With an extraordinary career spanning over four decades, Martin Roscoe is unarguably one of the UK’s best loved pianists. Renowned for his versatility at the keyboard, Martin is equally at home in concerto, recital and chamber performances. His enduring popularity and the respect in which he is universally held are built on a deeply thoughtful musicianship and his easy rapport with audiences and fellow musicians alike.
Published in 1828, the year Schubert died, and written between 1823 and 1828, the Six Moments Musicaux (literally “musical moments”) are amongst Schubert’s best-loved works for piano and are as accessible to the competent amateur pianist as they are to the concert artist. These fleeting pieces were written to satisfy the Viennese public’s growing appetite for Albumblätter – literally “album leaves” – short pieces which could be played and enjoyed at home. It is quite likely that Schubert played them himself at informal musical gatherings with his friends. They may be brief but they are rich in character and display Schubert’s many moods, the paradox of Schubert’s life and indeed of all human existence and the wonder of being alive – from happiness and hope to profound introspection and poignancy, intimacy and tenderness, terror, rage and desolation.
Debussy’s Estampes (“prints” or “engravings”) offer three examples of Debussy’s pictorial rhetoric and promise to take us on a journey from the Far East to the centre of Spain, then arriving home at in France. The work is thought to reflect Debussy’s memories of the Javanese gamelan, heard at the Paris Exhibition in 1900. We end the first half of the evening with L’isle joyeuse where we’ll hear music inspired by water in Debussy’s musings on reflections and the waves lapping the shore of his joyous isle.
Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is our second half of the evening where we’ll be treated to a vivid representation in music of ten paintings by Mussorgsky’s good friend Viktor Hartmann. The exhibition in question was organised after the artist’s untimely death. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but music can paint a thousand pictures. A hut on hen’s legs, an angry gnome, and a ceremonial city bell: Pictures at an Exhibition is a musical kaleidoscope overflowing with fantastic colours.
Schubert: 6 Moments Musicaux D.694
Debussy: Estampes, L. 100
Debussy: L’isle joyeuse
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition