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P RELUDE AND F UGUE NO.

9 IN E, BWV 878 [1742]


FROM THE WELL-TEMPERED CLAVIER , B OOK II
The prelude is an elegant allemande with irregular melodic phrases that flow
from one into the next. Though the tempo is slow and the character stately,
the fugue subject features long-sustained notes, Bach thickens the musical
texture through liberal use of stretto, building up intensity throughout the
piece.

P IANO SONATA NO. 17 IN D MINOR, OP. 31 NO. 2 THE TEMPEST


[1801-2]
Ludwig van Beethoven
Though commonly known as "The Tempest", or "Der Sturm" in Beethoven's
native German, he did not give his seventeenth sonata the title, nor was it
referred to as such in his lifetime. Such a programmatic title was given by his
associate, Schindler, whose claim that the music was inspired by Shakespeare's
play has been met with considerable doubt. Whatever the case, the sonata
certainly possesses a stormy character, a dark tone and lots of drama. From
the mystery of the largo opening to the suppressed anger of the first subject
in the bass and the breathless quavers of the second subject, the first
movement maintains a strong forward drive and tragic power. The alternations
between moments of calm and long passages of turmoil calls for a pianist's
ability to create changes within a wide range of tone colours.
The second movement in Bb major can be likened to the sun appearing after a
storm. Yet, the music constantly reminds us of the darkness that shrouded the
first movement, as a rumbling tremolo in the bass lurks underneath a cantabile
melody. The opening rolled chords and some other motivic references recall
material from the first movement.
The third movement follows a sonata-rondo form and flows with emotion. It
focuses on a four-semi quaver motif that is more a motif than a melody. The
music relies primarily on harmonic change for development. The climax, a
fortissimo descending chromatic scale, is reserved for the end, and the entire

piece simmers away with a descending arpeggio. For all the tension involved,
all three movements end quietly in a rather anti-climactic fashion.
As a work from Beethoven's middle period, this sonata features elements that
foreshadow the emerging 19th century Romantic aesthetic. Perhaps the most
significant one is the innovative use of sonata form - the introduction of
motivic development that replaces early Classical methods of thematic
development. This sonata reflects Beethoven's revolutionary ideas and
thinking that were ahead of his time.

TWO ETUDES FROM OP. 10:


NO. 8 SUNSHINE [1830] & NO. 12 THE REVOLUTIONARY [1831]
Frederic Chopin
Chopin's tudes have since become standard repertoire for pianists, and not
just because of their technical demand. His treatment of the musical form as a
combination of technical virtuosity with musical substance later influenced
composers such as Liszt and Debussy. Many have since earned nicknames,
none of which were given by Chopin and should not be taken too seriously.
Yet as each study is so full of character, such descriptive titles do indeed help
encourage a performer's imagination.
The Op 10 Etudes were written while Chopin was still in his teens. No. 8 in F
major - sometimes referred to as "Sunshine" - is a study for the right hand,
though the middle section puts both hands in contrary motion. It has an
effervescent quality and charming character. This is a huge contrast to No. 12
in C minor, 'The Revolutionary', also known as the 'tude on the Bombardment
of Warsaw'. Chopin poured his emotions into the music following the failed
1831 uprising against the Russians. Though the immediate challenge lies in the
rapid runs in the left hand, the tude also features cross-rhythms in the right
hand. These are used to develop the main theme - an appassionata lament
that tests one's ability to sustain a melody with chords and octaves. The
ending C major melody alludes to Beethoven's last piano sonata. The
Revolutionary remains one of Chopin's most popular etudes, and is often
embedded in popular culture.

LA CHAPELLE DE GUILLIAME TELL [1835-9]


Franz Liszt
The first piece from the first suite of pieces composed during his travels,
William Tells Chapel depicts the Swiss struggle for independence, with a
caption of "All for one - one for all." Liszt clearly places the work in line with
the Romantic literature of his time, with each work inspired by a different
atmosphere or scene. A noble opening marked lento leads to a hymn-like
Swiss folk tune, the main melody of the freedom fighters. A horn call rouses
the troops, echoing amongst the tremolo accompaniment, the sound of heroic
struggle. As the music intensifies the mood turns gloriously all-conquering,
before subsiding and concluding in a solemn but positive tone.

CALCUTTA-NAGAR [1994]
John Mayer
The City of Calcutta is a suite of 18 movements, some lasting only half a
minute. Each little piece captures a particular scene or atmosphere, with
distinctively contrasting characters and specific titles such as Naya Bazaar, The
Poor at Howrah Bridge and St. Johns Church. Picturesque and somewhat
impressionistic, it is Mayers way of portraying his birth-city in a fusion of
Indian rhythms and harmonies with Western techniques.

RONDO CAPRICCIOSO, OP. 14 [1830]


Felix Mendelssohn
Known for his revival of interest in the music of J.S. Bach and Songs without
Words, Mendelssohn was an early-Romantic composer, early child prodigy
with a style that was essentially conservative compared to his contemporaries.
The Rondo capriccioso is in two parts: an Andante in 4/4 meter and E major,
and a Presto in 6/8 meter and E minor. Originally intended as an etude,
Mendelssohn later added an andante introduction and expanded the lively A
theme. The B theme is quite simple, while flashy arpeggios act as bridges
between sections. Overall this piece is marked with a strong rhythmic drive,
light-heartedness and virtuosity.