CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

Performance Saturday, October 22, 2011 | 7:30 PM

Miloš

Weill Recital Hall
As the “‘new hero’ of classical guitar” (NPR Music), 28-year-old Miloš Karadaglic is on a mission to bring the guitar out of its old-fashioned niche, sparking a renaissance by applying his distinctive charm to the repertoire. His new album, Mediterráneo, is topping the charts and garnering international raves. On this concert—his Carnegie Hall debut— Miloš showcases works by Bach, Granados, Albéniz, Villa-Lobos, and more.
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The Program

About the Composers


Although Johann Sebastian Bach spent most of his career as a church musician, he devoted much of his energy to composing secular instrumental music. It ranged from large-scale orchestral suites and concertos to unaccompanied works for sundry instruments, including seven compositions for solo lute.

By contrast, Agustín Barrios Mangoré wrote exclusively for the guitar. On his wildly successful European tours in the 1930s, he capitalized on his exotic background, billing himself as “the Paganini of the guitar from the jungles of Paraguay.” Spanish composer-pianists Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados likewise traveled abroad as ambassadors of Hispanic culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, evoking the sounds and landscapes of their beloved homeland in vividly colored tonal sketches redolent of Debussy.

Heitor Villa-Lobos performed a similar service for Brazilian music in the decades after World War I. Although he wrote in a wide array of genres, he is best known for his Bachianas Brasileiras, a group of nine suites for various ensembles that infused the forms, harmonies, and procedures of the European Baroque with the spirit of his native land. In recent years, the equally prolific Italian guitarist-composer Carlo Dominiconi has ingested a cornucopia of musical, artistic, and literary traditions, from Baroque suites to bossa nova, from Anatolian folksong to Indian ragas, and from King Arthur to The Arabian Nights.


—Harry Haskell

© 2011 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Prelude and Fugue from Partita in C Minor, BWV 997

About the Music


The Partita in C Minor (conventionally transposed to A minor for guitar) is a five-movement suite consisting of three dances preceded by an intricately wrought prelude and fugue. Bach probably wrote it in the final decade or so of his life, when he was at the peak of his powers as an improviser and contrapuntist. The lute had reached its heyday in the 17th century and was slowly going out of fashion by the mid-1700s, but Bach, together with his contemporary Silvius Leopold Weiss, helped keep the tradition alive.


A Closer Listen


The Prelude’s characteristically ruminative opening soon gives way to a flood of 16th notes that trace florid arabesques against a steadily walking bass line. Unusually for Bach, the Fugue is in a rounded A-B-A form, with the first part repeated instead of driving straight through to a climax. The two sections are sharply differentiated in their figurations, rhythmic motion, and thematic material. Both, however, are audibly related to the Prelude, giving the paired movements a strong sense of organic unity.


—Harry Haskell

© 2011 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

AGUSTÍN BARRIOS MANGORÉ
Un sueño en la floresta

About the Music


Barrios—he adopted the surname Mangoré late in life to associate himself with a legendary Paraguayan chieftain who had resisted the Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century—wrote prolifically, and exclusively, for the guitar. Only about a third of his output, estimated at some 300 pieces, is extant. Un sueño en la floresta, or A Dream in the Glade, is among the handful of his works that have established themselves in the concert repertory.


A Closer Listen


The central idea of the piece is an aria-like melody in fast-repeated tremolo notes, reminiscent of Francisco Tárrega’s famous Recuerdos de la Alhambra, set against gently rocking arpeggios in 6/8 time. Its skittish energy contrasts with the relaxed lyricism of the introduction and middle section. As a composer, Barrios Mangoré was a master ofdiaphanous, impressionistic textures and delicately exotic harmonies. As a guitarist, his technical mastery was surely no less extraordinary.


—Harry Haskell

© 2011 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS
Prelude No. 1 in E Minor; Etude No. 11 in E Minor; Chôros No.1; Etude No. 12 in A Minor

About the Music


Villa-Lobos wrote comparatively few guitar works, but they are among the choicest—and most technically demanding—in the repertoire. He taught himself to play the guitar at an early age and worked briefly as a street musician in Rio de Janeiro at the turn of the 20th century, an experience that bore fruit in his folk-influenced Suite popular brasileira for solo guitar of 1908–1912 and the beguiling Chôros No. 1 of 1920. The dozen etudes of 1929 and the five preludes of 1940 likewise pay homage to their European models in an unmistakably Brazilian accent. The etudes were written while Villa-Lobos was living in Paris and are dedicated to the Spanish virtuoso Andrés Segovia. In his preface to the score, the guitarist compared them to the pianistic studies of Scarlatti and Chopin, which similarly “fulfilled their didactic purposes without a hint of dryness or monotony.”


A Closer Listen


Villa-Lobos described his First Prelude as “lyrical melody: homage to the Brazilian country dweller.” Its sultry E-minor theme, couched in mildly piquant harmonies, contrasts with a bright, dancelike midsection in E major. The two etudes explore similarly idiomatic guitar techniques. Etude No. 11, marked Lent (“slow”), is a bravura essay in close-tuned chromatic harmonies, tremolos, and insistent motor rhythms punctuated by slashing chords. No 12, Animé (“animated”), is notable for its propulsive, irregular rhythms, slithering chromatic slides, and spitfire passagework. Chôros No. 1 reflects the composer’s imaginative synthesis of European and Brazilian, folk and concert-hall idioms. It is one of a series of pieces for various instrumentations based on indigenous musical traditions—in this case the choro, a kind of popular street music played by ensembles of winds, percussion, and guitar. The gently swaying rhythms of Villa-Lobos’s syncopated triple-time dance alternate, rondo style, with episodes of a contrasting character.


—Harry Haskell

© 2011 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

ISAAC ALBÉNIZ
Asturias from Suite española; Granada from Suite española

About the Music


Albéniz’s richly evocative Suite española (Spanish Suite) for piano helped establish the 26-year-old composer as a leading exponent of Spanish musical nationalism. Written in 1886, it opened the gates to a flood of Spanish-flavored pieces that would culminate in his atmospheric masterpiece Iberia of 1906–1908. Much of Albéniz’s piano music was inspired by the folk traditions of Andalusia, the birthplace of the flamenco guitar.


A Closer Listen


These two pieces, like the locales that inspired them, are a study in contrasts. “Asturias” is infused with the wildness and drama of the northern Spanish coast: Its surging E-minor theme, circling around insistent B-naturals, grows steadily more urgent and ominous. A sudden clearing of the air, like a mountain breeze, leads to a slow, meditative interlude and a reprise of the first section. “Granada,” on the other hand, is a light-hearted, waltzing serenade redolent of the Mediterranean clime. It opens and closes in sun-drenched E-major, passing en route through a darker, more tonally ambiguous region.


—Harry Haskell

© 2011 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

ENRIQUE GRANADOS
Andaluza from 12 danzas españolas; Orientale from 12 danzas españolas

About the Music


Like Albéniz’s Suite española, Granados’s 12 danzas españolas (12 Spanish Dances) is an early, folk-inspired work that did much to establish his reputation as both composer and pianist. He wrote the set of piano dances in the late 1880s under the influence of musicologist Felipe Pedrell, whose pioneering research on Spain’s musical heritage also left its mark on Albéniz. The 12 danzas españolas pointed the way to Granados’s best-known piano suite, Goyescas (1909–1912), inspired by the paintings of Goya.


A Closer Listen


“Andaluza” takes its name from a generic word for such Andalusian dances as the malagueña and fandango. Cast in symmetrical A-B-A form, the piece glides smoothly back and forth between E minor and E major. The driving rhythms and syncopations of the outer sections are interrupted by a light, airy interlude. “Orientale,” a slow dance in 3/4 time, features a serenely flowing D-minor melody set against a steady undertow of eighth notes. Trills, turns, and grace notes contribute to the music’s vaguely exotic flavor.


—Harry Haskell

© 2011 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

CARLO DOMENICONI
Koyunbaba

About the Music


Domeniconi describes this, his most frequently performed work, as a pastorale inspired by the landscape of Turkey, his home for many years. Koyunbaba means “sheep-father” in Turkish. Baba is also a title given to Sufi saints, and some listeners have detected in Domeniconi’s hypnotically repetitive music a reference to the ecstatic whirling of the Sufi Dervishes. Elsewhere in the score, he evokes the sound of the bağlama, a Turkish lute. Domeniconi’s strikingly eclectic musical language reflects his commitment to multiculturalism and his immersion in world music and jazz.


A Closer Listen


Like many of Domeniconi’s works, Koyunbaba has the rhapsodic, free-flowing feel of a written-down improvisation. The suite does, however, have a clearly articulated structure that consists of four movements. Domeniconi’s basic building blocks are short melodic and rhythmic phrases or cells, which he combines into extended compositions, often tied together by a steady underlying pulse. In its emphasis on repetition, drones, and slowly shifting textures and harmonies, Koyunbaba has much in common with minimalist music.


—Harry Haskell

© 2011 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

The Distinctive Debuts series is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for the presentation of young artists provided by The Lizabeth and Frank Newman Charitable Foundation.

Additional endowment support for international outreach has been provided by the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation.
This performance is part of Distinctive Debuts.

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