Graduation Recital by Pianist Michelle Cann

Michelle Cann

A graduation recital by Michelle Cann, piano. Michelle is a 2013 graduate of the Curtis Institute, where she studied with Robert McDonald. While at Curtis, Michelle was the Roy Pressman Annual Fellow. Her program:

Bach: Partita No.1 in B-flat major, BWV 825
This is the first of six harpsichord partitas Bach wrote between 1725 and 1731, and the last of his compositions for that instrument. They are also considered to be the most technically demanding. The movements are marked: Praeludium, Allemande, Corrente, Sarabande, Menuet I, Menuet II, and Gigue.

Debussy: “Hommage a Rameau” from Images
Debussy was, of course, the quintessential Impressionist, but here he pays tribute to the French music of the Baroque period. Jean-Philippe Rameau was one of the greats of that era, renowned for his operas, harpsichord music, and theoretical writings. Some observers believe Debussy was inspired here by Rameau’s opera Castor et Pollux, which he saw in at 1903 revival.

Bach: Chaconne (trans. Ferruccio Busoni)
The Chaconne, or “Ciaccona” from Bach’s Violin Partita No.2 is considered to be one of the great monuments of music for that instrument. It has also been transcribed for other instruments, including this one for piano by the Italian pianist/composer Ferruccio Busoni, who lived from 1866 to 1924.

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
(with Stanislav Chernyshev, clarinet; Yiying Julia Li, violin; John-Henry Crawford, cello; Xavier Foley, double bass)
Paul Whiteman and his jazz band were joined by George Gershwin for the premiere of the Rhapsody in 1924. And this blend of jazz and classical forms has been an audience favorite ever since, particular in the orchestral arrangement by Ferde Grofe. Michelle is joined here by four Curtis student colleagues to bring her recital to a rousing conclusion.

Music Word of the Week: Impressionism
“A term used for a style of late 19th-century French painting and extended to apply to music of a generation later … suffused and reflected light (the impression), sometimes hazy or smoky, is more important than outline or detail.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal