The celebrity pianist, Bronfman, is 2014's artist-in-residence. Known for his bristling technique and lyricism, the Uzbek-born musician is a friend of festival artistic director
"I've known him since he was in his 20s," Neikrug said in a telephone interview from
"He's an incredible technician," Neikrug continued. "There is nothing I know of that he can't play commandingly. He is a very big person and he makes the biggest sound I've ever heard on the piano. You sit there and it grabs you by the throat."
Bronfman also will play the Brahms Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34 at the Lensic
In designing his 17th season with the festival, Neikrug has combined new commissions by composers
Neikrug said he had never seen all of
The compositions emerged when the composer was going deaf, which led to his losing contact with others as he grew more morose and suspicious. The music flowed with a more meditative character, with the sublime intersecting with the grotesque. Audiences at the time were bewildered by his quartets. But their forms and ideas inspired later composers such as
"Brandenburg" fans will have to wait until the festival's final two Saturdays (
Regular festival attendees may remember Hochman, who performed Bach's Goldberg Variations last season.
"They are certainly a world to themselves," Hochman said of the Partitas in a telephone interview from his
Based on a form originally rooted in European folk dances, the contrasting pieces evoke opposite emotions, he said.
"They have a very distinctive personality," Hochman continued. "The C minor is very tragic and sad. The D Major is majestic and grand."
Hochman will perform Luigi Dallapiccola's "Quaderno Musicale di Annalibera" sandwiched between the two Bach pieces. The contemporary Italian composer wrote the work for his daughter.
"He's using the letters of Bach's name in each movement," he said.
Hochman will play
The performance will mark the Grammy Award-winning singer's first
"The text is poetry by
The long-note passages give singers little time to collect themselves.
"It's a high-stamina piece," she said. "In the end, it kind of feels like you've done a Strauss or a Wagner role because it's so lyrical. It's very full-throated, emotional and high."
In other contemporary music, the
"He would write the long piece made up of small individual pieces that fit together in interesting ways," Neikrug said. "I was always fascinated by that and wanted to write a piece like that."
The music also reflects Schumann's passion, as well as the passion of the performer, he added.
"The audience is a vessel for his passion, also," Neikrug said.
"There are so many conduits for hearing music in the air," the composer continued. "When the audience is sitting there and the performers are on the stage playing music by another person, all of that becomes actual with the sounds vibrating in the air. That's the gift of live music, and then it's gone." If you go
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