of these attempts at analysis suggest both divine and diabolical characters represented by the multiple themes. —Frank Wiens

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY Frank Wiens is a professor emeritus at University of the Pacific where he taught piano 1976–2019. Wiens is a pianist known for his strong emotional commitment and virtuosity. His meticulous attention to detail and seemingly effortless control bring out even the most subtle musical elements. Dedicated to bringing his love of the classical piano repertoire to audiences of all levels of concert-going experience, his “nobility of conception” (Los Angeles Times) and command of “tone color” (Fresno Bee) coupled with a “formidable technique” (Sacramento Union) have thrilled audiences on three continents. His ability to establish rapport with an audience with the spoken word is matched by the obvious sincerity with which he communicates the emotional content of each work. Frank Wiens’s performing career has taken him to Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, and throughout the United States. Possessing a concerto repertoire of over thirty-five works, he has been a frequent soloist with symphony orchestras in the US and abroad. His recitals have taken him to major cities like London, Warsaw, Vienna, Seoul, New York, and Los Angeles, as well as to many venues where classical recitals are rarely heard. Believing that the gifts that one has been given carry social responsibility, he has devoted a significant part of his career to benefit recitals for the homeless and most recently for victims of the northern California fires. Frank Wiens gave his New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall. He made his European continental debut in Vienna at the Brahms-Saal of the Musikverein. He has also performed a concert tour of the Soviet Union, Romania, Poland, and two tours in South Korea. Frank Wiens returned to New York to give a recital for the 100th birth anniversary of Prokofiev. He was invited to tour the Soviet Union in April of 1991 in numerous solo and orchestral engagements as part of the 100th anniversary celebrations in Prokofiev’s native land.

Pacific Choirs “Blackbird, Fly!”

Photo by Sjanhvi2003, CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED

Sunday, February 18, 2024 | 2:30 pm Faye Spanos Concert Hall, Stockton Pacific Singers and University Chorus Darita Seth, conductor Take flight with music by Zanaida Robles, Richard Smallwood, Elaine Hagenberg, and others in celebration of Black History Month.

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Coming soon . . . Feb. 18, 2:30 pm, Faye Spanos Concert Hall Pacific Choirs Darita Seth, conductor Feb. 20, 7:30 pm, Recital Hall Faculty Recital Sabine Klein, piano Feb. 21, 7:30 pm, Recital Hall Composer-in-Residence, Gabriela Lena Frank

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