for Piano, Op 20a (1933)
Sonata, Op 21 (2000)
St. Giles, Cripplegate
Monday 12th June, 7:30pm
The First Suite was the last
work Paul Ben-Haim
composed in Munich before his move to Palestine. It was completed on 23rd
August 1933 - between his initial visit to the country in the May of that
year (to explore the possibility of settling there, a decision to leave
Germany having already been made) and his eventual emigration that November.
His intention was to have something with which he could introduce himself
as a composer in Palestine, and 'which could be easily performed there'.
Youthful experiments aside, it was his first attempt at writing for piano.
There are four movements - the first in the style of a toccata, the second
a grotesque-march. The third, Andante - incorporating a popular melody,
Ali Be'er, by Sarah Levy-Tanai, a famous Yemenite musician and dancer
of the day - is an early manifestation of a quotationary genre that was
to later become especially associated with Ben-Haim.
He probably heard this tune during his first visit to Palestine. Influenced
by Bartók and Prokofiev, the last movement is energetic and primitively
Ben-Haim himself played the First Suite 'live' in a Palestine Broadcasting
Service (PBS) studio broadcast, 8th December 1938.
Nimrod Borenstein's First
Piano Sonata was written specially for Gila
Goldstein. 'For many years,' he says, 'I've felt the need to
to pursue the tradition of the past great composers - from Bach to Haydn,
Mozart to Beethoven; later Brahms and Schumann, in the twentieth century
Prokofiev and Messiaen - and write a large-scale piano work. During the
past decade I have completed many pieces of chamber music with prominent
piano parts.' The Sonata is in three movements - a Moderato (opening
with an ascending theme in the right hand the developing momentum of which
gives rise to two passionate ideas) and vigorously virtuosic finale enclosing
a central more mysterious scenario characterised by slow-changing sonorities
at the extreme registers of the instrument.
Nimrod Borenstein was born in Israel
in 1969, moved to France aged three, and has worked in London for the last
ten years. A postgraduate from both the Royal College of Music (violin)
and the Royal Academy of Music (composition), his awards include the Mosco
Carner Prize, the Frederick Corder Composition Prize, the Arthur Hinton
Memorial Prize and the Oliveria Prescott Prize. He was the Leverhulme Trust
Composition Fellow at the RAM for 1995-96, and is a Laureate of the Cziffra
Foundation in France.
Gila Goldstein holds a Master of
Music from the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Nina Svetlanova;
and a Bachelor of Music from the S Rubin Academy of Music at Tel-Aviv University
where her teacher was Victor Derevianko. During her studies in Israel she
received annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.
A Board member of the American Liszt Society and Founder-President of its
New York Chapter, her first CD, featuring Paul
Ben-Haim, is scheduled for release next January on the Centaur
Want to know more about
and music in Palestine?
then don't miss
Professor of Musicology at the University of Jerusalem
Paul Ben-Haim: His Life and Works
Israeli Music Publications, Jerusalem 1990
ISBN 965 259 002 9
Music in the Jewish Community of Palestine
Oxford University Press, Oxford 1995
A Social History
Clarendon Paperbacks, Oxford 1996
ISBN 0 19 816651 6
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