Suite No. 6 BWV 811 · J.S. Bach / F. Busoni:
Chaconne BWV 1004
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12
Piano Sonata No. 2 op. 36
The OehmsClassics Debut series now presents a young pianist whose career is developing on both sides of the Atlantic: Dudana Mazmanishvili; stage name: Dudana. Trained in her home country of Georgia as well as in Munich, she currently studies with Jerome Rose in New York. She has also been influenced by Earl Wild, Dmitri Bashkirov, Paul Badura-Skoda, Boris Berezowsky and Claude Frank. Dudana performs both in the USA as well as in Europe. Her extensive repertoire is represented on this release by works ranging from Bach to Rachmaninov. Dudana will be giving a piano recital in the Metallener Saal of the Vienna Musikverein on November 2.
In signo Joannis Sebastiani Magni
The Piano Recital of Dudana Mazmanishvili
Since the era of romanticism, no composer
can get around Johann Sebastian
Bach. Most composers avow themselves to him emphatically, and only rarely is the judgement reservedly cool; even Tchaikovski, who denied his “genius”, recognized him as a master of counterpoint compositions. The ever-increasing appreciation
of Bach during the 19th century was largely due to the first biography of his life written by Johann Nikolaus Forkel. True, the research surrounding Bach had made great progress since the publication of this biography in 1802, but in many respects the field is still dependent on the conjectures of the scholar from Göttingen.
For example, it is not possible to refute the explanation he provides as to why the six Suites BWV 806–811 carry the surname “Englische”: according to Forkel they were “composed for a noble English gentleman”;
and in fact, on one of the transcriptions we find the note “Fait [sic] pour les Anglois”. The manuscript itself, however, is lost and this has presented certain difficulties in attempting
to date the suites. The only thing we can be certain of is that they were composed
before 1725, in all likelihood during Bach’s time in Köthen.
Bach himself called these works “Suites avec Préludes” and indicated therewith the importance of the introductory movements. The Sixth Suite in D minor, which concludes the collection, begins with a prelude that is divided into a peaceful and dreamy section and a spirited fugue section. The subsequent
dance movements reach their emotional
pinnacle in the chromatically opulent and lavishly adorned “double” zarabanda. Bach included in his composition of the second gavotte, which was a variation of the first, a quaint effect: the key note sounds regularly, imitating a sort of bourdun-bass.
The composer Ferruccio Busoni considered
Bach to be one of the few exponents of “primordial music”. Busoni dedicated not only a composition to Bach – “in signo Joanni Sebastiani Magni” – , but is also responsible for a seven volume edition including
variations and personal “compositions
and adaptations”. The most famous was to be Chaconne in D minor, which was originally the closing movement of the Violin
Partita BWV 1004 that Busoni prepared “for a concert presentation” and performed for the first time during his second tour of America in 1893. In his pianistic postsentiment,
Busoni summons from this grandiose melody, adapted from Bach’s original piece for a single violin, an orchestral world of sound.
Even Franz Liszt and Sergei Rachmaninov,
both significant pianists, paid Bach tribute. For his Hungarian Rhapsody, Liszt clearly drew upon another source. During his sojourn in Hungary, he had heard the original gypsy bands and preserved various motifs in his sketchbook. These experiences
during his travels and painstaking further
studies provided the foundation for his 19 rhapsodies. Most of these pieces manifest
in their contours a traditional model of form: a slow segment (“Lassan”) alternates with a fast one (“Friska”). As an example, in Rhapsody Nr. 12 in C-sharp minor a melancholic
introduction opens into a series of lively passages that ultimately builds into a breathtaking stretto.
It should be mentioned that the English Suites and the Bach-Busoni Chaconne belonged
to Rachmaninov’s repertoire. The pieces he himself wrote were tailored specifically
to his own pianistic talents. In 1913 he performed the debut of his Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor in Moscow, a work that overflows with diverse concepts following the explosive beginning of the piece. It is possible to distinguish three sections, but constant motif-reminiscences convey the impression of a single, large and complex compositional tableau. Rachmaninov, who tended to be an extremely harsh critic of his own work, would later express his dissatisfaction
with this piece. His biographer Alfred Swan for his part said: “In this sonata,
so many voices are sounding simultaneously,
and it is too long.” A revision of the piece in 1931 lead to considerable abridgment,
he removed 120 bars, after all, and to a thinning of the piano movements.
Dr. Michael Bastian Weiß
Translation: Maurice Sprague