Performance Thursday, March 19, 2015 | 8 PM

Piotr Anderszewski

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
“It can be hard not to wax hyperbolic when confronted with the pianist Piotr Anderszewski's sensitive touch and potent imagination,” declared The New York Times. Known for his individuality and fresh interpretations, Anderszewski is renowned for his musical intellect and thoughtful approach. The Guardian said, “The tone and touch of Anderszewski's playing are so seductive that it is easy to forget how classically correct a musician he is.”


  • Piotr Anderszewski, Piano


  • BEETHOVEN Bagatelles, Op. 126
  • BARTÓK Fourteen Bagatelles, Op. 6
  • SCHUMANN Variations for Piano on an Original Theme, WoO 24
  • SCHUMANN Fantasy in C Major, Op. 17


Chopin's Mazurka No. 39 in B Major, Op. 63 No. 1
Piotr Anderszewski, Piano

At a Glance

The label bagatelle suggests a trifle or a little piece. But as Beethoven and Bartók ably prove in the first half of this program, size often belies significance. Beethoven’s final set of bagatelles, written in 1824, offers numerous parallels with his other great late works. Bartók’s 1908 compositions are no less audacious, described by his contemporary Ferruccio Busoni as “something truly new.” These pared-down pieces bear the hallmarks of Bartók’s intense study of Hungarian folk music during the very first years of the 20th century. The resulting set of bagatelles was, he felt, a reaction against the exuberance of Romanticism, stripping away unnecessary decoration and “using only the most restricted technical means.”

The second half of tonight’s recital, however, returns to the 19th century for two of Schumann’s most imaginative piano works. Written shortly before he was committed to an asylum, his
Variations for Piano on an Original Theme, WoO 24 , sometimes known as the “Ghost” Variations, show a quietly affecting portrait of the composer’s troubled mind. The earlier Fantasy in C Major reveals his musical ingenuity at the height of its powers. Schumann claimed that his imaginary alter egos, Florestan and Eusebius, had completed the work to support the building of a new Beethoven memorial in Bonn. And, indeed, Schumann’s publishers sold presentation copies of the piece to raise money for the statue. On a more private note, as he wrote to his beloved Clara, Schumann confessed that the Fantasy’s three highly expressive movements constituted “the most passionate thing I have ever composed.”
This performance is part of Keyboard Virtuosos I, and Keyboard Virtuosos I Mini.