FROM LATIN AMERICA TO PARIS

Jorge Viladoms, piano, Lionel Cottet, cello

Tuesday, 7 March at 20:30

Two musicians playing with elegance and virtuosity. Lionel Cottet plays an 1852 Jean-Baptiste Guillaume cello

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Sponsored byAgencia Mexicana De Cooperacion Para El DesarrplloEmbajada De Mexico En LibanoEmbassy of Switzerland in Lebanon

Gabriel Fauré (1845 – 1924)
Elégie en do mineur op. 24

Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918)
Sonate pour violoncelle et piano en ré mineur
I. Prologue (lent)
II. Sérénade (modérément animé)
III. Finale (animé)
Heitor Villa-Lobos, Chant du Cygne noir

Camille Saint-Säens (1835 – 1921)
Le Cygne (Carnaval des Animaux)

Manuel Maria Ponce (1882 – 1948)
Sonate pour violoncelle et piano
I. Allegro selvaggio
II. Allegro alla maniera d’un studio
III. Arietta. Andantino affetuoso
IV. Allegro burlesco

Jules Massenet  (1842 –1912)
Méditation de Thaïs

Maurice Ravel (1875 –1937)
Pièce en forme de Habanera

Alberto Ginastera (1916 –1983)
Triste

Astor Piazolla (1921 – 1992)
Oblivion

Manuel Maria Ponce (1882 – 1948)
Estrellita

Jorge Viladoms, piano
Born in Durango, Mexico, in 1985, Jorge Viladoms started playing the piano at the age of 15, taking private classes in his hometown. After only four years of study, he entered the professional class at the Lausanne Conservatory for Music in Switzerland. He presently performs on the biggest international scenes and pursues a multifaceted career as concert pianist, professor at the Lausanne Conservatory, founder of the Foundation Crescendo con la Musica as well as ambassador of Jaeger-LeCoultre.

He has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, at the Bunkamura Theater in Tokyo, at the Osaka Festival Hall, at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna as well as at the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva.
Equally passionate about chamber music, he has performed at the Festival St Prex Classics, the Château d’Annecy, the Piano Festival in St. Ursanne, the Festival de Sion and the Steinway Hall in Switzerland, together with artists such as Gautier Capuçon, Philippe Cassard, Lionel Cottet, Fumiaki Miura, Charlie Siem among others. He has appeared in the radio program “Le Matin des Musiciens” and “Intimate Letters” on France Musique in Paris and his concert as soloist with the Sinfonietta de Lausanne was recorded by the Mezzo TV channel.
In his performance Luz de Luna, he shares the stage with the Stars Dancers of the Opera Ballet of Paris Hervé Moreau, Aurélie Dupont, Isabelle Ciaravola on choreographies by Benjamin Millepied and Jiri Bubenicek.

In 2012, feeling the need to support the children of his home country, he gave a concert at the Assembly Hall of the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva, where he announced the creation of his Foundation Crescendo con la Musica to an audience of 2,000 people. The goal of the Foundation is to provide access to music to children living in poverty in Mexico, giving them the possibility of owning an instrument and receiving quality musical training. Through the work of his Foundation, a container with over 100 instruments was sent to the school Centro Educativo la Barranca where disadvantaged children benefit from music lessons, helping them to change their future.
He began a concert tour in Mexico and played in the most prestigious venues in the country such as the Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara and El Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

Winner of the Gabrielle Agostini prize, the Kiefer Hablitzel Wettbewerb contest and the Marguerite Meister prize, Jorge Viladoms received his Master of Arts in Performance with honors at the Hochschule der Künste in Zurich in the prestigious class of Homero Francesch, pedagogue and internationally renowned pianist. He also obtained a Master in Education with honors and the award for best teaching exam.
In 2011, he was appointed professor of piano at the Conservatory of Lausanne.

Lionel Cottet, cello
Born in Geneva in 1987, internationally acclaimed cellist Lionel Cottet has been praised by the press for his poetic artistry, nuanced interpretations, and engaging performances.

Winner of the Astral Artists National Auditions in Philadelphia and of the Swiss Ambassador’s Award, he has performed in the most prestigious concert halls: London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Alice Tully Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Warsaw Philharmonie, Zurich Tonhalle, Geneva’s Victoria Hall… His world premiere
recording of Bernhard Romberg’s Cello Concerto for Sony Classical has earned critical acclaim.

He has played as a soloist with a number of orchestras, including the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Russian State Symphony Orchestra, the Polish Radio Orchestra, the Belgrade Philharmonic, the Swiss Italian Orchestra and the Geneva Symphony Orchestra. During the coming 2015-2016 season, he will make his Debuts with the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Mikhail Pletnev, the Macao Symphony, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, and the St. Gall Symphony Orchestra.
His passion for chamber music has led him to the world’s most famous festivals, such as the Marlboro Festival, the Verbier Festival, the Bergen Festival, the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, the Chopin Festival in Poland, the Olympus Festival in St. Petersburg, where he performed with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Mitsuko Uchida, Clemens Hagen, Nobuko Imai, Arnold Steinhardt, Pierre Amoyal or with his Duo partner pianist Louis Schwizgebel. He has recently been invited to perform with the ensemble The 12 Cellisten der Berliner Philharmoniker as well as in this legendary orchestra.

Lionel Cottet has received numerous honors including second prizes at the Lutoslawski Competition in Warsaw and at the Brahms Competition in Austria, the Leonard Rose Scholarship from the Juilliard School as well as first prizes at the Dotzauer Competition in Dresden and at the Swiss National Competition.

He studied in the prestigious Artist Diploma program of the Juilliard School with Joel Krosnick, at the Zurich Hochschule with Thomas Grossenbacher, at the Salzburg Mozarteum with Clemens Hagen and at the Geneva Conservatoire with François Guye.

Lionel Cottet plays an 1852 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violoncello.

Gabriel Fauré (1845 – 1924)

Elégie en do mineur op. 24
To his publisher Julien Hamelle on June 24, 1880, Fauré wrote, “I was very sorry you could not be at Saint-Saëns’ on Monday. My cello piece was excellently received, which greatly encourages me to go on and do the whole sonata.” As he entered the decade, Fauré’s music became more subtle, allusive, and inward, leaving the style of broadly conceived melodic eloquence — in which this single movement is couched — more or less behind. Indeed, the exquisite Ballade, which may be said to have inaugurated this new phase, dates from the year before. This single movement for cello and piano was given its official premiere at the Société Nationale concert of December 15, 1883, by cellist Jules Loëb, to whom it is dedicated. Titled Élégie, it was published by Hamelle the same year. Fauré made an orchestral version of the piece in about 1897, which Hamelle eventually published in 1901. Curiously, as if the Élégie represented unfinished business, the great Andante of the Cello Sonata No. 2 of 1921 is cut from the same cloth.

Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918)
Sonate pour violoncelle et piano en ré mineur
I. Prologue (lent)
II. Sérénade (modérément animé)
III. Finale (animé)
Heitor Villa-Lobos, Chant du Cygne noir
The last years of Claude Debussy’s life were largely unhappy times. Though his marriage to the singer Emma Bardac was content, Debussy nevertheless found domestic life increasingly stifling. His melancholy was compounded in 1909, when he was diagnosed with cancer. The onset of war in 1914 deeply dismayed the already fragile composer. In 1915 he underwent an operation to treat his cancer, leaving him almost unable to compose. Nevertheless, feeling that he had little time left, he continued to work as feverishly as his strength would allow, planning a set of six sonatas for various instruments. In addition to the Cello Sonata and the Sonata for flute, viola and harp, he would two years later complete the third sonata of the projected six, for violin and piano, which would prove to be his final work when he took ill and died in Paris in 1918.

Camille Saint-Säens (1835 – 1921)
Le Cygne (Carnaval des Animaux)
Camille Saint-Saëns had no intention of offering “The Carnival of the Animals” to the public when he composed the piece early in 1886; he simply thought to provide an entertainment for his friends at Carnival time. Following the first private performance, Saint-Saens’ old friend and supporter, Franz Liszt, requested that the suite be given again. Thinking the work to be too frivolous to be considered as serious music, Saint-Saëns then specifically prohibited further performances, allowing only one piece of the fourteen-section composition to be performed during his lifetime – The Swan. On February 26, 1922, a little more than two months after the composer’s death, the public premiere took place, and “The Carnival of the Animals” quickly became one of Saint-Saëns’ most popular works.

Manuel Maria Ponce (1882 – 1948)
Sonate pour violoncelle et piano
I. Allegro selvaggio
II. Allegro alla maniera d’un studio
III. Arietta. Andantino affetuoso
IV. Allegro burlesco
Manuel María Ponce Cuéllar (1882-1948) was a Mexican pianist, composer and educator. A prolific composer, Manuel Ponce wrote orchestral suites and symphonic poems; three concertos, one each for piano, guitar and violin; chamber works; over 400 works for piano, both solo and in ensemble; a large collection of works for the guitar long considered the foundation of the modern guitar repertoire; over 200 songs; choral works and music for the stage. His constant search for and assimilation of new musical materials and compositional techniques lead him to write a large and eclectic catalogue of works.

Jules Massenet (1842 –1912)
Méditation de Thaïs
The piece comes from Massenet’s masterpiece, the opera “Thais” base on Anatole France’s novel of the same title. The opera was first played at the Paris Opera Theater in 1894. The story is set in the in the early first century, on the River Nile. A priest approaches Thais, a dancer of the night world of Alexandria, with the goal of talking her into repentance and leading her to a life of faith. Ironically, however, his own faith is replaced by love for Thais, just as she is becoming inclined to accept religion.
“Meditation” is played by a solo violin with harp accompaniment between the first and second acts. It portrays the change in Thais’ heart, from wanting to seduce the priest, at the end of the second scene of the first act, to wanting to begin a religious life. It is effectively played at the opening of the second act when Thais visits the priest to tell him of her decision. The piece is often played independently as a violin solo.

Maurice Ravel (1875 –1937)
Pièce en forme de Habanera
Maurice Ravel’s Pièce en forme de Habanera was actually originally written as a Vocalise-étude in 1907. In its original form, it is a particularly demanding and virtuosic piece with staccato passages, portamenti, trills and sweeping scales. Yet, it brilliantly displays Ravel’s ability to compose for and demonstrate the possibilities of the human voice. It appeared in a collection of vocalises assembled by A. L. Hettich and it may have been for this specific purpose that Ravel composed the piece. Perhaps as a means of making it more accessible, Ravel transcribed the Vocalise for cello and piano. Since then, it has appeared in transcriptions for several other instruments.

Alberto Ginastera (1916 –1983)
Triste
Alberto Ginastera, Argentina’s most famous and widely performed composer, was the outstanding creative figure in South American music following the death of Villa-Lobos in 1959. Ginastera’s career was divided between composition and education, and in this latter capacity he held posts at leading conservatories and universities in Argentina and at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. His musical works, many written on American commissions, include three operas, two ballets, six concertos, eleven film scores, eight orchestral works, various vocal and choral compositions, and much music for chamber ensembles and piano. Ginastera traveled extensively to oversee the presentation of his scores and to adjudicate major musical competitions. For his contributions to music, he was honored with many awards, including memberships in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Astor Piazolla (1921 – 1992)
Oblivion
Argentine musician Astor Piazzolla composed and performed music for the bandoneón, and fused tango music with jazz and classical for a whole new sound. Born March 11, 1921, Argentine Astor Piazzolla became a master of the bandoneón (a type of concertina) at a young age. He formed his own orchestra, playing tango music, but he was fascinated by both classical and jazz. With a new group, Quinteto Nuevo Tango, he began to experiment with a fusion of all three genres. At first, the tango community rejected this new sound, but it became a hit in the 1970s.

Manuel Maria Ponce (1882 – 1948)
Estrellita
Estrellita composed in 1912 is one of Ponce’s most famous works and one of a series of pieces for piano called Canciones Mexicanas. Estrellita has been performed by many orchestras around the world and sung by countless singers. There have been several arrangements of it for guitar. The version on this CD is by Franz Casseus and is in the key of D major with the 6th string tuned to D.
It is important to bring out the inner melodic line when performing this piece. Apart from a few big stretches in the left hand it is not technically challenging.