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Commemorating 100 Years
of Russia-US Relations

Friday, November 17, 2017 8PM
Lincoln Center, New York City

The Foundation for the Revival of Classical Culture & Gotham Arts

invite you to join us for a performance of:


Petersburg, Song Cycle by Georgy Sviridov

Selection of lieder by Robert Schumann, Sergei Rachmaninoff, et al.

TIME: Friday, November 17, 8PM

PLACE: Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center

 (111 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023)

TICKETS: $25 in advance, $30 at the door

Schöne Wiege meiner Leiden,
Schönes Grabmal meiner Ruh',
Schöne Stadt, wir müssen scheiden,
Lebe wohl! ruf' ich dir zu.

"Beautiful cradle of my sorrows,
Beautiful tombstone of my peace,
Beautiful city, we must part.
Farewell, I cry to you."

—Heinrich Heine

Pianist Jonathan DePeri and Baritone Frank Mathis

Two American musicians, pianist Jonathan DePeri and baritone Frank Mathis, resurrect the rarely performed Russian song-cycle Petersburg, prompting reflection upon 100 years of Russian-American cultural exchange, and the future of music.

Alexander Blok

Petersburg, a song cycle by Georgy Sviridov, one of Russia's most important composers in the last half of the 20th century, is a setting of nine poems by Alexander Blok. Blok, who lived from 1880 to 1921, is often called a "Symbolist"poet, as Sviridov is called a "neo-Romantic" composer. These terms are virtually useless, especially to the listener who has the opportunity to experience this music for the first time, filled with all possible as well no particular expectations.

Georgy Sviridov 

More than anything else, Petersburg recalls the approach to "the short story as music" that Franz Schubert's 24-song cycle, Winterreise, and several of Robert Schumann's and Johannes Brahms' song cycles and even individual songs had also advanced. Sviridov's settings of Blok's poems are a jarring "throwback" to the lieder song cycle- a set of poems. Beethoven invented this idea with his op. 98, An die ferne Geliebte; Brahms' Vier ernste Gesänge, (Four Serious Songs, op 121), his last composition, is sometimes thought of as the final word in the genre.

Sviridov and Blok, in other words, dared to write beautifully about tragedy, to reject the pervasive culture of non musical ugliness, and to uplift the audience of both the present and the future for whom the songs were composed. This was a courageous act.

Speaking in honor of the poet Robert Frost in October of 1963, 27 days before he himself would be assassinated, President John F. Kennedy said:

"Strength takes many forms, and the most obvious forms are not always the most significant. The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation's greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us....

"The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state. The great artist is thus a solitary figure. He has, as Frost said, a lover's quarrel with the world. In pursuing his perceptions of reality, he must often sail against the currents of his time. This is not a popular role. If Robert Frost was much honored in his lifetime, it was because a good many preferred to ignore his darker truths. Yet in retrospect, we see how the artist's fidelity has strengthened the fibre of our national life."

In performing Petersburg and the other selections in this concert Program, the two American artists hope that the humanity clearly portrayed in these Russian songs, the dialogue of over a century among poets, and musicians from Europe, Russia and the United States, might prompt the replication of the same spirit of Beauty and purpose that produced them.

President John F. Kennedy and Robert Frost

TICKETS: $25 in advance, $30 at the door
To purchase tickets, please click HERE

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