William Petschek Award Recital - a dozen years later by Elizabeth Roe

#FBF: 12 years ago, on this day, I gave the 2007 William Petschek Piano Debut Award Recital at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in New York. It remains one of the most meaningful concerts of my life, and looking back on that evening fills me with nostalgia and gratitude. I performed a program featuring works I love, including the haunting and hypnotic Consolations by the talented composer (and Juilliard classmate) Ryan Anthony Francis.

Ryan's commentary on the work:
Consolations came about from a variety of influences but mostly from big romantic repertoire. I wanted to write something akin to a Chopin Scherzo or Ballade—in other words, a piece that traverses a large emotional landscape, that feels like an arduous journey, but is actually quite compact (8-10 minutes). I ended up with something a little longer than the Ballades and Scherzi, but managed I think to keep the piece largely within the affect of those masterpieces. I’ve always admired Thomas Adès’s Traced Overhead because I feel that he brilliantly accomplished something similar in that piece.

I have also always been drawn to Franz Liszt's set of miniatures he ambiguously titled Consolations, not so much for the actual music, but for the meaning in the titles. What did he mean, exactly? There might be a clear scholarly reasoning behind the titles, but I’ve never been particularly interested in finding out what—that would ruin the mystery for me.

Consolations also has a lot to do with Die Nebensonnen, from Franz Schubert’s Wintereisse. As the penultimate song in the massive cycle, it narrates the protagonist’s vision of false suns, known in modern times as “sun dogs," which is a phenomenon where the sun’s image is refracted through snow in the atmosphere during a bad blizzard, causing two ghost suns to flank the real one. If you were living when Wilhelm Müller wrote his poem, seeing something like false suns was considered a terrible vision. Death would be near. I used the first stanza of Müller's poem an epigram in the score.

I saw three suns appear in the sky
I stared at them long and fixedly
And they too, stood staring.

It's with this image that the piece begins.

Beethoven Triple with the SLSO by Elizabeth Roe

On October 19-21 Elizabeth performs the Beethoven Triple Concerto with violinist Celeste Boyer, cellist Melissa Brooks, and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Jun Märkl. The Saturday performance will be broadcast live on St. Louis Public Radio. Meet me in St. Louis!


Video previews:

Washington Post review, radio & more by Elizabeth Roe

October continued to be jam-packed, with concerts spanning the United States. Elizabeth had another concerto collaboration with conductor Michael Butterman, giving a repeat performance of the Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini and the Poulenc Double Concerto (with piano duo partner Greg Anderson), this time with the Shreveport Symphony. The Anderson & Roe Piano Duo also joined Maestro Butterman for a preview interview with Louisiana's Red River Radio.

During Anderson & Roe's visit to Colorado earlier in October, they stopped by Colorado Public Radio's studio for an interview and live performance; watch below:

Anderson & Roe closed out the month with two concerts (in Washington, DC, and New York City) celebrating Halloween, centering on their own fiercely virtuosic arrangement of Danse Macabre. Anne Midgette, classical music critic at the Washington Post, reviewed the National Gallery recital, proclaiming:

Anderson and Roe {...] are the very model of complete 21st-century musicians. They fuse classical and pop music into a blend of high artistry and skillful entertainment; they write informative program notes; they talk to the audience from the stage, passing the mic back and forth. That they are crack pianists goes without saying.

Read the rest of the review here.

***FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Elizabeth's recording of the complete Field Nocturnes is up for Grammy Award consideration on the 2017 ballot. Members of the Recording Academy: please vote!