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Carson Becke Piano Recital: Wordless Stories


Saturday, December 15th
7:30 PM

$30 (includes a post-concert end of season wine and cheese reception)


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Music has been used as a way of telling stories since time immemorial. In many cases, this involves sung poetry, with words guiding the music. But what happens when there are no words? Can a story still be told? This program explores music that hints at extra-musical narratives that are told without words. Its focal point is the genre of the ballade, which in a literary sense is a form of narrative poetry. In the 19th century, beginning with Frederic Chopin, composers began to write instrumental musical ballades based on the idea of the narrative poetic genre, but leaving out the crucial ingredient of all poetry: the words. These pieces certainly tell stories, but the particular subjects and events are left to the imagination of the listeners.


Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Four Ballades, op. 10

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
Ballade (Variations on a Norwegian Folk Song), op. 24

Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)
Piano Sonata no. 2 in B flat minor, op. 35 ‘Funeral March’
Nocturne in F minor, op. 55 no. 1
Ballade no. 3 in A flat major, op. 47