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Night Songs: Jose Maldonado & Judith Olson

Night Songs: Jose Maldonado & Judith Olson
May 21, 2021 7:00 pm

Join us for our final spring concert in an evening of evocative music for solo guitar and violin and piano. Guitarist José Maldonado will perform a program of sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti as well as scintillating danzas from his native Puerto Rico. Judith Olson and Rolf Schulte present the great Sonata for Violin and Piano by Claude Debussy, as well the rarely heard Night Song by Nikolai Medtner, a work evoking a dreamlike night scene.


Concert 1: Guitar Recital: Scarlatti, Egúrbida, and Cordero

José Maldonado, Classical Guitar

José Maldonado will be opening the concert with two sonatas by the Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti, both containing heavily influenced by Spanish guitar music from the baroque period. The program will continue with two favorite Danzas from Puerto Rico composed by Leonardo Egúrbida, these being reminiscent of music composed in Puerto Rico during the 19th century and a perfect example of the creolization of European musical forms. Five short preludes composed between 1967 and 1976 by the Puerto Rican composer Ernesto Cordero will finish the concert. These preludes contrast greatly from the rest of the program by using a very modern style of guitar music that explores atonality and special effects on the guitar such as percussion and harmonics.


Two Sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
I. Sonata K. 208
II. Sonata K. 322

Two Danzas by Leonardo Egúrbida (b. 1945)
I. Homenaje a Morel
II. Entre Ceniza y Humo

Preludios Primavelares by Ernesto Cordero (b. 1946)
Five short preludes


Concert 2: Medtner and Debussy

Rolf Schulte, violin
Judith Olson, piano

Medtner’s rarely performed Nachtgesange (Night Songs), inspired by Goethe’s poem of the same name, was originally intended as a song cycle but was reworked as “songs without words” for violin and piano. A Russian of German heritage, Medtner was a composer/pianist, whose 38 Skazka (Legends) for solo piano are among his best-loved works. Rachmaninoff, a staunch supporter, introduced his piano music to audiences throughout Europe and the United States.

Debussy’s well-known sonata was written near the end of his life when he was suffering terribly from ill health and the devastation of World War I. Its three short movements provide an astonishing range of moods and emotions. Though he wished to assert a strong sense of French nationalism, there are hints of Asian, Russian, and Spanish influences, plus some flamboyant Hungarian-style gypsy fiddling.

Medtner’s dreamy Night Song, based on a poem about blissful sleep, was his first work for violin. Debussy’s sonata, dreamy at the opening, but building toward an ecstatic conclusion, was Debussy’s last completed composition.


Nachtgesang (Night Song), Op. 16, No. 1 (1904-8)
Nikolai Medtner 
Andante con moto sempre leggiero

Sonata for Violin and Piano (1916-17)
Claude Debussy
Allegro vivo
Intermede (Fantasque et léger)
Finale (Tres anime)


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