The Explosive Force of a Pianist, Ran Dank

The Explosive Force of a Pianist, Ran Dank

 

Pro Musica Concert Series
Ran Dank, piano
Fri and Sun, Mar 6 and 8, 5pm
St. Paul’s Church
Cardo 6
200, 400, and 500 pesos
www.promusicasma.org
promusicasma@aol.com

By Linda Laino

Pro Musica is thrilled to welcome back pianist extraordinaire Ran Dank to San Miguel de Allende. Considered one of the greatest of the world’s young pianists, he has stunned our audiences in the past with his astonishing technique, energy and intensity. Born in Israel, he has played with all the major symphony orchestras there. Moving from the Tel Aviv Conservatory of Music to the Juilliard School, he has received virtually every major prize for young musicians in Israel, along with grants from the Arthur Foundation and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. Critics worldwide have praised his dazzling technical prowess and his probing artistry.

Friday’s concert begins with Robert Schumann’s famous Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood). Condensed into thirteen episodes from the original thirty, these short piano pieces were written about children (but not for them!) and dedicated to his future wife, Clara. Containing many delicate touches, these “scenes” evoke a cornucopia of moods and feelings with Reverie being the most well known, calming the audience with its charming melody and quiet power. We will hear another of Schumann’s major works, Faschingsschwankaus Wien (Carnival of Vienna). First performed by Clara after his death, Schumman called it a “romantic spectacle,” and it was received warmly by the critics, who referred to its “flashes of humor and unbridled merriment.”

Returning to the 19th century, the concert concludes with the work of another of the great Romantic composers, perhaps the greatest, Franz Schubert. We will hear his monumental Sonata in B-flat major. One of the composer’s three last sonatas, it calls for extraordinary skill and dexterity from the pianist. This, combined with its otherworldly and ethereal sound, makes it one of the most enduring popular piano sonatas ever written. Filled with lyrical phrases and full stop silences, Shubert’s final work is considered the culmination of his unique compositional achievements.

Saturday’s evening begins with Rachmaninoff’s Etudes-tableaux, a series of nine etudes, universally recognized as poetic, yet technically challenging to play. Completed in 1917, the year of the Russian revolution and the composer’s enforced exile, the full and finely textured sound contains a multitude of moods: a “dark and cloudy ecstasy” characterized by upheaval and turbulence. It promises to be a dramatic and emotional evening of music.

We close with Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in B major, the third in a trilogy known as “the war sonatas.” Reflecting its theme, this work moves from the lyrical and mysterious to a feeling of desolation and melancholy, living up to what critics have called the “gentlest and most tortured” of the three. Prokofiev himself referred to the series as “an expression of the greatness of the human spirit.” This sonata, hailed as one of the greatest works of the 20th century, was awarded a Stalin prize and is widely considered as the culmination of Prokofiev’s creative life.

Tickets for the concerts at St Paul’s are 200, 400 and 500 peso donation and are on sale at the bookshop in the Biblioteca Pública, through our website with no booking fee, and at the concert 45 minutes before performance time.

Details of all Pro Musica’s concerts and Patron Membership are on our website, www.promusicasma.org, or contact us at promusicasma@aol.com.