Susan Merdinger & David Yonan | Four Centuries

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Four Centuries

by Susan Merdinger & David Yonan

Stunning renditions of four centuries of classical violin and piano music, performed by two internationally acclaimed, prize-winning musicians.
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Violin Sonata in B-Flat Major, K. 454: I. Largo - Allegro
Susan Merdinger & David Yonan
7:15 $1.99
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2. Violin Sonata in B-Flat Major, K. 454: II. Andante
Susan Merdinger & David Yonan
6:56 $1.99
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3. Violin Sonata in B-Flat Major, K. 454: III. Allegretto
Susan Merdinger & David Yonan
7:07 $1.99
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4. Violin Sonata No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 105: I. Mit leidenschaftlichem Ausdruck
Susan Merdinger & David Yonan
8:08 $1.99
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5. Violin Sonata No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 105: II. Allegretto
Susan Merdinger & David Yonan
3:59 $1.99
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6. Violin Sonata No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 105: III. Lebhaft
Susan Merdinger & David Yonan
5:08 $1.99
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7. Suite Hebraique for Violin and Piano: I. Rapsodie
Susan Merdinger & David Yonan
7:22 $1.99
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8. Suite Hebraique for Violin and Piano: II. Processional
Susan Merdinger & David Yonan
2:05 $1.99
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9. Suite Hebraique for Violin and Piano: III. Affirmation
Susan Merdinger & David Yonan
4:08 $1.99
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10. Elegy-Crossing the Bridge (For Violin and Piano)
Susan Merdinger & David Yonan
9:03 $1.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
ARTISTS STATEMENT
In an era of increasing specialization, we have chosen to showcase our own musical versatility as well as the great variety of music for piano and violin over the span of four centuries. We selected four of our favorite composers- including one who is a personal friend- whose music features great emotional expression, marvelous interplay between the instrumental voices, and a subtle form of virtuosity which never supercedes the musical content. Levinson's work, Elegy, is a fitting tribute to the three persons to whom we dedicate this CD, who we have passed away in recent months. We hope that this CD and our future planned sequels will offer our listeners the wide range of ingenuity and creative spark of different composers through the ages who inspire us as musicians to be the best interpreters of great music that we can be.

ARTISTS BIOS

Internationally acclaimed concert violinist DAVID YONAN was born in Berlin, and quickly recognized as a child prodigy after winning the Berlin Youth Competition at age ten. He made his recital debut in Berlin, Moscow and St. Petersburg at age eleven. A year later, he debuted in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall as a soloist with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and was invited a year later by conductor Gerd Albrecht to perform at the “Violinists of the 21st Century” concert at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, which was televised globally by Deutsche Welle TV. The Berliner Morgenpost wrote, “Yonan is a name to memorize for the future,” while legendary violinist Ruggiero Ricci wrote, “Yonan is one of the most gifted violinists of his generation.” Since then, he has toured as a soloist and recitalist throughout the United States, Europe and South America with major orchestras in prestigious concert halls around the globe. Yonan is one of a select few violinists who have performed the complete Twenty-Four Paganini Caprices in live concerts, earning him standing ovations at the Aspen Music Festival, in Berlin, Germany, and in Chicago. He is a winner of many international competitions, including the International Ruggiero Ricci Competition, the Vina del Mar Competition, the International Kloster Schoental Competition, and the 2012 Alexander and Buono String Competition, among others. In 2015 he won a Global Music Award for his live-recording of Ysaye’s virtuoso Six Sonatas. He has performed on TV and radio for major networks and radio stations, including ABC, NBC, CBS, and the German ARD and ZDF networks. In 2001, the celebrated violin pedagogue Dorothy DeLay selected him as a young artist at the inaugural Starling DeLay Violin Symposium at the Julliard School where he also performed with Itzhak Perlman. A champion of new music, Yonan has worked with distinguished composers, including Arvo Pärt, John Adams, Augusta Read Thomas and Ilya Levinson. Formerly the Coordinator of Strings and visiting Artist-In-Residence at Columbia College-Chicago, and Director of Chamber Strings at North Park University, he has presented masterclasses and guest lectures at Northwestern University, University of Chicago, San Francisco State University and the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Weimar, Germany. He studied at the Berlin Music Academy “Hanns Eisler” under Professor Werner Scholz, where he earned his Masters and Soloist Diploma, and at Northwestern University with Roland and Almita Vamos, as well as in masterclasses with Ruggiero Ricci. Yonan is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Fine Arts Music Society and Festival Chicago.
www.davidyonan.com

Steinway Artist, SUSAN MERDINGER has been internationally acclaimed in prestigious newspapers and journals for her stunning performances. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described her recital as a “daring, enormously joyous presentation, which captured and transfixed the audience.” Fanfare Magazine (March/April 2014) declared that her Carnival CD was “exquisitely detailed and full of life,” likening her playing to that of legendary pianists Leonard Bernstein, Annie Fischer and Nadia Reisenberg. Among her many honors, Merdinger is a First Prize Winner of the 2012 Bradshaw and Buono Competition, and the 2013 International Music Competition of France, and is a Winner of the Dewar’s Young Artists Award in Music, the Artists International Young Musicians Competition, the Artists International Alumni Winners Prize, the IBLA Grand Prize Competition “Special Liszt Award,” and the Masterplayers International Music Competition. She is also a laureate of the prestigious Harveys Leeds International, Montreal International Concours de Musique, William Kappell International and Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competitions. In 2014, Ms. Merdinger was awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals in the Global Music Awards for her CD’s French Fantasy, Carnival and Soirée. With a vast repertoire spanning four centuries, Merdinger has toured Europe and the USA under the auspices of the International Concert Administration Foundation. Merdinger performs as a concerto soloist, recitalist, duo pianist, and as a chamber musician with members of the New York Philharmonic, Lyric Opera Orchestra,
the New Jersey Symphony, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and many other renowned musicians, including her own family “The Five Greenes,” and Pianissimo!-Chicago’s Premiere Piano Ensemble. She is a Visiting Artist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series with the Tononi Ensemble at The Chicago Art Institute and at Symphony Center. Merdinger made a triumphant Chicago
Orchestral Debut at Harris Theater with The Chicago Philharmonic under the direction of Sony
Classical Artist Mattia Rondelli. Performing her sold-out solo recital debut in Carnegie Recital Hall at age twenty-five, Merdinger has continued to grace the stages of some of the world’s best concert halls. Merdinger’s live performances and recordings have been broadcast on WQXR, WFMT, WDAV, CKWR (Canada), BRT-3 (Belgian National Radio), and BBC Television (United Kingdom). A passionate advocate of contemporary music, Merdinger has championed works by composers such as Morton Gould, Augusta Read Thomas, Ilya Levinson, Margarita Zelenaia and Elbio Barilari. Merdinger
completed her formal education at Yale University, the Yale School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, the Westchester Conservatory of Music, the Ecole Normale de Musique in Fontainebleau, France, and the Chautauqua and Norfolk Music Festivals. Ms. Merdinger is Artistic Director of Sheridan Music Studio and a Faculty member of Summit Music Festival in New York.
www.susanmerdinger.com

PROGRAM NOTES by LAWRENCE BLOCK

From earliest childhood, the musical powers of WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791) were so remarkable that he has since become the yardstick by which musical talent is measured . By age seven, he was not only celebrated as a harpsichord and piano prodigy, but was on his way to being an accomplished violinist. By 1772, his performance on the violin prompted his father to write to him: “You don’t realize yourself how well you play the violin….” In 1775, Mozart composed no less than five violin concerti, probably for his own use, never to write another. On the other hand, sonatas for violin and piano occupied him his entire life. Beginning with two sets of sonatas written between ages six and eight ( K.6-7,8-9) and concluding with the so-called “late sonatas” written between 1784 and 1788, Mozart wrote over 30 in all. The Sonata in B-flat major ( K.454) was written in 1784 for violin virtuoso Regina Strinasacchi to be performed by them together at a concert in Vienna. Although Mozart had the piano part securely in his head, he did not give himself enough time to write it out, and thus it was performed with a sheet of blank paper in front of him in order to fool the audience . The work has three movements: Largo-Allegro, Andante ( originally Adagio) and Allegretto ( originally Allegro). The sonata opens with an exceptionally slow introduction, in which emphasis is put on the equality of the two instruments, kept throughout the entire work. The second movement has a melodic feeling of adagio, which was the tempo written down by Mozart at first, but then crossed out and marked Andante. The final movement returns to the playful mood of the first, but even so happens to be a very sophisticated Rondo.

ROBERT SCHUMANN ( 1810-1856) was a “giant” in the Romantic era. Although he had the greatest respect for his colleagues ( he called Mendelssohn “ a God” and Brahms a “genius”) he was himself among the greatest masters.He turned to composition for violin towards the end of his life—writing the two sonatas in 1851 and the Fantasie and Concerto in 1853. By the following year Schumann had been institutionalized for mental illness and died two years later. His first sonata, heard on this recording, Op. 105, is in A minor ( the key of his only concerti for Piano and Cello). It was given its premiere by his wife, Clara , and Ferdinand David in March 1852. He was already having alarming mood swings and one can hear his anguish in the sonata—at times tragic, at others merely restless. Schumann was reported to have expressed displeasure with the work ( “ I did not like the first sonata…so I wrote a second one ( Op. 121 in D minor) which I hope has turned out better”.) The first movement, marked “Mit leidenschaftlichem Ausdruck ( with passionate expression) opens with a rich melody played on the G-string, while the piano adds accompanying figures of 16th notes. There are frequent modulations to D minor and F major, leading to the relentless ending. The second movement, “Intermezzo” is a lovely contrast in F major. The turbulent last movement is almost entirely in 16th notes for both instruments. There is a short-lived tranquility but the work comes quickly to a tragic end.



ERNEST BLOCH ( 1880-1959) was born in Geneva, Switzerland to Jewish parents and began playing the violin at age 9. He studied music at the conservatory in Brussels where his teachers included the celebrated Belgian violinist Eugene Ysaye. In 1916, his apprentice years over, Bloch moved to the United States and entered upon his first fully creative phase in which he aspired to write music expressing his racial background. As he put it: “ It is the Jewish soul that interests me, the complex, glowing, agitated soul that I feel vibrating through the Bible.” The so-called “Jewish Cycle” of large-scale works was the main fruit of these reflections and Bloch regularly returned Jewish themes in later phases of his career. Bloch’s seventieth birthday was celebrated by a week-long festival of concerts of his music in Chicago in December 1950. The festival consisted of chamber music programs, performances in a synagogue and two concerts by the Chicago Symphony. Bloch was present at these events and at the end attended a dinner at the Covenant Club of Chicago, a private club for Jewish members, which had been the sponsor of the festival’s many activities. Bloch, deeply moved by the devotion of the members, promised that there would be some day a token of his appreciation. Indeed soon came a letter and a score, the first work he composed after the festival, a set of pieces of viola which he dedicated to the Club. The work consisted of thee pieces. They are in the style of his “Baal Shem Suite”, though of a different color as he had the viola in mind ( Milton Preves first performed the Suite during the festival). Later it was suggested to Bloch that these pieces were adaptable for the violin. The Suite is not nearly as intense as the “ Jewish Cycle” pieces but more closely linked to “Baal Shem”. “ Rhapsodie” has an improvisatory quality with some Hebraic inflections; a march rhythm and a passionate theme characterize the second movement, titled “Processional” and the finale, “Affirmation” opens and closes with a full-throated theme ( with Hebraic allusion) over a dance-like lilting “Bloch” rhythm.

ILYA LEVINSON (1958-) on “Elegy: Crossing the Bridge”:
“The title ‘Crossing the Bridge’ has two meanings: physical and metaphysical. During the course of the piece, the player is asked
to use what is called an extended technique: to play col legno- with the wooden part of the bow-on the strings of the other side of the violin bridge, between the bridge and a tailpiece. In a metaphysical sense, ‘Crossing the Bridge’ means getting in touch with the reality outside of commonly known human senses. In the piece, a protagonist is going through the various extreme states of human existence: from elegiac to tragic and then to denial of the tragic state. At the end of the piece, the listener is getting a glimpse of what lies on the other side of the ‘bridge’ to the Great Beyond. After this journey, the protagonist’s perception of the reality is changed; it becomes more holistic and transcendental.” “Elegy” is dedicated to David Yonan, who gave it’s world premiere on February 25, 2011 at Columbia College-Chicago-Sherwood Recital Hall. Levinson is an Assistant Professor at the Music Department of Columbia College Chicago, where he serves as acting head of composition as well as Music Director and Co-Founder of the New Budapest Orpheum Society. David Yonan and Susan Merdinger’s performance of “Elegy” is the Official World Premiere Recording of the piece.

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Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Four Centuries" is a breath-taking duo recording by pianist Susan Merdinger and violinist David Yonan. The title, of course, refers to the time span of the composition of the music that includes works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Robert Schumann (1810-1856), Ernest Bloch (1880-1959), and Ilya Levinson (1958- ). One might think that such a wide time frame would result in an album of very unrelated tracks, but while the music is varied, it all fits together beautifully. Merdinger and Yonan are both masters of their instruments and exceptionally versatile in their repertoires, as this album so clearly demonstrates. The four composers are favorites of the artists, and the music was chosen for its “great emotional expression, marvelous interplay between the instrumental voices and a subtle form of virtuosity, which never supersedes the musical content.” (quoted from the liner notes). The recording resulted in David Yonan winning First Prize in the Alexander and Buono International String Competition, in NYC, and he will make his Carnegie Recital Hall debut on October 25th, 2015, with Merdinger at the piano, performing Igor Frolov's “Fantasy on Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.” The duo was also awarded a Silver Medal in the Global Music Awards

Susan Merdinger, a Steinway Artist, has won an extraordinary list of awards from competitions all over the world, beginning as a young adult. Her vast repertoire spans four centuries and she regularly performs as a soloist with orchestras, recitalist, duo pianist, and as a collaborative pianist with distinguished members of the New York Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A champion of new music, Merdinger received her formal education from Yale University, the Yale School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, the Westchester Conservatory of Music, and the Ecole Normale de Musique in France, as a recipient of numerous scholarships and awards.

Internationally acclaimed concert violinist David Yonan was born in Berlin and was quickly recognized as a child prodigy after winning the Berlin Youth Competition at the age of ten. He made his recital debut in Berlin, Moscow, and St. Petersburg at eleven and debuted a year later as a soloist with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. Named as one of the most gifted violinists of his generation, Yonan has toured throughout the US, Europe and South America as a soloist and recitalist. He is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the Fine Arts Music Society and Festival Chicago.

The music is presented in chronological order, beginning with Mozart’s Sonata #13 for Piano and Violin in B-flat major, K.454, composed in 1784. The first and third movements are often lively and playful, and in addition to playing the music to perfection, the artists express the profound joy in playing music with a kindred soul. The more poignant second movement is lyrical and gorgeous, played with a sensitivity that is almost fragile. Schumann’s Sonata for Violin and Piano #1 in A minor, Op. 105 (1851) is the first of two piano/violin sonatas he composed. Passion, turbulence, and deep emotion run through all three movements, revealing evidence of the alarming mood swings Schumann was already suffering at the time. Bloch’s Suite Hebraique for Violin and Piano (1923) is a three-movement work inspired by the Jewish soul, ”the complex, glowing, agitated soul that I feel vibrating though the Bible.” The final selection, Ilya Levinson’s “Elegy: Crossing the Bridge, for Violin and Piano” (2011) was dedicated to David Yonan and this is the Official World Premiere Recording of the piece.

"Four Centuries" is both masterful and compelling, and it is always a thrill to listen to such accomplished musicians. Recommended!
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