21 August 2015

Georg Pelecis: Concertino Bianco for Piano and Strings

This installment features the work of a rather intriguing composer and musicologist Georg Pelecis. His music is intriguing on the simple grounds his musicological work have been extremely definitive in shaping his musical sound.

Currently a professor at the Latvian Academy of Music, Georg Pelecis has had a broad musical career. While he was a student at the Moscow Conservatory he studied composition under Aram Khachaturian. He has gone on to having creative positions in both Oxford University and Cambridge University. His musicology work has specialised in musical form, specifically in the works of medieval, renaissance, and baroque composers. His most extensive work has been on Palestrina and Ockeghem. 

The intense focus on Palestrina has been crucial in form his musical ideals of 'new consonant music'. This simple approach brings music to focus on modality and counterpoint, using these two parameters Pelecis can apply 'modern' ideals of harmony onto contrapuntal lines to produce music that is equally old and equally new. 

One of the most obvious and beautiful examples of this is his Concertino Bianco, for piano and strings. The work's name simply comes from the fact the entire piece is based on the white notes of the piano. The three movement work is ultimately very cute and bright with the strings and piano having a wonderfully mutual discourse throughout the work. This kind of balance is very reminiscent of the Brandenburg Concerti where the concertino group is quite distinct from the repiano group, but the two never feel exclusive or in conflict with one another. The opening movement is jolly and the piano lilts on its high register while the strings add a lot of warmth to the whole sound. The second movement is more sombre but never feels mopey or melodramatic. The final bouncing movement brings the whole work to a fun and enthusiastic end. 

This rendition by Heinrich Schiff with Alexei Lubimov at the piano, bring this work to life and every minute detail is heard beautifully. The whole concerto can be heard here and there are many recordings and videos of performances of Pelecis's work. His music is remarkably easy to gain an understanding of, but in my opinion, never feels  like it is attempting to pander to a common denominator. It simply is and does it remarkably well.


Information about Georg Pelecis came from his Wikipedia page: 

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