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CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

Jeremy Denk, Piano

Friday, February 1, 2019 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
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Jeremy Denk by Stefan Cohen
Hear inventive treatments of popular themes and homages to great masters in this program. Beethoven wrote virtuosic variations on a famous tune by Thomas Arne, as well as a theme of his own creation used in a country dance, the ballet The Creatures of Prometheus, and his famous symphony. Also hear John Adams’s tribute to legendary producer Bob Hurwitz, Schumann’s Beethoven-worship expressed in his passionate Fantasy, and more.

Part of: Keyboard Virtuosos I

Performers

Jeremy Denk, Piano

Program

BEETHOVEN Five Variations on "Rule Britannia" in D Major

JOHN ADAMS I Still Play

MENDELSSOHN Variations sérieuses

BEETHOVEN Fifteen Variations and a Fugue on an Original Theme in E-flat Major, Op. 35, "Eroica Variations"

SCHUMANN Fantasy in C Major, Op. 17


Encore:

WAGNER Pilgrim's Chorus from Tannhäuser (arr. Donald Lambert)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
Jeremy Denk Discusses His Musical Relationship with Composer John Adams

The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Simon Yates and Kevin Roon in support of the 2018-2019 season.

At a Glance

BEETHOVEN  Five Variations on “Rule Britannia” in D Major

At the beginning of the 19th century, the British were second only to the Viennese as fans of Beethoven’s music. The composer returned the compliment in this short set of bravura variations on the popular patriotic air “Rule Britannia.”

 

JOHN ADAMS  I Still Play

John Adams describes this beguiling miniature as a set of variations on a “generating harmonic progression.” It honors the former president of Nonesuch Records, the adventurous label with which both Adams and Jeremy Denk have been prominently associated.

 

MENDELSSOHN  Variations sérieuses, Op. 54

Mendelssohn hesitated before accepting a commission for an homage to Beethoven in 1841, but his fear that his music wouldn’t measure up to Beethoven’s was unfounded: The Variations sérieuses is widely considered a masterpiece on the order of the Diabelli Variations.

 

BEETHOVEN  Fifteen Variations and a Fugue on an Original Theme in E-flat Major, Op. 35, “Eroica Variations”

Beethoven’s reinvention of variation form is evident in this work, which forcefully forecasts the finale of his “Eroica” Symphony of 1803. His asymmetrical rhythms, crunchy harmonies, and complex counterpoint are already present in this relatively early piece.

SCHUMANN  Fantasy in C Major, Op. 17

Like most of Schumann’s solo piano works of the 1830s, the C-Major Fantasy was a musical valentine to his future bride, Clara Wieck. It blends the personalities of the composer’s fictitious alter egos: the stormy Florestan and the dreamy Eusebius.

Bios

Jeremy Denk

Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists. Winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the Avery Fisher Prize, he was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He returns frequently to Carnegie Hall, and in recent seasons has performed with the ...

Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists. Winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the Avery Fisher Prize, he was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He returns frequently to Carnegie Hall, and in recent seasons has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and The Cleveland Orchestra. He also recently appeared on tour with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and at Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms.

In the 2018–2019 season, Mr. Denk embarks on a three-week recital tour of the US, including appearances in Washington, Seattle, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, culminating in a return to Carnegie Hall. His orchestral highlights include play-directing works by Mozart with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and on tour throughout the US with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, as well as continuing his work as artistic partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

In the same season, Mr. Denk reunites with longtime collaborators Joshua Bell and Steven Isserlis on an 11-city tour of the US, including appearances in New York, Boston, Washington, and San Francisco. Further collaborations include performances of Winterreise with Eric Owens and Ives’s violin sonatas at Tanglewood with Stefan Jackiw. Abroad, he returns to the Barbican Centre in London with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, makes his debut with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and returns to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. He also appears in recital in Europe, including a return to Wigmore Hall as part of a three-year residency. Mr. Denk’s recording c. 1300–c. 2000 will be released this season by Nonesuch Records, with music ranging from Machaut, Binchois, and Gesualdo to Stockhausen, Ligeti, and Philip Glass. His previous recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations reached number one on the Billboard classical chart.

Mr. Denk is known for his original and insightful writing on music, which Alex Ross praises for its “arresting sensitivity and wit.” His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, and on the front page of The New York Times Book Review. One of his contributions to The New Yorker, “Every Good Boy Does Fine,” forms the basis of a book for future publication by Random House.

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