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Forgotten Gems of the Silver Age
An evenings of songs and piano music by Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Medtner and their lesser-known contemporaries
Join us for an evening of songs and piano music by Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Medtner and their lesser-known contemporaries. Performed by Betty Makharinsky, a British-Russian soprano who has trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Jonathan Powell, a pianist who has strong ties with not only Russian repertoire but also the pianistic tradition associated with it.
This concert offers a retrospective of Russian song and piano music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period referred to – particularly with reference to literature, but increasingly to music also – as the Silver Age of Russian culture. While the names of Rachmaninov, Scriabin and now Medtner are well-known to international audiences, many of their contemporaries’ works are still in relative obscurity, and this concert offers a rare opportunity to gain a broader appreciation of the music of this era known for its abundance of creativity. The poets whose verses these composers responded to include earlier Russian classics (Pushkin, Lermontov and Tyutchev etc.) as well as their own contemporaries (Blok, Balmont, Severyanin and Sologub). It will no doubt be an evening of first western performances: Taneyev and Glière, on the one hand, are known for their chamber and orchestral music, but their songs are all but unperformed in the west; Goldenweiser, Blumenfeld and Nikolayev, on the other hand, were legendary pianists but still not yet explored as composers. Makharinsky and Powell have recently recorded songs and piano music by Nikolayev, and this concert will feature several of these; their next project involves songs by Georgiy Conus who will likewise be represented by songs and piano music.
Rachmaninoff (Plesheev/Heine) - Dream - op. 8 no. 5
Rachmaninoff (E. Beketova) - Lilacs - op. 21 no. 1
Taneyev (Irish trad.) - The birth of the harp - op.26 no. 1
Medtner (Pushkin) - Angel - op. 36 no. 1
Gliere (P.A.) - Little star - op. 12 no. 2
Eiges, K. (Blok) - Someone is whispering - op. 26 no. 2
Eiges, K. (Blok) - White nights - op. 26 no. 2
Goldenweiser (Fet) - Fantasia - op. 5 no. 16
* * *
Nikolayev, L. (Zhemchuzhnikov) - The parable of the sewer and the seeds - op. 9 no. 1
Nikolayev, L. (Frug) - The parable of the chalice - op. 9 no. 2
Nikolayev, L. (Lermontov) - Sail - op. 18 no. 1
Nikolayev, L. (Lermontov) - Do you remember… - op. 18 no. 2
Nikolayev, L. (Lermontov) - Be with me… - op. 18 no. 3
Nikolayev, L. (Tutchev) - In the still of the night - op. 4 no. 1
Nikolayev, L. (Tutchev) - How wonderful you are, oh nighttime sea! - op. 4 no. 2
* * *
Rachmaninoff (Severianin) - Daisies - op. 38 no. 3
Rachmaninoff (Sologub) - Dream - op. 38 no. 5
Scriabin (A. Scriabin) - Romance
Cherepnin, N. (Shelley/Balmont) - To music - op. 22 no. 1
Cherepnin, N. (Fet) - Carry away my heart - op. 27 no. 2
Krein, A. (Yaffe) - In my soul - op. 29 no. 1
Catoire (Sologub) - Dear friend - op. 33 no. 1
Catoire (Sologub) - Spring showers - op. 33 no. 5
* * *
Conus (Maykov) - Spring - op. 5 no. 4
Conus (Maykov) - I would kiss you - op. 5 no. 6
Conus (Fet) - Nocturne - op. 9 no. 2
Conus (Fet) - What happiness - op. 9 no. 6
Conus (Apuhtin) - How pleasant is the evening breeze - op. 12 no. 2
Conus (Apuhtin) - The voice from afar - op. 12 no. 5
Conus (Apuhtin) - Sleep is all around - op. 14 no. 1
Conus (Fet) - Rumours abound - op. 20 no. 1
Conus (Fet) - I do not know and will not say - op. 20 no. 2
Betty is a British-Russian soprano who has trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama; she previously received a First Class Music BA from the University of Oxford (Exeter College). Concert appearances have included soprano solos at Cadogan Hall, St. John's Smith Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Queen's House Greenwich, and the Holywell Music Room. Betty has sung as an oratorio soloists in a number of works including Handel's Messiah, Mozart's Requiem, Vivaldi's Gloria, Fauré's Requiem, Brahms' Requiem, Bach's Magnificat, and Will Todd's Mass in Blue. She is the soprano soloist on the EM Records world premiere recording of C.V. Stanford’s Mass in G, as well as being part of the solo-voice consort for the Pan Classics CD of Pelham Humfrey Symphony Anthems lead by Edward Higginbottom and accompanied by Instruments of Time and Truth.
Opera credits include Amor Orfeo ed Euridice (New Sussex Opera), Zerlina cover Don Giovanni (HeadFirst Productions), Belinda Dido and Aeneas (St Martin-in-the-Fields, Woodhouse Opera), Lucia The Rape of Lucretia (St Peter’s Opera), Falsche Angelle The Tsar has his Photograph Taken (Bloomsbury Studio), Phillidel/Cupid King Arthur (Westminster Abbey), Susanna Le nozze di Figaro, Vitellia La Clemenza di Tito, Drusilla The Prophetess, Amahl Amahl and the Night Visitors (all at Oxford University). Chorus work includes performances for West Green House Opera, Westminster Opera Company, and as part of the Guildhall Consort with the Venice Baroque at the Barbican Hall.
She has held choral scholarships at Exeter College, Oxford and St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, London; she has also sung extensively with professional choirs and consorts, including Oxford Voices, St Martin's Voices, Blenheim Singers, The Hanover Band, Locrian Singers, Oxford Bach Soloists, and Sansara, through which she has toured to the USA, Germany, Italy, Spain, and France.
Betty greatly enjoys singing contemporary repertoire; she performed the role of The Model in WEAR at the Tête à Tête Festival, and regularly returns to Oxford University to perform for composition workshops with pianist Jonathan Powell.
Having concentrated on composition during the 1990s, Jonathan Powell established an international career as a soloist after studies with Sulamita Aronovsky (and, briefly in the late 1980s, Denis Matthews). Over the last decade, solo recitals taken him to the Rachmaninoff Hall of the MGK, on a six-concert US tour, to Musica Sacra in Maastricht, the series Fundación BBVA in Bilbao, Musica Nova in Helsinki, the Festival Radio France Montpellier, Borealis Festival in Bergen, broadcasts for Radio Netherlands and Radio Deutschland Kultur, the Raritäten der Klaviermusik am Schloss vor Husum, Vredenburg Muziekcentrum in Utrecht, and the Jewish Museum and Altes Rathaus in Vienna. His recent concerto appearances include Brahms’ 2nd (Slovak Philarmonic), Liszt’s Malédiction (in Kiev), Finnissy’s 2nd Concerto (Moscow) and Sørensen’s 2nd (with the Prague Philarmonia), Rachmaninoff’s 3rd and Chopin’s 2nd (provincial Ukraine). In 2009 he gave the first of many performances of the cycle of Scriabin’s 10 sonatas in single concerts. During 2013 he toured Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l’enfant Jésus and Albeniz’ Iberia, while in 2015 he gave numerous performances of Beethoven’s Hammerklavier sonata and Reger’s Bach Variations. Recent activities include a European tour featuring the complete piano works of Xenakis and, in 2017, Liszt’s Sonata, Stockhausen’s Klavierstücke and several performances of Sorabji’s Opus clavicembalisticum. Masterclasses, lecture-recitals and coaching have recently taken Powell to the Janáček Academy (Brno), Oxford University, the Guildhall School and Music and Drama (London), Akademie für Tonkunst (Darmstadt), Cornish College of Arts (Seattle), and Det Jyske Musikkonservatorium (Denmark). His articles on many aspects of Russian music appear in the New Grove Dictionary of Music. He lives in southern Poland.