Carnegie Hall Presents

The Late Style

Pianist Jonathan Biss leads an exploration of the “late style,” that mystical period when composers look to their life’s experiences, acquired knowledge, and perhaps imminent mortality, whether overtly or subconsciously. It’s a time when composers can become fixated with death or embrace a childlike innocence. Works from a master’s “late style” might be startlingly complex or tightly constructed distillations of a life’s work. In three fascinating concerts, Biss and close colleagues perform music that spans the late Renaissance to the present day, revealing the different ways composers create at their career’s end.
February 15, 2017
Jonathan Biss
Brentano String Quartet
February 23, 2017
Jonathan Biss
Brentano String Quartet
March 10, 2017
Mark Padmore
Jonathan Biss

Jonathan Biss
Brentano String Quartet

Zankel Hall
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | 7:30 PM

Performers

Jonathan Biss, Piano
Brentano String Quartet
·· Mark Steinberg, Violin
·· Serena Canin, Violin
·· Misha Amory, Viola
·· Nina Lee, Cello

Program

BACH Selections from The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080
·· Contrapunctus I
·· Contrapunctus VII
·· Contrapunctus IV
·· Contrapunctus XI
GYÖRGY KURTÁG Selections from Játékok, Book VII
·· "Un brin de bruyère à Witold (in memorium Witold Lutoslawski)"
·· "... and once again: Shadow-play"
·· "Hommage à Farkas Ferenc 90"
·· "Fugitive thoughts about the Alberti bass"
·· "All'ongherese"
·· "Geburtstagsgruss für Nuria [... etwas verspätet...]"
BRITTEN String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111
The “late style,” that mystical period when composers look to the ends of their lives, is the theme of this program. Bach never completed his The Art of Fugue, but what remains is a mind-stretching exploration of counterpoint that marks the pinnacle of his career. Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 32 explores the harmonic boundaries of his day, boldly crosses them, and says farewell to the genre with a transcendent finale. Kurtág’s Játékok (Games) contains allusions to last moments and expresses them with powerful gestures. In his final quartet, Britten invokes the memory of Shostakovich—who had just died at the time of composition—in a work that’s at turns tranquil, sardonic, and wistful.

Jonathan Biss
Brentano String Quartet

Zankel Hall
Thursday, February 23, 2017 | 7:30 PM

Performers

Jonathan Biss, Piano
Brentano String Quartet
·· Mark Steinberg, Violin
·· Serena Canin, Violin
·· Misha Amory, Viola
·· Nina Lee, Cello
Hsin-Yun Huang, Viola

Program

SCHUMANN Fünf Gesänge der Frühe
GESUALDO Selections from Madrigals, Book VI (arr. Bruce Adolphe)
·· "Deh, come invan sospiro"
·· "Beltà poi che t'assenti"
·· "Resta di darmi noia"
·· "Già piansi nel dolore"
·· "Moro, lasso, al mio duolo"
BRAHMS Klavierstücke, Op. 118
MOZART String Quintet in E-flat Major, K. 614
Four great composers that span the early Baroque to the Romantic eras contemplate their mortality. In Schumann’s Fünf Gesänge der Frühe, harmonies shift and dissonances arise in surprising places. Brahms’s Klavierstücke, Op. 118, is more conventional with rich lyricism and touches of melancholy. Mozart’s String Quintet in E-flat Major was his last chamber work and completed less than eight months before his death. Nothing in the quintet suggests impending tragedy; instead, Mozart’s music is high spirited and radiates good humor, especially in its flashy Rondo finale.

Mark Padmore
Jonathan Biss

Zankel Hall
Friday, March 10, 2017 | 7:30 PM

Performers

Mark Padmore, Tenor
Jonathan Biss, Piano

Program

ALL-SCHUBERT PROGRAM
Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 959
"Im Freien," D. 880
"Die Sterne," D. 939
"Des Fischers Liebesglück," D. 933
"Der Winterabend," D. 938
"Herbst," D. 945
Selections from Schwanengesang, D. 957
·· Kriegers Ahnung
·· Aufenthalt
·· In der Ferne
·· Die Stadt
·· Am Meer
·· Der Doppelgänger
·· Die Taubenpost
In the final weeks of his life, Schubert composed a large body of music, including the Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 959, and the songs of Schwanengesang. Despite the grim circumstances of his condition, Schubert resisted darkness and wrote some of his most inspired and transcendent music. The Piano Sonata is one of three he wrote in his final weeks, and is bold and lyrical with an Andantino movement that fascinates with its surprising key changes. The Schwanengesang songs don’t tell a particular story, but contain the quintessentially Romantic themes of nature, love, and loss that Schubert sets with soaring lyricism.

Listen

SCHUBERT Schwanengesang (“Der Atlas”)


Mark Padmore, Tenor | Paul Lewis, Piano