Rhapsodie Espagnole, S254, R90 (F. Liszt)
Suite Iberia, book IV (I. Albéniz)
Sonata in B minor (F. Liszt)
Isaac Albéniz and Franz Liszt; two very different men with a lot of common points, both of them expanding their musical nationalism, exploring the limits of the piano and writing for the culmination of the virtuosic era.
Isaac Albéniz is one of the most important Spanish composers. His Suite Iberia, the piece with which he passed to the “hall of fame” of music history, consists of twelve pieces divided in four books. Two pieces from the last book will be performed: Jerez, being an evocation of this southern city, with slows melodies, background guitar effects and typical gipsy songs, everything surrounded by an impressionistic atmosphere; and Eritaña, rhythmically contrasting and full of colours, is a “Sevillana”, maybe the most popular dance in Spain.
Many prestigious composers and performers praised this work; as for example Olivier Messiaen, who said: "Iberia is the wonder for the piano; it is perhaps on the highest place among the more brilliant pieces for the king of instruments".
Beyond the limits
To talk about Franz Liszt is to talk about the piano world. It’s to talk about development of the piano in many directions, and to talk about a revolutionary man who changed the concept of the artist. He looked for something else, and he went beyond the limits.
Liszt's piano music is known, among other things, as extremely difficult: full of contrast, beauty, and virtuosic demands. My choices for this recitals are two completely different pieces which, none the less, share those characteristics: the joyful and dancing Spanish Rhapsody and the deep, mysterious and mystic Sonata in B minor. These two pieces, both challenges for any pianist, define the two faces of our composer.
Programme Notes (cont.)
The Rhapsodie Espagnole S254, R90, was inspired by Liszt’s trip around Spain in 1845, although it wasn’t written until 1863. This piece was composed in the same way as his famous Hungarian Rhapsodies, developing two popular melodies in some variations until both melodies start to interact together with a clear increasing of the tension and the difficulty. These melodies are “La Folia” and “Jota Aragonesa”, two popular Spanish dances.
The Sonata in B minor is probably Liszt’s most important piece, and one of the masterpieces of the piano repertoire. It is constructed in a huge Sonata form. Structurally wonderful, fully musical, it’s a clear contest between the two Liszt personas: the human one who enjoys the terrestrial life and the religious one who believes that the truth is up there, beyond humanity, in heaven, in God. Loud humanity, peaceful religiosity. Which one will succeed?
Mario Mora Saiz
Mario Mora (Cuenca, Spain, 1989) is a concert pianist who graduated with honours in Piano and Piano Pedagogy at the Royal Madrid Conservatory. He currently combines his career as a concert pianist with his Postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In recent years Mario has been awarded first prize in the Permanent Competition of Juventudes Musicales of Spain, Gerona (2012), second prize in the Piano Section of the Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artist Competition, UK (2012), first prize in the III International Piano Competition of Lagny, France (2011) and first prize in the Infanta Cristina Piano Competition, Spain (2010). These awards follow many earlier first prizes in national and international competitions. Mario has given concerts and recitals in Austria, France, Italy, England and several Spanish cities, taking part in festivals such as the “Festival Internacional de Musica y Danza de Granada” and “Fundacion Botin de Santander”, in tours with AIE and “Juventudes Musicales” among others and also in CD recordings. Some of his performances have been recorded by Classic Radio of RNE and television. He regularly collaborates with the music producer Eurodelta Music, making recordings for TV.
Mario made his debut as soloist with the Cuenca Youth Orchestra when he was only 15 years old. He has played with the Symphonic Orchestra of the Professional Conservatory of Music of Cuenca, the Spanish National Youth Orchestra (JONDE), and recently with the Madrid Youth Orchestra (JORCAM). He completed his studies in the Conservatory of Music in Cuenca with Prof. José M. Martínez Toledo, achieving the Extraordinary Piano Prize, with the highest qualifications. He then completed with Honours the undergraduate degree in Piano and Piano Pedagogy at the RCSMM (Royal Conservatoire of Music of Madrid) with Dr. Elena Orobio. He also achieved the Extraordinary Prize End of Course with his research entitled “Johannes Brahms. His musical style. Contradiction in the theories about his musical conservatism”.
Currently Mario is a postgraduate student of Pascal Nemirovski at the Royal Academy of Music in London, preparing for a Master of Arts in Piano Performance, supported by Santander Universities UK.