Take a break from the summer heat and enjoy a glorious afternoon of music in the air conditioned comfort of Lincoln Hall as internationally known pianist-storyteller-recording-artist NATHAN CARTERETTE celebrates Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with stunning virtuosity in Poets of the Piano: A Beethoven Birthday Concert on Sunday, July 12 at 2 PM in Foxburg, PA.
Back by popular demand after a solo recital in 2015 and collaboration with the Renaissance City WINDS in ARCA’s Tenth Anniversary concert, Nathan Carterette returns to Lincoln Hall’s seven-foot Steinway to perform two major virtuosic works for piano – Beethoven’s Eroica Variations and Schumann’s Carnaval – plus audience pleasers including Beethoven’s Rage Over a Lost Penny and two Schubert Impromptus. He will open the program with the magnificent Bach-Busoni Prelude & Fugue, which he has recorded. ARCA is grateful to Dr. Arthur Steffee and Marybeth Hinds Steffee for sponsoring this concert.
ARCA is reopening after the COVID-19 shutdown in compliance with the Pennsylvania Green Guidelines. Masks are required for entrance and to be worn inside. Hand sanitizer will be available. Seating is socially distanced to 50% occupancy. Because seating is limited, reservations are recommended: 724-659-3153. Reservations for reserved seats in hall quadrants will be taken by phone. Families and groups will be seated together. Walk-ins are welcome if socially distanced seating remains – cash or check at the door. Tickets may be purchased online: www.alleghenyriverstone.org – click here.
For those unable to attend because of health concerns, the concert will be recorded for later broadcast on ARCA’s youtube channel, date to be announced.
Tickets are $5 for Students, $20 for ARCA Members and $25 for Adults. You may Reserve tickets by calling 724 659-3153 – Purchase tickets online here or Pay cash or check at the door.
Nathan’s interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations – hailed for crystalline clarity, technical virtuosity and poetic sensitivity – was released on CD in 2019. Having concertized with the work across America and in Europe and Asia, his performance of the Goldberg Variations with Pittsburgh’s ATTACK Theatre in a dance production based on the work was a highlight of Pittsburgh’s 2019 cultural season. Nathan’s live broadcast of the Goldberg on Pittsburgh’s classical radio station, WQED, became the most requested pledge drive item in that radio station’s history.
Hailed as “wonderfully poetic,” (Westfalen Post) “exuberant yet sensitive,” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) and “very compelling in his power and presence” (International Composer), Nathan Carterette has distinguished himself in the concert world by performing a huge range of works from Elizabethan keyboard music to tour de force Romantic block busters and music written today. His innovative, approachable ‘Poets of the Piano’ has inspired audiences to experience unfamiliar music with open ears, and familiar music with new appreciation.
In 2018-19, Nathan took his “Poets” narrative-recital format on a 25-city American tour – performing to enthralled audiences a wild variety of piano music under common poetic themes and linking together composers across history and today. His joyous, engaging personality and quicksilver genius connect with attentive and enthusiastic audiences wherever he performs around the world. ARCA’s Birthday Party audience will be charmed and inspired as this down-to-earth, articulate and masterful communicator takes them on a journey into works by Beethoven, Schumann and Bach – a ‘living program note’ and musical guide to the poetic essence of the music he is performing.
Enjoy a Glorious Summer Day in Foxburg
Just an hour and half north of Pittsburgh, Lincoln Hall’s crystalline acoustics provide an intimate environment to enjoy chamber music and pianists performing on its 7 foot Steinway. Built in 1909, the stage’s backdrop is an original hand-painted canvas of an actual scene downstream on the Allegheny River. Lincoln Hall has a capacity audience of 120, but during the post-COVID-19 reopening, we will be seating to 50% of capacity. The hall is located on the second floor of the Foxburg Free Library.
Plan to Make a Day of it in beautiful Foxburg! Relish the beauty of high summer in Foxburg. Before enjoying the concert in the air conditioned comfort of Lincoln Hall, arrive early for a walk along the Allegheny River trail or rent bicycles with Foxburg Tours.
During the post-COVID-19, you can have lunch at the Allegheny Grille with seating inside or outside overlooking the Allegheny River. For more casual fare post-COVID the Foxburg Pizza is open for take out, with salads, sandwiches and pizza. There is lovely outside table seating beside the Pizza Shop. Masks will be required for entrance in all businesses in Foxburg.
Red Brick Gallery & Gift Shop
And of course, stop by the Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop to enjoy the offerings of talented Cooperative Artists on the first floor and the current guest exhibit on the second floor: Image and Word: A Fanciful Journey, featuring the book Sid’s Backyard written by author and poet Andy Johnson and illustrated by watercolorist Donna Edmonds and ceramics by Cheri Lee Yarnell. The gallery is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5:00 PM through Sunday, August 2.
Poets of the Piano: Beethoven 250th Birthday Concert
This program is a celebration of Ludwig van Beethoven and his 250th birthday year. The first half opens with a grand and festive prelude and fugue, originally composed for the organ, but arranged brilliantly for solo piano. Following that, two intimate pieces by Schubert, who lived in Vienna at the same time as Beethoven but never had the courage to meet him. Finally a real birthday party as Schumann’s Carnaval gathers together the characters of Italian comedian dell’arte for a wild circus ride.
The second half features two pieces by Beethoven himself, the “Rage Over a Lost Penny” and the monumental Eroica Variations. Beethoven took the theme of these variations from his ballet “Creatures of Prometheus” and later used it in his Third Symphony, “Eroica.”
Beethoven lived his entire life with severe chronic health problems, not the least of which was his encroaching deafness that he had to live with for the final 20 years of his life. He composed during revolutionary upheaval, turmoil and constant change in society. He is a symbol of perseverance, dedication and triumph over all odds, and it is fitting that in these days we can gather together to celebrate his music.
Prelude and Fugue in D major – BMW 532 Johann Sebastian Bach/Busoni (1685-1750)
Impromptu in E-Flat – Opus 90, No. 2 Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828)
Impromptu in G Flat – Opus 90, No. 3 Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828)
Carnaval – Opus 9 Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856)
Rondo in the Hungarian style, almost a caprice Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
Rage Over a Lost Penny -– Opus 129
The Variations and Fugue in E-flat – Opus 35 Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
NATHAN’S PROGRAM NOTES:
Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532, is one of his earlier compositions in this genre that he would develop throughout his whole career. Unlike the Well-Tempered Clavier, a collection of fugues in every, this fugue is more focused on virtuosity than counterpoint. The simple, infectious, do-re-mi-re-do subject is built up step by step to a grand climax. Originally composed for the pipe organ, the brilliant pianist-composer Ferruccio Busoni used Romantic-era piano technique to adapt it to the solo piano. Music that would have been played on two or three keyboards, plus pedals, is presented here for two busy hands. Busoni made over a dozen adaptaions of Bach’s organ music, including the famous Toccata and Fugue in d minor.
Franz Schubert lived in Vienna under the shadow of Beethoven, and while much of his music was published during his lifetime, many of his most important works were only discovered and published after his death. The Impromptus, op.90, were composed in 1827 in a frenzy of productivity before Schubert’s death in 1828, at the age of 31. History took a turn after that, and it turns out the Impromptus are as ground-breaking as Beethoven’s piano music could be. They are self-contained character pieces, not bound by any formal rules, but true ‘improvisations.’ Written with a life-time of craft but experienced as flowing from the inspiration of the moment. In the years after Schubert and Beethoven, this type of piece would dominate piano music, more so than the formal sonatas and preludes and fugues of yore.
Carnaval is a prime example: an entire collection of character pieces. Schumann also experienced a frenzy of productivity early on, composing this and other suites of character pieces in the 1830’s, early in his career, that are still favorites of the concert stage. Carnaval evokes characters from the Italian commedia dell’arte, such as Pierrot the sad clown, Harlequin the acrobat, Coquette the flirt, Pantalon the fierce merchant, and so on. Interwoven with those stage characters are waltzes, and depictions of Schumann’s own people – Clara (Chiarina), his first love Ernestine (Estrella), Chopin, Paganini. Finally he depicted his own two-sided personality, as he saw it, in the contrasting Eusbeius (the child-like dreamer) and Florestan (the passionate, fiery counterpart). Hidden in the middle of the piece is a movement called ‘Sphinxes,’ which the pianist does not actually play, that reveals three secret patterns of notes that end up being the structure for the entire piece.
The “Rondo alla ingharese quasi un capriccio” in G Major (Italian for “Rondo in the Hungarian [i.e. gypsy] style, almost a caprice”), is a brilliant rondo, where the theme keeps returning. It is better known by the title Rage Over a Lost Penny, Vented in a Caprice (from German: Die Wut über den verlorenen Groschen, ausgetobt in einer Caprice). This title appears on the autograph manuscript, but not in Beethoven’s hand, and has been attributed to his friend and secretary Anton Schindler. The rage for the lost penny is maybe represented by the constant changing of key, like searching up and down for something that is probably right in front of you.
The Variations and Fugue in E-flat, op.35, were composed in 1802, and described by Beethoven in a letter as being in an “entirely new manner.” The music which is the basis of the Variations has a deep history with Beethoven: he first used this bass line and melody combination in a short collection of dances around 1800; then again for the finale of his ballet Creatures of Prometheus in 1801; and finally for the monumental finale of his ‘Eroica’ Symphony no.3, in 1803. The symphony overshadowed all of these works, so the Variations are often called the ‘Eroica,’ but Beethoven himself referred to them as his ‘Prometheus’ Variations. In any case they are so much more than the title suggests: first, after a dramatic curtain-raising chord, the bass line appears, naked and alone. Voices are then added, one at a time, until there are four – and then we finally get the theme. After the theme are 15 variations, either using the bass line or the melody as their starting point. The 15th Variation is a slow one in the grand manner, and it comes to a complete stop, in the strange key of G major, before the Fugue appears in E-flat. However the piece is still not over, as the theme returns for a coda that builds up to a huge celebration of E-flat major. This piece represents Beethoven’s most ambitious piano technique combined with a huge musical plan.
Hailed as “wonderfully poetic,” (Westfalen Post) “exuberant yet sensitive,” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) and “very compelling in his power and presence” (International Composer), Nathan Carterette has distinguished himself in the concert world by performing a huge range of works from Elizabethan keyboard music to music written today. His innovative, approachable ‘Poets of the Piano’ has inspired audiences to approach unfamiliar music with open ears, and familiar music with new appreciation.
‘Poets’ is a narrative-recital format presenting a wild variety of piano music under common poetic themes, linking together composers across history and today. In 2018-19, Nathan took ‘Poets’ on a 25-city American tour, performing to enthralled audiences in theaters such as the Indian Wells in Palm Desert and the Rhea Miller in Saginaw; in many universities such as UC-Santa Cruz, UT-El Paso, University of Vermont, University of South Florida and more. ‘Poets of the Piano: Acts of Faith’ is now available on disc and in all major streaming services.
Appearing also in traditional formats, Nathan has been presented in such venues as Weill Recital Hall and the Yamaha Piano Salon of New York City, the Gasteig in Munich, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe of Hamburg, and Cleveland’s Trinity Cathedral; in several universities such as the Berklee School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, Busan National University of South Korea, and Carnegie-Mellon.
Educated at Yale University, where he studied with Boris Berman, and University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he studied with Robert Weirich, Nathan began his piano studies at the age of eleven with Cleveland’s legendary Birute and Anthony Smetona. A chance encounter in 2004 with Welsh composer-pianist Dafydd Llywelyn led to an invitation for intensive private study in Munich, and the world-premiere performance of Llywelyn’s monumental piano séance, ‘TimeQuake, no.VII/part.II’ in Hamburg.
Besides Llywelyn, Nathan has worked intensively and creatively with many composers, including Quentin Kim, Dinos Constantinides, Judith Shatin, Marcus Maroney, James MacMillan, and others. In 2013, Nathan traveled to Korea to perform and record the complete solo piano works of composer-pianist Quentin Kim.
Known for his dedication to the music of Bach, Nathan has performed the Goldberg Variations in dozens of concerts in America, Europe, and Asia. His live broadcast of the Goldberg on Pittsburgh’s classical radio, WQED, became the most requested pledge drive item in that radio’s history. His studio recording is available on all major streaming sites.
Nathan, together with organist Edward Alan Moore, form The Arsenal Duo. They have performed many concerts throughout the country, from their 2013 debut in the historic Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown, OH; they were also featured performers there for the 2017 American Guild of Organists Great Lakes Regional Convention.
Nathan’s Media and Projects
Driven by insatiable curiosity and the love of the new, Nathan has collaborated intensely with many living composers, finding innovative ways to program their music and share it with new audiences. These collaborations include his formative study in Germany with Welsh composer-pianist DAFYDD LLYWELYN and world-premiere performance of Llywelyn’s monumental, TimeQuake, no.VII/part.II, an eighty-minute ‘piano séance,’ at the Hamburg Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe; and in 2013, Nathan traveled to Pusan, Korea, to record the complete solo piano works of pianist-composer QUENTIN KIM, released on his CD, SEHNSUCHT (translated as “wistful longing“).
Composer Quentin Kim said of Nathan:
- “I am always deeply touched by Mr. Carterette’s interpretation and performances of my music, they are always beautifully imaginative and inspired. He possesses keen insights into the psychology of musical compositions, and his empathetic sensibility reveals multiple aspects of music.” — Quentin Kim
In 2020, Nathan released his first recording of a projected ‘Poets of the Piano’ series uniting a wide diversity of music under common themes: Poets of the Piano: ACTS OF FAITH follows the composer’s search for spiritual transcendence in music. Nathan’s performance of composer Judith Shatin’s Chai Variations on Eliahu HaNavi is featured with the music of Bach (arranged by Busoni), Philip Glass, and Alexander Scriabin.
Judith Shatin said of Carterette’s recording:
- “I am delighted with pianist Nathan Carterette’s recording of my Chai Variations on Eliahu HaNavi. The effective dramatic arc he has chosen to shape the variation order is matched by his superb technique.”
Nathan’s recordings may be purchased on his website: https://www.nathancarterette.com/recordings
Nathan has written about his ‘Poets of the Piano’ project and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in the booklet for his CD – “ACTS OF FAITH”:
‘Acts of Faith’ follows the search for a spiritual experience in piano music. Not only did some of these pieces serve a liturgical purpose in worship, they also served as a creative gateway to a sanctified realm. Music has the power to bypass and overpower whatever is material, connecting to our sense of the eternal. These pieces strive specifically for that purpose.
- “Music has been mandated by God’s Spirit.” JS Bach wrote this in his family Bible, along with many other personal reflections on theology. Bach is, more than any other classical composer, associated with devotion. His life, marked by a limited circle of travel, is better understood through the development of his music – informed so often by the calendar of feasts, penitence and celebration that made up his church year… A grand organ prelude (BWV 565) opens, calling us to the sense of the monumental.”
GOLDBERG VARIATIONS & BACH
Nathan is known for his brilliant and engaging performances of Bach. He has performed the complete Well-Tempered Clavier in concert, and the Goldberg Variations dozens of times, in America, Asia and Europe. In addition to his solo performances of the Goldberg Variations, in 2019 Nathan collaborated with Pittsburgh’s Attack Theatre, a modern dance company, to create ‘The Rube Goldberg Variations,’ a theatrical narrative and dance piece accompanied by live performance of the Variations.
Hailed as the ‘most creative’ dance production of 2019, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also wrote, ‘Nathan Carterette delivered an exuberant yet sensitive interpretation from memory, exuding both polish and spontaneity in equal measure.’ The show ran for six sold-out performances.
In conjunction with that production, Nathan recorded and released the Goldberg Variations with an original art-piece assemblage by Cheryl Jacobsen gracing the cover: a Rube Goldberg machine that after a series of complex gestures, churns out the music. The recording is available on all digital music sites, and in hard copy from this website.
A live performance, recorded in the Fred Rogers Studio of WQED, also became that radio station’s most requested pledge item.
POETS OF THE PIANO
Poets of the Piano is an innovative narrative-recital, featuring a wide range of piano music organized around common themes. Inspired by the never-ending expressive possibilities of the piano, these programs are able to weave together traditional repertoire as well as new music, bringing together composers of all generations and aesthetics. Through a story-telling styled narration, the listener will hopefully come away with new appreciation for the familiar, and excitement for the new.
In 2018-2019, Nathan took ‘Poets’ on a 25-city American tour, crossing the country from Santa Cruz to Tallahassee. Programs on that tour included ‘The Cosmopolitan Pianist’ (works written with nationality in mind, either borrowed or native: Bach, Liszt, Gottschalk, Chopin, and Dinos Constantinides); ‘Phantasmagoria’ (works depicting supernatural phenomena: Liszt, Beethoven, Nikolai Medtner, Quentin Kim); ‘A Night at the Theater’ (music transcribed from stage to solo piano: Mozart, Liszt, Prokofiev, Stephen Hough’s Rodgers & Hammerstein transcriptions); and ‘Acts of Faith’ (composers’ search for the spiritually transcendent: Bach, Philip Glass, Judith Shatin, Scriabin).
‘Poets of the Piano: Acts of Faith’ was recorded and is available on all digital music sites as well as in hard copy from this site. It is the first in a projected series of recordings of the ‘Poets’ programs. The hard copy features an essay written by Nathan connecting the visions of each of the composers, living in different times and places.