Daniel de Borah is rapidly making a name for himself as a thoughtful intelligent pianist who impresses with his musicality. Not only has he been selected by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust (who sponsor this concert), but he has won numerous national and international awards and has performed in Europe, Australia and Russia. His programme includes music by Haydn, Chopin and Schumann.
Born in Melbourne in 1981, Daniel de Borah began his musical education with his mother at the age of six. He went on to study at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest and the St. Petersburg State Conservatoire graduating with honours in 2004. His teachers have included Zsuzsa Eszto, Mira Jevtic and Nina Seryogina. In 2004 Daniel won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he currently studies as a postgraduate with Tatyana Sarkissova, and in 2005 he was selected for representation by Young Concert Artists Trust (YCAT) in London.
Daniel has already performed widely in Australia, Europe and Russia including concerts at Sydney Opera House (Concert Hall & Opera Theatre), the St Petersburg Small Philharmonic Hall, St Petersburg State Cappella, Vilnius Academy of Music and the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. As a concerto soloist he has appeared with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra, among others.
During his studies Daniel has won numerous national and international awards including 3rd Prizes at the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition, the 2001 Tbilisi International Piano Competition and the 2000 Arthur Rubinstein in Memoriam Competition in Poland. This summer he won the Croydon Concerto Competition, leading to appearances with the Croydon, Lambeth, Guildford and Epsom Symphony Orchestras. He has participated in masterclasses with John Lill, Gyorgy Nador, Boris Berman, Nikolai Demidenko, Stephen Hough, Alexander Satz and many others.
Engagements during the 2005/06 season include debut concerts at the Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall (11 April and 12 June), Fairfield Halls (18 April), St. Georges Bristol and Bridgewater Hall. In May Daniel returns to Australia to give a series of recitals and concerto performances.
Daniel is grateful for support from the Australian Music Foundation, Ars Musica Australis, the Countess of Munster Trust, Myra Hess Trust, Hattori Foundation and the Tait Memorial Trust. As there is another pianist active in London named Daniel Hill, he has recently assumed his mothers family name de Borah.
2 ORGAN PRELUDES in G minor and E minor (arr. Siloti) J.S.BACH (1685 - 1750)
SONATA in C minor (Hob XV1:20) JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809)
FOUR IMPROMPTUS FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN (1810-1849)
ÉTUDES SYMPHONIQUES op.13 ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
2 ORGAN PRELUDES in G minor and E minor (arr. Siloti) J.S.BACH
(1685 - 1750)
Over the years, the music of Bach (perhaps more than many composers) has reached new audiences via a steady stream of transcriptions and arrangements. In the nineteenth century, during what became known as the Bach 'revival', composers such as Mendelssohn, Busoni and Rachmaninov, produced transcriptions of Bach's work - some more successful than others.
As far as Bach's organ music is concerned, many people will be familiar with the famous transcriptions (for full Wagner-sized orchestra) made by the conductor and founder of the NBC Symphony Orchestra - Leopold Stokowski. His work did much in the early part of this century to popularise Bach's music. Pianists have similarly been inspired by the often grand and difficult Bach transcriptions by Ferrucio Busoni.
Alexander Siloti (1863-1945), the arranger of the two works we hear tonight and a cousin of Rachmaninov, was a pianist who eventually settled in America and taught at the famous Julliard School. Siloti was also known as a conductor, and early in his life he founded the Siloti Concert Society at his former home at St Petersburg. It was established with the aim of promoting unfamiliar or forgotten music. At these concerts, he sought to re-introduce audiences to the work of J.S.Bach with regular performances of the Brandenburg Concertos. The composer/performers Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Percy Grainger were also frequent soloists at his concerts.
The spirit and colour of the organ is wonderfully caught by Siloti in these superb arrangements.
Moderato (Allegro moderato)
This sonata was published in 1771, and is a delightful example of Haydn's compositions duing this period. Of his fifty-one sonatas for piano, most were written in his early years. (Only three sonatas were composed in the last twenty years of his life.) Many musicians have identified this work as being composed for the fortepiano - an early form of piano with only a limited relationship to the modern Steinway. In some respects this instrument had similar features to the harpsichord. For example, the fortepiano (like the harpsichord) was far less resonant in the low register than our modern instrument. The upper notes were somewhat crisper in attack - assisted by the fact that the sound decayed (died away) much faster than we expect from today's piano. With the current renewed interest in 'original instrument performance', we are hearing much more of the fortepiano these days.
In spite of its minor key (C minor), the present sonata is not a sombre work. The sonata is built in conventional three-movement form and contains some quite dramatic episodes. It features a particularly expressive slow movement, and the ornamentation indicated throughout this piece is typical of the eighteenth century 'classical' period. The final movement is especially striking with agitated (yet controlled) semi-quaver passagework which brings the work to a satisfying conclusion.
Fantasie-Impromptu in C sharp minor op.66
The immense popularity of Chopin's music, not just amongst pianists - but among music lovers at large, is due in no small way to the great variety of style and emotion embedded in this composer's work. His music is often contrasted with that of Franz Liszt whose virtuosity as pianist and composer is legendary. But temperamentally Chopin was not cut out for the life of a virtuoso - his style being more suited the intimate atmosphere of his aristocratic patrons' private salons. His considerable talent as a performer, however, has never been in doubt.
The titles Impromptu (and also Fantasie) suggest a musical composition containing at least an element of improvisation. But in Chopin's music, as in the famous Impromptus by Schubert, the term is used illustratively and not literally.
The most substantial work of the four, the beautiful Fantasie-Impromptu, was written in 1834 but not published until after Chopin's death. In the first of its three sections the main material consists of extended semiquaver passages accompanying a melody which can be heard in both hands. A more lyrical melody in a major key (and one that bears remarkable similarity to the pop tune I'm Forever Chasing Rainbows!) forms the slow middle section. And after a fast return of the semiquaver feature in the final section, the impromptu ends with a very brief reference to the lyrical song-tune once more.
Following two further Impromptus in A flat and in F sharp major -
both containing music of considerable originality and charm, the last
work (in the key of G flat) is another piece built in three clear
sections. The first section, constructed around triplets, is complimented
by a second which features a beautifully sustained left-hand melody.
The faster triplet music then returns to finish the piece.
ÉTUDES SYMPHONIQUES op.13 ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Schumann composed the Symphonic Études in 1834, making later revisions in 1852. Though following in the footsteps of Chopin and Liszt, Schumann created his work based on a single theme - one he originally called Études in the Form of Variations. The theme was based on a tune by Baron von Fricken, an amateur musician and father of Schumann's fiancée at the time - Ernestine von Fricken.
This considerable work underwent several revisions. Schumann originally intended eighteen Études. However, before publication, he reduced the number to twelve and re-titled the piece Études in Orchestral Style. (This shows us something of the huge scale in which he conceived this work.) Finally, after the composer's death, Brahms presented five of the original unpublished variations in his own performance of the work. It is with these additions that we usually hear the Symphonic Études played today, and these posthumous variations will also be included in this evening's performance.
Listeners who are familiar with Schumann's piano music may hear reminiscences of his earlier famous master-pieces such as the Abegg Variations and Papillon, or his later suite Carvival. But the Symphonic Études are on quite a different scale with an emphasis on grandeur and profundity.
The initial, rather tragic theme is in the key of C sharp minor, and is followed by a solemn March as the first variation. The second is in the style of a Nocturne, whereas the third étude is fast and energetic. The fourth is in the form of a canon, and the fifth changes to a bright major key. The sixth étude is syncopated in style, while the seventh is absolutely dazzling in its intricacy and virtuosity. The eighth variation is a highly ornamented one, making way for the ninth which is literally to be played as fast as possible. (This variation is a challenge for any pianist!) The tenth variation is, by contrast, light and open in texture, while the eleventh (in the key of G sharp minor) is serious and sombre. The final étude in this main section (Allegro Brillante) is a thrilling one with exciting dotted rhythms. There follows the five further posthumous variations, each one with a unique character of its own, and that concludes the Études Symphonique - a work of considerable power and magnitude.
This piece stands alongside the finest in the solo piano repertoire,
and so is a splendid way to end our recital this evening.
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