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Carson Becke and Suren Barry,
Anton Arensky (1861-1906)
Suite for Two Pianos no. 1 in G minor, op. 15
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)/Dmitri Alexeev (1947-)
Concert Suite from The Firebird*
*Canadian premiere of this new arrangement.
Carson Becke and Suren Barry, both born and raised in Ottawa, are two of Canada's most prominent young pianists. They have performed together in a two-piano format many times, but this marks their first performance together as Duo Octavian. The all-Russian program they are presenting here draws on music either written for dance, or inspired by dance. Anton Arensky - not a well known composer now, but very celebrated in his own time - was one of Rachmaninov's most influential teachers. Rachmaninov's own writing for two-pianos certainly draws inspiration Arensky's five suites for piano duo. The suite presented in this program features two dances - a waltz and a polonaise - and is deeply Russian in character throughout. Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances, written in 1940, was the last major work he completed. It exists in two versions: one for orchestra, and one for two pianos. As the title suggests, the three movements are symphonic in scale, and the three dances can be heard as a summary of Rachmaninov's life work: throughout the piece, references to his own compositions abound, as well as tributes to the great Russian symphonic school of the nineteenth century. Written 30 years prior to Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances, Stravinsky's Firebird also pays tribute to the Russian symphonic and balletic traditions, while paving the way for the bold new music he would write in Petrouschka (1911), and The Rite of Spring (1913). These three works have remained Stravinsky's most popular to date. Of the three, The Firebird is the most triumphantly melodic, and its glorious music is presented here in a new arrangement for two pianos by the London-based Russian pianist, Dmitri Alexeev. Mr. Alexeev has kindly granted Becke and Barry permission to give the Canadian premiere of the arrangement.
Friday, October 23rd, 2020
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Sunday, October 25th, 2020
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Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Symphonic Dances, op. 45