"Pastorale" program notes

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On June 24, I am playing a recital on the piano that I grew up with. This piano was bought a year ago by St. James Anglican in Stratford, and refurbished at the time of purchase. This is my first "meeting" with the piano since then, and I am pretty thrilled.

As this piano had been owned by my mother (who also happened to be my first piano teacher) who purchased it in Copenhagen (where I now live) and had it shipped to Canada, St. James will be naming it "the Edite Mogensen piano". The June 24th recital features this dedication and as well, is a fundraiser for the newly renovated Upper Hall at St. James.

In choosing music for this event, I felt it would be appropriate to play something that I had played on this instrument during my teens; the first thing that came to mind was Beethoven's Sonate opus 28, "the Pastorale". From there, the theme and mood of the event became "Pastorale", gentle and happy music, mainly in a major key, well-suited to the beginning of summer, and also hopefully somewhat of a soothing balm and respite in the midst of all the intense happenings in our world right now.

The program opens with an invitation into delight, with two short pieces by French composer, Francis Poulenc: Pastourelle and Novelette in C major. Following this, is the Sonata, Which is one of my favourite works of Beethoven, in four engaging movements. I played this piece at my first ever solo recital, at the age of 17...so playing it again now holds a lot of meaning for me. And...I can't remember the last time I performed a Beethoven Sonata! 

Needless to say, music of the Nordic countries is of great interest to me. I have chosen a set of pieces that describe pastoral or summer scenes from four of the five countries, by composers born in the mid-nineteenth century.

  • Denmark: Lange-Müller (1850-1926)
  • Sweden: Peterson-Berger (1867-1942)
  • Finland: Sibelius (1865-1957)
  • Iceland: Sveinbjörnsoon (1847-1927)

Norway is then represented in this program by Grieg (surprise!), with a group of very short pieces from my upcoming recording release.

This recital is about an hour in duration; I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share it with you.

 

Sandra MogensenComment