Philadelphia classical music events, discussion, and directory
Thanks to "Friends of Keyboard Conversations", a group that formed the same night that the Kimmel announced they would no longer present the series, Jeffrey Siegel returned to the Perelman theater last night for a new season. It's remarkable how funding can emerge with little fanfare when people are passionate about the arts. The concert last night would be my first time to this informative presentation and I was looking forward to not only listening to great music but learning about it at the same time.
A grateful audience gave Siegel a standing ovation when he entered the stage. The Steinway piano Seigel was about to play was invented far after J.S. Bach's death so all the works would be a transcription. Those works transcribed from harpsichord could be done with little change, but those written for other instruments would involve much more innovation from the transcriber. The featured transcriber of the evening was Ferruccio Busoni who ingeniously transcribed Bach's Chorale Prelude "Rejoice, Beloved Christians" BWV 734 from organ to piano. Seigel demonstrated how the 3 distinct parts (2 hands plus pedal) for the organ were incorporated in the transcription so they could be performed with only 2 hands. Listening to this remarkable illusion was my favorite part of the evening. Seigel's performance was a bit heavy handed, but all three parts were clearly defined.
Here are the most closely matched versions that I could find on YouTube so you can appreciate this 3 > 2 part transcription. First the original organ:
And now Busoni's transcription:
Jeffrey Siegel went on to play 5 more works by Bach that demonstrated his wide range of composition and mastery of the fugue. Siegel also defined some musical terms along the way and always completed the full movement after he provided some background and demonstrations. This format is very enlightening without information overload that might intimidate those not very familiar with classical music. At the same time, those more familiar were taught or reminded of bits of information that could enhance their appreciation for the music.
At the end of the concert, Siegel opened the floor up for a brief question and answer session. He adeptly fielded a wide range of questions and then invited the audience to meet him at the table where CDs were available for sale. Jeffrey Siegel will return to Philadelphia for two more concerts, so if you'd like a chance to improve your appreciation of Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, check out his next concert: "Russian Rapture" or search kimmelcenter.org for "Keyboard Conversations".