Autumn concert at Wainui

Musica Viva presents New Zealand pianist John Chen at Tiromoana.

Musica Viva presents New Zealand pianist John Chen at Tiromoana.

FROM DARKNESS TO RICHNESS: New Zealand pianist John Chen’s programme for the second of Musica Viva’s autumn series of concerts at Tiromoana is made up of works by Handel, Chopin and Dukas. Picture supplied

Works by Handel, Chopin and French composer Paul Dukas make up New Zealand pianist John Chen’s programme for the second concert in the Musica Viva’s autumn series.

Handel is known mostly for his choral and orchestral works but his keyboard output is no less excellent, says Chen in his programme notes.

The “dark and plaintive moods” suggested in the 18th century German (later British) composer’s Suite no. 8 in F minor, a work Chen will play next week, are a feature of Baroque tuning systems, says the pianist.

One composer suggested Chopin had “simply bound together four of his most unruly children” in the Polish composer and virtuoso pianist’s Sonata no. 2 in Bb minor, often referred to as the Funeral March.

“Time has ,however, been kind to this sonata, and today it is one of Chopin’s most enduringly popular works,” says Chen. The harmonic language in Dukas’s 1900 work, Sonata in Eb minor, is “quite complex, slightly more adventurous than his contemporaries”, says Chen. “Typical of Romanticism are this sonata’s extended melodies and overlapping phrases. Texturally, the sonata is even more rich and dense than other late-Romantic piano sonatas, but there are more fragile arpeggiated passages and sections with layered textures that parallel Impressionism.”

Chen launched his musical career when he won the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition. Since then, he has performed across Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and extensively in Australia and New Zealand. His passion for 20th century French music led him to record the complete solo piano works of Henri Dutilleux, and, for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a selection of Debussy and Ravel. Deeply committed to new music, he has performed world premieres of works by composers Jenny McLeod, Ross Harris, Gao Ping, Robin Toan, Alwyn Westbrooke, Claire Cowan and Tony Lin.

  • Musica Viva presents New Zealand pianist John Chen at Tiromoana, 41 Winifred Street, Wednesday April 25 at 2pm. Afternoon tea will follow.

Works by Handel, Chopin and French composer Paul Dukas make up New Zealand pianist John Chen’s programme for the second concert in the Musica Viva’s autumn series.

Handel is known mostly for his choral and orchestral works but his keyboard output is no less excellent, says Chen in his programme notes.

The “dark and plaintive moods” suggested in the 18th century German (later British) composer’s Suite no. 8 in F minor, a work Chen will play next week, are a feature of Baroque tuning systems, says the pianist.

One composer suggested Chopin had “simply bound together four of his most unruly children” in the Polish composer and virtuoso pianist’s Sonata no. 2 in Bb minor, often referred to as the Funeral March.

“Time has ,however, been kind to this sonata, and today it is one of Chopin’s most enduringly popular works,” says Chen. The harmonic language in Dukas’s 1900 work, Sonata in Eb minor, is “quite complex, slightly more adventurous than his contemporaries”, says Chen. “Typical of Romanticism are this sonata’s extended melodies and overlapping phrases. Texturally, the sonata is even more rich and dense than other late-Romantic piano sonatas, but there are more fragile arpeggiated passages and sections with layered textures that parallel Impressionism.”

Chen launched his musical career when he won the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition. Since then, he has performed across Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and extensively in Australia and New Zealand. His passion for 20th century French music led him to record the complete solo piano works of Henri Dutilleux, and, for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a selection of Debussy and Ravel. Deeply committed to new music, he has performed world premieres of works by composers Jenny McLeod, Ross Harris, Gao Ping, Robin Toan, Alwyn Westbrooke, Claire Cowan and Tony Lin.

  • Musica Viva presents New Zealand pianist John Chen at Tiromoana, 41 Winifred Street, Wednesday April 25 at 2pm. Afternoon tea will follow.

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