This year will see the launch of the Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards where the University’s historical keyboard instruments will be kept in concert-ready condition for historically-informed study, performance, and recording of classic and romantic repertoire. As part of the celebration of these instruments, the music department presents a festival, “Fugitive Resonance: The Piano in the Early 20th-Century” January 25-27, featuring the Blüthner “Aliquot grand” piano from 1878 and the 1908 Kovner Steinway.
Associate Professor Roger Moseley, director of the Center, says that the Blüthner piano features an additional string on the upper pitches of the instrument that creates a rich, complex tone that Debussy is said to have loved. Moseley further explains that “the piano music of Debussy and his contemporaries exhibits a heightened sensitivity to timbre. At their hands, sonority is not subsidiary to pitch and rhythm, but rather becomes an essential musical element in its own right. The Blüthner offers performers and listeners the opportunity of exploring new dimensions of piano sound while also opening up historical perspectives on how this music was played and heard in its own day.” All events are free and open to the public.
Friday, January 25, 8:00 pm, Barnes Hall
Entends la douce nuit: An Evening of Debussy, celebrating the centenary of his death. Lucy Fitz Gibbon, soprano, and Roger Moseley, piano, perform a selection of songs, and students from the piano studio of Xak Bjerken/Ryan McCullough will perform solo works.
Saturday, January 26, 11:00 am, Barnes Hall
Jocelyn Ho (UCLA) will present a lecture-recital that draws on the piano rolls made by Debussy in 1912 to claim that Debussy’s pianism was firmly grounded in the tradition of Chopin and Liszt. Discussion to follow.
Saturday, January 26, 8:00 pm, Barnes Hall
Mike Lee, piano, and Wayne Lee, violin, present a program of early 20th-century music, including Webern, Schoenberg, and Debussy’s sonata for violin and piano
Sunday, January 27, 3:00 pm, Barnes Hall
Music from early 20th-century Vienna, featuring Xak Bjerken and students performing Berg, Webern, Zemlinsky, Ravel, and Scriabin.
For questions about the Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards or the Fugitive Resonance Festival, please email the program coordinator, Kiko Nobusawa, at TN75@cornell.edu.