Les Soirées de Nazelles, FP 84, is a set of variations for piano written by the French composer Francis Poulenc. During the evenings, the composer used to sit at the piano and improvise "portraits" of his friends, all based on a given theme. The work was begun in 1930, and completed at Noizay on October 1, 1936.[ At the beginning of the score, it reads: "The variations that form the centre of this work were improvised at Nazelles during long country evenings wherein the composer played "portraits" for friends gathered around his piano. We hope that these variations, each one somewhere between a first draft and a finished work, will have the power to evoke this game in the spirit of a Touraine region living room– with a window open to the night."
Robert Schumann wrote his Arabeske in C major, Op. 18 in 1839 when he was 29 years old, dedicating it to Frau Majorin Friederike Serre auf Maxen, to whom he also dedicated his Blumenstück in D-flat, Op. 19. In the autumn of 1838 Schumann had left Leipzig for Vienna. His relationship with Clara Wieck had reached a point of no return, as her father vehemently opposed anything that might interfere with his daughter's career as a pianist and strongly disapproved of Schumann as a possible son-in-law. Geographically yet not emotionally detached from Clara, he was able to communicate with her only through letters and in his own music. This has been proposed as an explanation for this work, which alternates passages of wistful longing with more robust, declamatory episodes.
Carnaval, Op. 9, is a work by Robert Schumann for piano solo, written in 1834–1835 and subtitled Scènes mignonnes sur quatre notes (Little Scenes on Four Notes). It consists of 21 short pieces representing masked revelers at Carnival, a festival before Lent. Schumann gives musical expression to himself, his friends and colleagues, and characters from improvised Italian comedy (commedia dell'arte). He dedicated the work to the violinist Karol Lipiński.
Praised for his ‘velvet-gloved pianism of ravishing sensitivity’ (The Strad), Steinway Artist Simon Callaghan performs internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. His recent tours have taken him to Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Canada and throughout Europe. He has performed at all of the UK’s major concert halls including Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, St David’s Hall Cardiff and Manchester’s Bridgewater and Stoller Halls.
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