Thanks to everyone who made our fundraiser a great success. The audience was very appreciative as you can see from the photo. They gave Mr. Cohen, Mr. Skorka and Mr. Bognar a standing ovation. The sound was glorious, the selections inspired, and the performance world-class.
The program began with Gershwin Preludes for Clarinet and Piano. Although he died suddenly at a young age, George Gershwin fathered a great original sound in American music. These classical pieces contained jazz melodies.
Mr. Cohen then introduced us to two lesser know composers who added a third theme to the night’s program; the theme of survival.
Israeli composer Paul Ben-Haim was born Paul Frankenburger in Munich, Germany. He left Germany in 1933, settled in Palestine and later became an Israeli citizen. We heard his Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, op.28, which utilized the Middle Eastern scales Ben-Haim adopted in his new country. Mieczyslaw Weinberg, a Polish composer, also fled his homeland to escape Nazi persecution and settled in Russia where he was mentored by Dmitri Shostakovich. We heard his 1945 Clarinet Sonata.
Szolt Bognar introduced the four Schubert selections. Returning to the theme of mortality, Mr. Bognar told the audience that although Shubert died at 31 many of his most beautiful and inspiring compositions were produced as he was contemplating serious illness and death. We heard “The Beautiful Miller’s Daughter,” “The Hurdy-Gurdy Man” from Winterreise, “Night and Dreams”(Nacht und Traume), clearly a metaphor for death, and the last selection, completed just before he died, “Carrier Pidgeon” (Die Taubenpost) which is basically cheerful and hopeful.
The program ended with the beautiful and familiar slow movement from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, his final instrumental work.