Simone Dinnerstein: Hello, I'm Simone Dinnerstein. Tonight, we are featuring prize winners from the 2022 International Bach Competition in Leipzig Germany on this edition of The Young Artists Showcase.
Since 1978, The Young Artists Showcase has had the generous support of the Harold W McGraw Jr. Family Foundation. A few decades prior in 1950, the Leipzig Bach Archive was founded to mark the 200th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach’s death. Since its inception, the archive has organized the International Bach Competition, which awards prizes to outstanding young musicians every two years.
I had the great pleasure of being part of the jury for last year's competition. It is always special to be in Leipzig and to experience Bach's music where so much of it was created. The competition was held in the categories of piano, harpsichord, and violin. There are too many incredible winners for just one hour.
So tonight, we will focus on a few of the winners in piano and harpsichord. The performances we will hear come from the winner's concert, which was recorded by MDR Classic Leipzig, who have generously allowed us to hear them. Tonight, we are going to begin with the second and third movements of Haydn's Harpsichord Concerto in G Major played here by first prize winner in harpsichord Alexander Von Heissen with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra.
MUSIC - Haydn: Harpsichord Concerto in G Major
That was the second and third movements of Haydn's Harpsichord Concerto in G Major played by the young German harpsichordist, Alexander Von Heissen, with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra. I remember from the performance how much fun he was having interacting with the members of the orchestra. He really brought out the wit and jocularity of the music.
It's very interesting to hear the harpsichord performed alongside the piano. It is strikingly different how each instrument cultivates character phrasing and timbre. Let's continue by hearing the second prize winner in piano, Mattia Fusi, perform Haydn's Keyboard Sonata in B Minor.
MUSIC - Haydn: Keyboard Sonata in B Minor
That was the elegant young Italian pianist, Mattia Fusi, performing Haydn's sparkling Sonata in B Minor. It's time for a quick break now. Then I'll be back with more performances by these pianists and harpsichordists here on the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase.
Welcome back. Today we are on a trip to Germany listening to the Winner's Recital of the 2022 International Bach Competition in Leipzig. One of the most revered past winners of the Leipzig Bach competition was the great Russian pianist, Tatiana Nikolayeva. Dmitri Shostakovich's witnessed her perform Bach's 48 Preludes and Fugues at the competition and was inspired to compose his own set of 24 Preludes and Fugues, which he performed and recorded to great acclaim. Let's listen to third place winner and piano Eden Agranat Meged performed Shostakovich's Prelude and Fugue in D Minor Opus 87 Number 2.
MUSIC - Shostakovich: Prelude and Fugure in D Minor, Op. 87, No. 2
That was Israeli pianist, Eden Agranat Meged performing Shostakovich's Prelude and Fugue in D Minor. That was a lot of depth and intensity for such a young man. Eden is only 18 and is currently studying in London at the Royal Academy of Music with Ian Fountain. Next, we'll move back to the harpsichord where we will hear second place winner in harpsichord Irene Gonzalez Roldan perform the Sarabande and Air from Bach's Partita in E minor.
MUSIC - Bach: Partita in E Minor, BWV 830, 4. Air, 5. Sarabande
That was the Spanish harpsichordist Irene Gonzalez Roldan performing from Bach's Partita in E minor in the concert. I was very struck by the fluidity of Irene's approach to the instrument. Listening to it, again, without seeing her in front of me, I could hear so clearly how the supple movement of her arms and wrists so informed the phrasing and sound that she brought to this great.
Finally, let's listen to the first-place winner, Russian pianist Olga Davnis. Here she will play the third movement of Bach's Keyboard Concerto in D minor with a Leipzig Baroque Orchestra. I have to mention that the finalists were all required to play concertos with orchestra, but interestingly without a conductor.
Having had some experience playing Bach concertos, I have to say that it is incredibly complicated to collaborate with a group of new musicians without the help of a conductor. The interpretation of Bach's music is highly personal, and every aspect is up for debate to suddenly be thrown together with a group of musicians and to be able to impart your ideas in a very short period of time and in a foreign language, that's a tall order. So, kudos to 18-year-old Olga for her handling of this challenge.
MUSIC - Bach: Keyboard Concerto in D Minor
That was Olga Davnis performing Bach's Keyboard Concerto in D Minor with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra. Before we sign off for tonight, here is Olga playing the Sarabande from Bach's English Suite in F major.
MUSIC - Bach: English Suite No. 4 in F Major, BWV 809, 4. Sarabande
That was a remarkably beautiful performance of the Sarabande from Bach's English Suite in F Major, played by Olga Davnis. I am looking forward to hearing more from this young woman. That completes this week's edition of the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase, which is generously underwritten on WQXR by the Harold W McGraw Jr. Family Foundation. Here is Terry McGraw with more.
Terry McGraw: Good evening, everyone. It's great to be with you and it's always great being with The Young Artists Showcase and to hear these really wonderful and inspiring musicians as they continue to share their incredible gifts with us every week. I can't wait to hear the fabulous talent coming up on the showcase, and I am so pleased to be able to support the series all through its well over four decades on WQXR and there's so much more to come.
Simone Dinnerstein: Thank you, Terry. And special thanks to MDR Classic Leipzig for sharing these beautiful recordings of the winners' concert with us. Many thanks to WQXR program producers Eileen Delahunty, Max Fine and Laura Boyman with additional production assistance by Maya Cassady. Our generous program underwriter is the Harold W McGraw Jr. Family Foundation. I'm Simone Dinnerstein. Goodnight.
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