The WFMT Radio Network

WFMT Radio Network

Russian Accents: Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky and the Piano

The WFMT Radio Network welcomes you to a one-of-a kind radio documentary showcasing the piano music of Sergei Rachmaninoff and Igor Stravinsky, as recorded in live performances by Alexander Toradze and members of the Toradze Piano Studio.

Alec Baldwin will be your host, with commentary by Stravinsky himself, Alexander Toradze, Valery Gergiev and Joseph Horowitz, as they explore the life and music of two master Russian composers both of whom were also important pianists - and both of whom emigrated to the United States.  In addition to sizzling live performances by Toradze and members of the Toradze Piano Studio, the program includes piano recordings by Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky. The repertoire ranges from such favorite works as Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (in a two-piano version by the composer), to such rarities as Rachmaninoff's First Piano Sonata and Stravinsky's Concerto for Two Solo Pianos.

Among the many novel features of the program are observations (with musical examples) about the relationship between Rachmaninoff's First Symphony and his valedictory Symphonic Dances; and a comparison (with music examples) of Stravinsky's score for his Piano Sonata with a revised score prepared by his son Soulema. 

The performers, mainly Russian and Georgian, are pianists long associated with this repertoire, including little-heard two-piano works.  And all the music played is live and unedited!
Alexander Toradze has long been regarded as a singular exponent of the Russian keyboard repertoire; he regularly appears with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, and other major international ensembles.  A recent review in The Guardian (London) reads in part: "Alexander Toradze plays as a man possessed, as if umbilically attached to the instrument, which in his hands becomes as varied and expressive as a full orchestra….Toradze made light of the concerto's ferocious virtuosity, bringing sumo weight to the left hand while persuading the fingers of the right to dance with mercurial velocity.  The audience roared approval."  Toradze's recordings of all five Prokofiev concertos with Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra are acclaimed by critics as "historically the best on record."

The Toradze Piano Studio, housed at The Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts at Indiana University South Bend, is a unique entourage of Toradze's former and current students at UI South Bend, and assistants regularly tour the music capitals of Europe and such festivals as Edinburgh, Salzburg, and White Nights (St. Petersburg).  "The Toradze Studio marathons give Toradze a chance to showcase the multinational handful of pianists he has guided over the years at the University of Indiana South Bend in the US.  Several are embarked on solo careers, none is a Toradze clone, but all represent the big-boned Russian school of which Toradze is the exemplar." (Andrew Clark, The Guardian).

Sergei Rachmaninoff (April 1, 1873-March 28, 1943) is widely considered one of the great pianists of the twentieth century.  As a composer he is a last Romantic whose popularity rests on a relatively small sampling of his vast output for keyboard.  "Russian Accents" includes the Piano Sonata No. 1, the Third Piano Concerto, the Symphonic Dances, the Variations on a Theme by Corelli, and numerous shorter pieces.  Commentary by Toradze and others stresses the relative importance of Rachmaninoff's lesser-known keyboard works.  The "Faust" scenario of the First Sonata is explored in detail.

Igor Stravinsky (June 17m, 1882-April 6, 1971) began composing in 1903, when he was barely 20 years old and a student of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in St. Petersburg.  His earliest surviving composition, sampled on this program is an F-Sharp Minor Sonata composed for Rimsky-Korsakov.  Stravinsky was forced to leave forever his beloved St. Petersburg due to the Russian Revolution which began in 1917.  He fled to France where he became a naturalized citizen in 1934, then came to the United States and became a naturalized citizen in 1945.  He died on April 6, 1971.  The Stravinsky repertoire featured on "Russian Accents" includes three movements from Petrushka (as performed by Toradze at the Cliburn International piano Competition), The Rite of Spring, the Piano Sonata, the Concerto for Two Solo Pianos, and the Concerto for Piano and Winds (with Toradze accompanied by DC's Post-Classical ensemble, led by Angel Gil-Ordonez).

These programs on both Sergei Rachmaninoff and Igor Stravinsky may be broadcast either as four 2-hour programs or as eight 1-hour programs each.

This mini series will be available free of charge to all stations April 1, 2012, with unlimited broadcasts before March 31, 2013.

For more information, please contact Tony Macaluso at (773) 279-2114, email: tmacaluso@wfmt.com or Carol Martinez at (773) 279-2112, email: cmartinez@wfmt.com.


RUSSIAN ACCENTS:
RACHMANINOFF, STRAVINSKY and the PIANO
Broadcast Schedule - Spring 2012

PLEASE NOTE:  This mini series can be aired as four 2-hour programs, or as eight 1-hour programs!!!  They will be fed on ContentDepot as four 2-hour programs!!!

Also Note:  All music was performed live and is unedited!



PROGRAM #:  RAC 12-01
RELEASE:  April 1, 2012

HOST:   Alec Baldwin
Commentary by: Valery Gergiev, Alexander Toradze, Gianandrea Noseda and
Joseph Horowitz

Note:   All performances are live except for Rachmaninoff 1929

RACHMANINOFF, Hour 1

Rachmaninoff:  Excerpt from Second Piano Concerto (Rachmaninoff, piano (1929); Stokowski)
Rachmaninoff:  Etude Tableau in E-Flat Minor, Op. 39 (Vakhtang Kodanashvili, piano)
Rachmaninoff:  Variations on a Theme by Chopin (Alexander Korsantia, piano)
Rachmaninoff:  Excerpts from Preludes, Op. 32 (Ketevan Badridze, piano)

RACHMANINOFF, Hour 2

Rachmaninoff:  Piano Sonata No. 1 (Sean Botkin, piano)
Rachmaninoff:  Excerpts from Piano Duets, Op. 11 (Vakhtang Kodanashvili and Edisher Savitski, piano)



PROGRAM #:  RAS 12-02
RELEASE:  April 8, 2012

RACHMANINOFF, Hour 3

Rachmaninoff:  Symphonic Dances (two-piano version) (Vahtang Kodanashvili and Edisher Savitski, pianos)
Rachmaninoff:  Excerpts from Etudes Tableau, Op. 33 (Edisher Savitzki, piano)

RACHMANINOFF, Hour 4

Rachmaninoff:  Piano Concerto No. 3 (Alexander Toradze, piano; The Mariinski Theatre Orchestra, Valery Gergiev, conductor)
Rachmaninoff:  Etude Tableau in E Minor, Op. 39 (Vakhtang Kodanashvili, piano)


PROGRAM #:  RAS 12-03
RELEASE:  April 15, 2012

Please Note:  All performances are live in concert, except for Stravinsky's recordings of his own music

STRAVINSKY, Hour 1

Stravinsky:  Scherzo from F-Sharp Minor Piano Sonata (Genadi Zagor, piano)
Stravinsky:  Three Episodes from The Firebird, arranged for Solo Piano by Guido Agosti (Alexander Korsantia, piano)
Stravinsky:  Three Movements from Petrushka (Alexander Toradze, piano)
Stravinsky:  Piano Rag Music and Ragtime (Genadi Zagor, piano)
Stravinsky:  Tango (Alexander Korsantia, piano)

STRAVINSKY, Hour 2

Stravinsky:  The Rite of Spring (two-piano version) (Genadi Zagor and Edisher Savitski, pianos)
Stravinsky:  Danse sacrale from The Rite of Spring (Rex Lawson, pianolist (this is a pianola performance)
Stravinsky:  Sonata for Two Pianos (George Vatchnadze and Genadi Zagor, pianos)



PROGRAM #:  RAS 12-04
RELEASE:  April 22, 2012

STRAVINSKY, Hour 3

Mozart:  Fugue in C Minor (Igor and Soulima Stravinsky, piano (1938))
Stravinsky:  Piano Sonata (George Vatchnadze, piano)
Stravinsky:  Concerto for Piano and Winds (Alexander Toradze and Post Classical Ensemble; Angel Gil-Ordonez, conductor)
Stravinsky:  Capriccio, Movement One (Alexander Toradze and Sangwon Kim, piano) (playing a piano reduction of the orchestral part)

STRAVINSKY, Hour 4

Stravinsky:  Concerto for Two Solo Pianos (George Vatchnadze and Genadi Zagor, pianos)
Stravinsky:  Excerpts from Apollo (Stravinsky's piano transcription) (Sean Botkin, piano) 
A Stravinsky Improvisation (Genadi Zagor, piano)