Monday, February 6, 2017 Jennifer Koh and Shai Wosner shine in Valley Classical Concert ["Bridgetower Fantasy" dedicated to George Bridgetower]

Shai Wosner and Jennifer Koh

George Bridgetower

A detailed historical essay on the George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower page at was authored by our late principal advisor, Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,

NORTHAMPTON - Valley Classical Concerts, formerly Music in Deerfield, presented a fascinating concert entitled "A Bridge to Beethoven," Sunday at 3 p.m. in Smith College's Sweeney Concert Hall.
The concert featured violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Shai Wosner, playing a sort of Beethoven sandwich. The two slices of bread were Beethoven's Sonata in D Major, Op. 12, No. 1 and the famous "Kreutzer" Sonata, Op. 47. The filling was Vijay Iyer's "Bridgetower Fantasy," commissioned and premiered in 2015, as part of Koh's "Bridge to Beethoven" project.
George Bridgetower, a Polish-born violin virtuoso whose father claimed to be an African prince, premiered the "Kreutzer" Sonata with Beethoven in 1803. In fact, Beethoven originally dedicated the sonata to Bridgetower, but withdrew it after the violinist insulted a female friend of the composer, and rededicated it to Rudolphe Kreutzer, who never played it.
Iyer described his Fantasy in a program note as "a collection of imaginings about George Bridgetower." The piece was certainly a collection of imaginings. Iyer imagined himself as John Cage for a while, requiring the pianist to knock on the wood of the keyboard cover, tap on the bottom of the case, and actually slam the keyboard cover against the body of the piano to articulate sections of his fantasy. From these dated effects and some atmospheric harmonics from the violin emerged manic cyclic figures executed in complex rhythmic unisons (more of a tribute to the players than the composer).

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