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Radical Cut – Piano Duo

8,35 10,44 

Piano duo Ivan Šiller and Andrea Bálešová

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SKU: PA 0082-2/9
Categories: Classical

Piano duo Ivan Šiller and Andrea Bálešová

i.stravinskij – three easy pieces for piano four hands
1 – march
2 – waltz
3 – polka
five easy pieces for piano four hands
4 – andante
5 – espanola
6 – balalaika
7 – napolitana
8 – galop
9 – m.piaček – ragtime for piano four hands
10 – j.iršai – the radical cut
11 – j.s.bach / g.kurtag aus tiefer not schrei ich zu dir
12 – játékok (games) IV.
13 – harangok /IV,3/
14 – hommage á sáry lászló /IV,4/
15 – köd-kánon /IV,1/
j.s.bach / g.kurtag
16 – alle menschen müssen sterben
17 – játékok (games) IV.
18 – kyrie /IV,8/
19 – hommage á halmágyi mihály /IV,6/
j.s.bach / g.kurtag
20 – o lamm gottes, unschuldig
21 – játékok (games) IV.
22 – tanulmány a „hölderlin“ -hez /IV,10/
23 – hommage á soproni /IV,7/
j.s.bach / g.kurtag
24 – gottes zeit ist die allerbeste zeit

This disc contains two active parties. On one side is the CD Audio and DVD Audio on the other.


The piano duet Ivan Šiller and Andrea Bálešová – Mudroňová was based in 2002, yet during the period of their common years of study at the Royal Conservatory in Gent. The chamber music they studied at the eminent pedagog of the chamber play – Marcel Lequeux, who acted as a guest pedagog at the Queen Elizabeth Contest in Brussel. In. 2004 they participated in Jan Michiels Master´s Interpreter Course, later they went on studying the chamber play in his master´s classroom at the Institute for the postgradual education – Orpheus Institute Gent (Belgium). In 2004 they were selected by the Royal Conservatory Gent as the most perspective chamber line-up for the representative festival to Limburg. They gave concerts in Slovakia, Belgium, Holland. Their repertoir includes works from periods of baroque, clasicism, romantism up to 20th century music. They like to present works of contemporary composers. During their concerting activity they have implemented more projects: Premieres of compositions for four-hand piano play by contemporary Flemish composers (2004), musically – educational projects Dialogues. They gave concerts in the frame of festivals Melos Etos, New Slovak Music, Convergencie, SPACE and many others. At present they accomplish the concert orientated project „Games“ focussed on the presentation of children piano creation in 20th century.

This record originated as a result of our long collaboration as a duet, as organisers and performers. During the last five years we have carried out together several artistic and educational projects. Our common intention was to address the audience not only by the music but also by comments on the music. It is in this sense therefore that we also approach you. For a long time we have been focused on the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. The selection of compositions serves our goal to present this music on the largest scale and to focus on the professional listener as well as on the large audience and to attract both children and adults. The title Radical Cut is also the name of one of the compositions present on this CD and it symbolically reflects our decision to put finally our record into practice. We hope that you will take interest in the music on our CD, just as we have, and that it will find a way into your hearts.
Ivan and Andrea

„ …It is impossible for a man to completely understand the art of previous periods and to penetrate into its sense through medium of his obsolete schemes and the long time ago used language without accepting of the presence in its riches and topicality and without knowingly being involved into his life around. For only those who are alive in the deepest sense of this word can reveal the real origin of those who are „dead“. Therefore I assume that it would be wiser – even from a pedagogical view – to start educating of a pupil by getting to know the presence and put aside historical epochs until later stages of teaching…“ (Stravinsky, Chronicles of My Life)

Music for children by Igor Stravinsky is close to children’s perception, their fantasy and playfulness. His approach to a child is rational, drawing on archetypal musical elements linked with his unique imagination. His melodic lines are transparent and simple. Striking, even though seemingly banal, rhythmic and melodic ideas conjure up powerful images, which reveal the emotional intensity of these miniatures. Three Easy Pieces for Piano Duet (1914 – 1915), March, Waltz and Polka, originated in the times when Stravinsky intensively worked on the score of Renard. The short four-hand pieces are intended for beginners. The centre of composition lies in the part of the right hand. March is dedicated to Alfred Cassell, Waltz to Erik Satie and Polka to Sergei Diaghilev. “Diaghilev rented a furnished flat in Rome. I stayed with him. In my luggage I had three short pieces for a four-hand piano play (with a simple score for a left hand) which I have just composed… We played them over wherein Diaghilev was given the score for the left hand to play and when we came over to the Polka I told him when composing it I had pictured him as a circus director in a tailcoat and a top hat on his head, horse-whipping and training an equestrienne to ride a horse. At the first moment he was confused, he did not know how to interpret it but at last we both laughed at it heartedly.“ (Stravinsky, the Chronicles of My Life, page 182).

In Five Easy Pieces (1917), Andante, Espagnola, Balalaika, Napolitana and Galop the demands are reversed. Stravinsky thus composes a work for a teacher and a student who plays the easier upper part. Each of the five pieces was written within one day (January – April 1917). The cycle was completed on April 3, 1917. The printed version appeared in Paris the next year when the work was given its premiere (February 9, 1918). In 1921 and 1925 Stravinsky scored these short compositions for a chamber orchestra and they are known under the title Suites for Chamber Orchestra Nos. 1 and 2.

The Slovak composer Marek Piaček (b. 1972, Bratislava) was attracted to music already at his early age. He studied the flute at the Conservatory in Bratislava, later his music interests moved into the area of composition. He studied privately with Ladislav Burlas and with Ilja Zeljenka at the Academy of Music and Drama in Bratislava. “Piaček’s music is cheerful; minimalistic devices are a typical demonstration of his music structures. The creative process is inspired by play, open concepts as well as by other art forms and genres. The composer tends to alternative artistic forms, fascinated by the crossover of the so-called „low“ and „high“ music, conversion of genres, by implanting low elements into high contexts or by cross-context exploration. Piaček’s most audacious gesture has been to undermine the institution of the composer. (Godár: Marek Piaček – Picaresque Music, Slovo No. 49/2004).
The original version of Ragtime (piano solo) was created for the project Tone Roads within the framework of the festival Evenings of New Music in 2004. The version for piano duet originated in 2005. The premiere was given by us within the framework of the project Your House of (New) Music in Gent (Belgium). “In Ragtime I took melodic and rhythmic structures from Charles Ives’s composition Three Page Sonata and transformed them into their presumably original shapes, seen, however, through the eyes of contemporary music and pozonism.” (M. Piaček).

The musical language of Evgeny Irshai (1951) was formed by the tradition of the Russian culture of music wherein he would grow up and educate himself (Sjankt Peterburg). No sooner had he arrived than the Slovak audience were gripped by his extraordinary artistic qualities, both as a composer and a piano player. Musical compositions of Jevgenij Iršaj are characterized by a strong expressiveness, unexpected dynamic turnabouts, extrovert impulsiveness contrasting with an intim line of melodical sequences. An interpretative demandingness of his compositions lies not only in a perfect overmastering of a contrast sound intensity but even in a technically – motional scope which is perfectly mastered by such an excellent pianist as Iršai is. The Radical Cut for a four-hand piano play and was given a premiere by our duo performance in Gent (Belgium). The structure of composition is simple – it is made up by three parts which are strongly emotionally and dinamically brought to the boil. The initial „dialogue“ of two players results into the mutual rhythmical motion, urgent all the time graduating expresiveness is abruptly broke down. The silence that follows, results into a chorale. Graduating seconds in upper voice evoke questions which are going to be answered by a descending motive in a baritone line. The dialogue is fading out and there still remains but an open question. The author says about his composition: „I cannot seem to say too much about this of my composition. The composition The Radical Slash was composed unusually quickly, in the run of about two days, in a hot emotional affect. It is not, in a matter of fact, even a composition but rather written, a sort of wellmade improvisation. If someone finds there a logic or a racional action, the only explanation for me is that they got there without my mind – spontaneously or using a might of a habit.“ (E. Irshai)

The eight volumed collection of piano compositions by Hungarian pianist, pedagog and composer Gyorgy Kurtág (1926) – Játékok (translated as Games (Engl.), Spiele (Germ.), Hry (Slov.)) is an analogy to Bartók´s Microcosmos. By teaching the piano play he follows the first steps of finger habits up to the masterpieces intended for full-grown interprets. The development of the Kurtag´s compositional utterance, inter alia, significantly influenced the meetings with the pchychologist Marianne Stein who he met in Paris in 1956. Her analisis and advice led the composer to revealing of a specific musical verbalization. Compositions are characterized by an absolute supervising over the musical flow which is many times reduced to a minimum – one or two tones. The musical phrases draw the energy on the language. Each tone is getting its specific meaning. This compositional process flew into working on compositions for Játékok (Games) in 1973. Kurtág was led to making up this final work by several motives. The first incentive was the composing of five short piano makings for his six years old son (they are components of the first part: Preludium and waltz in C, Allegro pesante, composition with clusters, Three finger play and Galop). These compositions did not take interest in his son´s teacher and so Kurtag did not evolve his thoughts anymore. Later in 1973 he wrote 12 Microludias Hommage a Kadosa for his teacher´s Pál Kadosa´s birthday celebration. Microludia were arranged into the second cycle of the collection „Játékok“ A watershed was a meeting with a pedagog Marianne Teoke, who asked Kurtag for a composing of pieces for children. Later the profesor Teoke became the Kurtag associate when making up of this great musical and pedagogical masterpiece. Kurtag writes: „The idea to compose „Games“ was inspired by children who play spontaneously and by those who take a piano as a part of a game. They experiment with it, caress with it, attack at it or run with their fingers along on it. They gather at first sight the incongruous sounds and if it hapens so, their musical instinct appears and they try to find harmonies and when they succeed in ding them by chance, they play them over. The collection is not a methodics but it is simply a set of piano pieces. It offers the chances for an experiment, not for learning „the piano play…“ Játékok (Games) can be characterized as „a diary“ of a composer, the collection of his thoughts and essays. The motto of his whole work is a few-tacts composition Virág az ember (We are flowers, brittle flowers), which appears during the whole cycle in various shapes. The significant co-part of his work are compositions for four-hand piano play involved in the fourth volume of work. The pieces differentiate from the point of character, invoice, the mutual comunication of prima and seconda parts, but even by notation which is characterized by a different criterion of face-to- faceness. Their difficultness is different – some of them can be interpreted by children (e. g. Kod – kánon (Misty kánon) (1/IV), Prelúdium és valcer F-ben (vagy Fiszben) (Prelúdium and Waltz in tone F) (or Fis)) (11/IV)), the others are set by their demandingness for a profesional pianist (e.g. Kéz and Kézben (Hand in hand) (3/IV), Hommage á Soproni (8/IV), Hommage á Halmágyi Mihály (6/IV) and others)

Paralelly with the piece Játékok Kurtág composed Transcriptions of Works for four-hand piano play and for two pianos. In them he processes the music by Machaut, Schutz, Frescobaldi, Purcell, Bach, Haydn, Musorgsky, and Bartok. In Kurtag transcriptions the piano plays the ideal polyphonic role.

(Ivan Šiller, Andrea Bálešová)

Recorded digitaly at the Fatra Hall, Žilina, 4th – 6 th June, 2010 • Recording, Mastering (24 bit/192 kHz), Production and Distribution: PAVLÍK RECORDS • Producer: Leonard Vajdulák • Music Director: Ivan Šiller, Andrea Bálešová • Sound Director: Rostislav Pavlík • Notes: © Ivan Šiller, Andrea Bálešová • Translation: © Peter Zagar (Stravinskij, Piaček), Ivo Šiller (Iršai, Kurtag) • Photo: © Giel de Laet • Graphic Design: © Martin Vojtek


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