Summer Concerts

Saturday, July 16th

Two Pianos, Four Hands Gala Concert

6:30 PM - Reception
7:30 PM - Concert

$35  (includes concert and reception),
$25  (for students and under 18s)


* Order tickets online at Eventbrite *


Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
En Blanc et Noir

George Gershwin (1898-1937), transcription by Dmitri Alexeev (b. 1947)
Concert Suite no. 1 from Porgy and Bess


Suren Barry, piano
Carson Becke, piano

This summery program for two pianos includes the Canadian premiere of Dmitri Alexeev's recent transcription of parts of Gershwin's 1934 operatic masterpiece, Porgy and Bess. Alexeev’s transcription follows the dramatic story line of the opera, and includes some of the works best loved arias, namely ‘Summertime’ and ‘It ain’t necessarily so’. The Gershwin will be preceded by Debussy’s idyllic Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune and the enigmatic En Blanc et Noir. The Prélude, originally scored for symphony orchestra, but here played in a version for two pianos arranged by Debussy himself, was premiered in 1894 in Paris. In 1912, it was made into a short ballet, choreographed and performed by Vaslav Nijinsky. The premiere of the ballet version provoked outrage from the audience, as the faun (danced by Nijinsky) appears to masturbate at one point. En Blanc et Noir was written in 1915, and premiered a year later in Paris, at the height of the first world war. Debussy was to die only three years later, and this was one of the last works he completed. Although he insisted that it was not about the war, the central movement of the piece is dedicated to the memory of a French officer who had recently been killed in action, and quotes, menacingly, the German lutheran chorale Ein feste Burg (A mighty fortress).

Sunday, July 17th

Songs of Love and Windmills

7:00 PM

$15  (for students and under 18s)


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Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Dichterliebe, op. 48

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Romances, L 79
     i. Romance
    ii. Les Cloches
La mer est plus belle que les cathédrales

Jacques Ibert (1890-1962)
Quatre chansons de Don Quichotte

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Don Quichotte à Dulcinée


Richard Walshe, bass baritone
Carson Becke, piano

Robert Schumann’s song cycle Dichterliebe is arguably the most iconic song cycle of the nineteenth century. Written in 1840, Schumann’s so called ‘year of song’ in which he produced no fewer than 138 works for voice and piano, its 16 songs paint a musical picture of his deep love for Clara Wieck. Clara was to eventually become his wife, but in 1840 they were separated, primarily due to Clara’s father, who was determined that they would not be together. The second half of this concert is dedicated to songs from France, opening with three works of Debussy that are characteristically lush. The two song cycles that conclude the program, by Jacques Ibert and Maurice Ravel, were both written for the same commission. In 1932, The film director W.G. Pabst was making a film entitled Don Quixote, starring the legendary bass baritone Fyodor Chaliapin. Pabst commissioned Ravel to write four songs to be sung by Chaliapin in the movie, but Ravel, who was suffering from the increasingly disabling effects of Pick’s disease, worked slowly and inconsistently. Eventually, Pabst became frustrated with Ravel’s slow progress, and fired him, hiring Jacques Ibert to write the songs instead. The movie appeared in 1933 with Ibert’s music, but Ravel eventually completed his cycle as an independent work. It was his last composition, and was premiered in 1934 in Paris.