Deejays are known for their mixes and mash-ups – sequences and combinations of music that create cool contrasts and continuities. But classical musicians can also play at that mash-up game, judging from the upcoming Hop concert by pianist Inon Barnatan (Wednesday, April 25 at 7 pm).
Heralded as “one of the most admired pianists of his generation” (New York Times) and “a poet of the keyboard” (Evening Standard, UK), Barnatan is known for creating concert programs that make you hear well-known repertoire in a completely fresh way. His newly announced Hop program, however, goes a step or two beyond, into deejay mash-up territory: combining piano works (many of them excerpts of longer works) spanning four centuries, Barnatan creates an original suite of music that reveals the way composers influence each other, across time and space.
The suite dips in to music from the 18th century, by George Frideric Handel in England, Johann Sebastian Bach in Germany and Jean-Philippe Rameau and François Couperin in France; then segues to the 20th century, with Maurice Ravel in France, György Ligeti in Hungary and Samuel Barber in America; and alights in the 21st century, in England, where Thomas Adès (born in 1971), with a piece from his acclaimed opera Exterminating Angel.
Barnaton writes in program notes that he took his cue from “the kind of instrumental dance suite popular in the Baroque era, with movements including an Allemande, Courante, Fuga and others. What distinguishes the suite that I assembled is that each movement is by a different composer, and the composers themselves span periods from the Baroque to the 21st century. Thus, the opening Chaconne is by Handel, the closing fugue by Barber, and the movements in between move freely between centuries.”
After an intermission, Barnatan shows he knows what to do with a full-length work, devoting the second half to, he writes, “a set of variations that Brahms wrote on a theme from Handel’s keyboard suite in B flat, which Brahms develops into an ingeniously beautiful set of variations culminating, like the first half of this program, in an intricate and virtuosic fugue.”
Want a sneak preview? Here are the works Barnatan mashes together!
Chaconne in G Major, HWV. 442 by Handel, played by Murray Perahia:
Allemande from Partita No. 4 in D Major, BWV. 828 by Bach, played by Priya Mayadas:
Courante from Suite in A minor, RCT. 5 by Rameau, played by Sabine Weyer:
L’Atalante by Couperin, played by Alexandre Tharaud:
Rigaudon from Le Tombeau de Couperin by Ravel, played by Angela Hewitt:
Blanca Variations by Adès , played by the composer:
Musica Ricercata Nos. 10 & 11 by Ligeti, played by Jonathan Qi:
Fugue from Sonata for Piano, Op. 26 by Barber, played by Robert Berkowitz:
And back to Murray Perahia for the last piece in Barnatan’s program, Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24, by Brahms: