CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 23, 2001
Violinist Leopold La Fosse and pianist Ksenia Nosikova will present a
free recital April 8
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Two major sonatas by French composers and some Italian
music by a Russian will be on the program when violinist Leopold La Fosse
and pianist Ksenia Nosikova, faculty members at the University of Iowa School
of Music, present a free recital at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 8 in Clapp Recital
Hall on the UI campus.
La Fosse and Nosikova will perform the "Suite Italienne" of Igor
Stravinsky and the sonatas of Cesar Franck and Claude Debussy. Although they
represent three very different styles, all three works were written in years
around the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, when the
Romantic style gave way to a wide variety of compositional possibilities.
"The Franck Sonata is probably the most popular work being programmed
on violin and piano recitals throughout the entire world," La Fosse commented.
"The Debussy Sonata is a standard work in the 20th-century literature
for violin and piano, and I have always found the Stravinsky a fascinating
piece, with its combination of Baroque ideas and their 20th-century treatment
The earliest of the three works, Francks Sonata was written in 1886
when the composer -- one of the leaders of Romanticism in France -- was 63.
Franck made his career principally as an organist, playing at the church of
Ste.-Clotilde in Paris for more than 30 years and teaching organ at the Paris
Conservatory. In addition to music for organ, he composed operas and oratorios,
as well as a limited number of orchestral and chamber pieces.
The Violin Sonata was composed as a wedding gift for the great Belgian violinist
Eugene Ysaye. The premiere of the sonata, presented by Ysaye and pianist Leontine
Marie Bordes-Pene in an unlighted museum hall in Brussels, has become legendary.
The performance ran late, and since no artificial light was allowed, the performers
had to finish the performance from memory, playing in the gathering darkness
to a spellbound audience.
In addition to his well known orchestral and piano pieces, Debussy wrote
a small amount of chamber music. Most are unique works, representing his only
major compositions in their individual genres. The String Quartet of 1893
is among those works, along with three sonatas -- part of a projected set
of six that was not completed -- composed in the last years of Debussys
life: the Sonata for cello and piano of 1915, the Sonata for flute, viola
and harp from the same year, and the Sonata for violin and piano of 1916-17,
completed only a year before the composers death in 1918.
The "Suite Italienne" for violin and piano was adapted by Stravinsky
from a ballet he had written for the great impresario Serge Diaghilev. The
ballet, "Pulcinella," was the last of a series of works Stravinsky
wrote for Diaghilev. These ballets, considered some of Stravinskys greatest
and most influential works, included "The Firebird," "Petrushka"
and "The Rite of Spring," written between 1910 and 1913.
In a dramatic change of direction from the exotic Russian subjects of the
earlier ballets, Diaghilev suggested in 1919 that Stravinsky adapt a group
of keyboard pieces by (or attributed to) the Baroque composer Pergolesi for
a ballet with a commedia dellarte theme. Stravinsky, who had already
adopted a spare, neo-classical style, found the Pergolesi pieces very compatible.
The combination of Pergolesis regular rhythms and simple harmonies with
Stravinskys more astringent style created an impression of cheerful
modernism touched by nostalgia. The same quality is even more evident in the
setting for violin and piano, with its chamber music setting.
La Fosse joined the UI music faculty in 1972. His performing career has
included extensive solo appearances as well as concertmaster positions with
five orchestras. At the UI he teaches violin and directs a group of students
devoted to the performance of Baroque and early Classic music, the La Fosse
Baroque Ensemble. He has twice been to Brazil as a Fulbright lecturer and
returns annually to perform, teach and give master classes.
La Fosse continues an active international career as soloist and chamber
musician, with tours in the United States, Europe, South America and Russia.
In 1997 he celebrated his 25th anniversary on the UI faculty with a series
of four recitals displaying his versatility, appearing as a virtuoso soloist,
a chamber musician, a Baroque performance specialist and a jazz violinist.
Nosikova, who joined the UI faculty in 1998, has performed extensively as
a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States Europe and South
America. She gave her New York debut performance in 1996 in Weill Recital
Hall at Carnegie Hall.
Last year, in addition to international appearances in France, Brazil and
Argentina, she performed as a guest artist at several American universities,
including the universities of Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The
current season has featured a return to Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall
in New York, a solo recital on the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago,
and a recital tour of the United Kingdom. Recently she recorded the first
solo CD of Franz Liszts "Years of Pilgrimage."
She has been a prize winner in numerous piano competitions, including the
Frinna Awerbach International Piano Competition in New York, the Alabama International
Piano Competition, and the Ibla International Piano Competition in Italy,
to which she has returned as a jury member. She has received two major grants
from the Arts and Humanities Initiative and the Central Investment Fund for
Research Enhancement at the UI.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI
College of Liberal Arts.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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