The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Minimalist Jukebox Festival includes an April 8 concert featuring 14 pieces by 11 composers played by five ensembles under three conductors — in an evening spanning five hours.
Joseph Hauer, piano, on Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor
Joseph Hauer ‘14 is one of our 2013 Concerto Competition winners, and we sat down with him to learn more about how close to his piece he’s become over the course of learning and performing it, especially as he prepares for his live-streamed performance with the Oberlin Orchestra this Saturday night.
We’ve asked all our concerto winners to describe their piece using three words, and Joseph picked these:
It is difficult to have an entirely impersonal performance, since musicians spend so much time alone with their music - analyzing, interpreting and realizing both one’s own ideas and the composer’s intentions. My goal, however is the opposite - to make the piece truly my own. Nikolai Lugansky feels this is Rachmaninoff’s most intimate concerto, making it perfect for a completely personal performance.
I chose dark to describe the emotional depth portrayed in each movement - bitter loss, hopeless melancholy, and bleak despair, to name a few examples. I feel that this music is always reaching and longing for something unattainable, the climaxes occurring not when that object is attained, but when one completely embraces and accepts the fact that it is unattainable.
Though Rachmaninoff was a throw-back composer, he was aware of the other types of music being composed during his lifetime. This concerto is edgy in its jazz-influenced harmonies and rhythms. It has moments that are modal, whole-tone, or even hexatonic, and utilizes complicated cross rhythms and cross-meters. I believe it reaches some of Rachmaninoff’s limits in how far he was willing to go in the direction of his contemporaries.
John D. Harper ‘08 “An Unexpected Path: The Possibilities of an Oberlin Education” A double-degree alumnus in African American studies and vocal performance, John Harper is vice president of the Institute for Responsible Citizenship, an intensive leadership development program for African American men. A member of the institute’s class of 2007, he joined its staff in May 2013 and manages development, marketing, and strategic planning activities. Previously, John served as senior associate director of development for Uncommon Schools, a charter management organization supporting 38 high-performing public charter schools in the northeast. He also did development and marketing work for Friends of E Prep Schools (now Breakthrough Charter Schools) and the Ohio Boychoir, both in Cleveland.
Will susan Graham's masterclass be available on YouTube?
Hi! Thanks for writing in. Susan Graham’s Masterclass is unfortunately postponed, and will not be held at the previously scheduled time.
To answer your question more generally, at this time, when live-streaming any given concert, we have no plans for upload to the internet after the performance. So when we do live-stream a masterclass, it’s only available live, at the time it happening.
To clarify, we actually weren’t planning to live-stream Susan Graham’s masterclass (or ARS performance). You can find a listing of planned Listen Live! broadcasts right here, and check Oberlin Conservatory’s Facebook and Twitter for last-minute changes or additions.
Schelomo is a story of an extraordinary life, that of the Israeli King, Solomon. Various musical parameters in the piece serve as means of telling that story. Some melodies represent his youth, others his old age. There is a remarkable amount of wisdom that I experience in the musical lines of his tale. There is a great depth of human experience in this story, and the music powerfully carries us through those diverse memories and feelings.
In a way, one can hear Schelomo largely in terms of colors. Bloch’s use of chromaticism and exotic harmonies paints a picture that is sometimes vibrant, other times dim, and often highly textured. I also often view dynamics as markers of color hues or densities more than simply measures of pure volume or intensity.
Although Schelomo is full of many rapid flourishes and extremely dramatic climaxes, I feel that the true heart of the pieces lies in the slower, more lyrical melodies. In those moments of melodic focus, I am brought back to my childhood when I used to attend Jewish services and gatherings with my family. The “songs” of Schelomo are like those tunes the cantor would sing for my congregation or the ones we would quietly hum together. Although these particular melodies certainly belong to Bloch, they embody the essence of my favorite Hebrew melodies, and serve as strong, grounding monuments that tie the whole work together.
Hear Charles perform this piece live in Finney Chapel (or Listen Live!) with the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra this Saturday night at 8 pm!
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