Special to the Parade
The acclaimed Valley Symphony Orchestra, Peter Dabrowski, Music Director, recently announced its second chamber series concert of the 2011-12 Season, on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m., at the International Museum of Art and Sciences (IMAS) in McAllen, with a unique program of solo piano and poetry by native Russian pianist and poetess Elena Baksht.
“We are extremely excited and happy to welcome pianist Elena Baksht to the Rio Grande Valley,” states Larry Kopp, VSO Executive Director. “The concert features a really fabulous program for solo piano, all Russian works, including Mussorgsky famous Pictures at an Exhibition, as well as poetry by a number of some of Russia’s best-known and finest poets. It is a really unique program and one that you won’t want to miss.”
Entitled “Russia Through the Eyes of Poetry and Music,” the Nov. 19 program includes works by three Russian composers for solo piano: Barcarole from Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons and Andante Maestoso from the immortal Nutcracker Suite; Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Etude Tableau Op 39, #5; and Modest Mussorgsky’s famous Pictures at an Exhibition in its original form for solo piano. And interspersed with the musical selections are poems from some of the finest poets Russia has produced-Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Maximilian Voloshin, Alexandr Blok, as well as poems by our guest, Elena Baksht.
“I am a concert pianist. Music is my life. At the same time, I cannot imagine life without poetry. This is why I have long nurtured the idea of concerts melding music and poetry,” states Ms. Baksht. “I believe that by combining music and poetry in one presentation I can not only bring together two of my life’s passions, but also create a very powerful force field, helping me engage the public both musically and verbally, opening up a whole new experience for my audiences. I decided to start by creating several programs about Russia, and that is how, in 2000, “Russia Through the Eyes of Poetry and Music” came to life. Since then, I have performed it extensively, and always found my audiences very moved by it.”
The name Peter I. Tchaikovsky is one very familiar to concert audiences. The Nov. 19 concert includes two works by Tchaikovsky, one familiar, one not as well known by audiences. Tchaikovsky’s music to The Nutcracker is among some of the best known and loved music ever written. Elena Baksht will be performing an arrangement for solo piano of one of the individual works of music to the ballet “The Nutcracker.” Much less well-known is Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons. Written on a commission to compose 12 short solo piano pieces, one for each month of the year, the Barcarolle was composed for the month of June and was enormously popular during the composer’s lifetime, appearing in numerous arrangements.
Sergei Rachmaninoff was a famous virtuoso pianist and composer, known for incredible pianistic technique and bravura performances. His Etude-Tableaux #5 in E-Flat Minor, composed in 1917, was one of the last pieces Rachmaninoff composed before fleeing his homeland because of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent Communist government. Requiring tremendous technique to perform, in the hands of a true artist it is an exceptional musical work.
The final musical work on the program needs no introduction to concert audiences-Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky.
For more information, call (956) 661-1615 or visit www.VSOMusic.org.