at the
Leiser Opera Center

Cello & Piano three January 2008 at 3 pm .....

Iris van Eck & Kemal Gekic


George Frederick Handel
Grave, Allegro
Sarabande, Allegro

Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata in C major, Op.102 no 1
Andante, Allegro Vivace
Adagio, Tempo d’ Andante, Allegro vivace

Claude Debussy
Serenade et Finale

Leos Janacek
Pohadka (a fairy tale)
I Con moto
II Con moto
III Allegro

Johannes Brahms
Sonata in Fmajor, Opus 99
Allegro Vivace
Adagio affettuoso
Allegro passionato
Allegro molto

Piano tuned and regulated by Karl Roeder

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
was a German born British baroque composer. He was a leading composer of concerti grossi, operas and oratorios. Born in Halle as Georg Friedrich Händel he lived during most of his adult life in England. His most famous works are Messia, Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks. Drawing on the techniques of the great composers of the Italian Baroque, as well as the music of Henry Purcell he deeply influenced in his turn many composers who came after him, including Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven and his work helped lead the transition from the Baroque to Classical.

Ludwig van Beethoven  (1770-1827)
One can easily see Beethoven's development and stylistic changes with in his five sonatas for cello and piano. The two sonatas of Op. 5 and the two sonatas of Op. 102 flank the single middle sonata, Op. 69, in a symmetrical manner that defines his three periods. Starting with Beethoven as a young man under the influence of Haydn and Mozart, through his second period of large-scale works, to the threshold of the transcendental technical distillation of his third period. With these five works, Beethoven successfully liberated the cello from its subordinate role as a basso– continuo instrument in the Baroque to a fully fledged musical partner with the piano.
Beethoven composed his last two Cello Sonatas, Op. 102, in July and August 1815. Romantic expression, formal innovation and occasional fugal textures link these works to Beethoven’s final period of composition. Critical response was mixed, and several reviewers seemed befuddled by these sonatas. One Leipzig critic wrote: “These two sonatas are surely among the most extraordinary, the strangest piano [and cello] works in any form to be written in many years. Everything here is different, very different from anything ever heard before, even from the composer himself….”)The autograph manuscript bears the heading “Free Sonatas for Clavier and Violoncello,” an apt description for these fantasy-like works. In the C-major first sonata, Beethoven creates two main divisions, each comprising a substantial slow, highly embellished introduction succeeded by a rapid sonata movement.

Claude-Achille Debussy (1862 – 1918)
Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor was written in 1915, in the village of Pourville along the English Channel, the first of a group of six projected sonatas for various instrumental combinations. As it turned out, Debussy was able to compose only three of the works planned, before dying of the colon cancer that made his final years a misery, intensified by his depression at the carnage being suffered by his countrymen in the World War then raging.
It is said that the Cello Sonata was originally to be titled "Pierrot fâché avec la lune" Pierrot angry with the moon. Pierrot was a well known French Pantomime character; a sad, love-sick clown with white face and white floppy clothes.

and Columbine… In the serenade it sounds as if Pierrot is playing on a guitar...Pierrot serenading the moon or Colombine? Of course he never gets the girl (or the moon). You will hear him get mad, hopeful, happy, sad, in the finale he dances, but finally he comes crashing down….

Leos Janacek 1854-1928
Janacek’s “tale” for cello and piano originated in 1910 (it was was finished on February 10 of that year) Of all the Czech composers janacek probably had the closest relationships with Russia, he visited several times and had a very sincere admiration of Russian music and literature. Many of his compositions were written under the influence of Russian authors like Tolstoj Zukovskij Dostojevsky etc. Under the influence Zukovskij’s Russian stories of Czar Berendej he wrote his tale (pohadka) for cello and piano; it tells about czar Berendej who was sad because he had no children. After a long absence from home however, a son was born to him, but he pledged him to the immortal Skeleton.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
It was thanks to the Berlin cellist Robert Hausmann that Brahms wrote his second cello sonata, the Sonata in F major opus 99 as well as the Double concerto opus 102.
Hausmann, who had become a member of the famous Joseph Joachim quartet in 1879, had asked Brahms in 1884 for a new cello sonata. He was also responsible for reviving Brahms’ E minor sonata. Brahms composed the new sonata opus 99, as well as the violin sonata in A m,ajor (opus 100) AND the trio in C minor (opus 101) all during a summer holiday in 1886, the first performance was given by the composer and Hausman in November.
As the son of a double bassist in the Hamburg Philharmonic Society, Brahms had demonstrated great promise from the beginning. He began his musical career as a pianist, contributing to the family coffers as a teenager by playing in restaurants, taverns, and even brothels.
The friend and mentor who was most instrumental in advancing his career was Schumann, who all but adopted him and became his most ardent partisan, and their esteem was mutual. Following Schumann’s death in 1856, Brahms became the closest confidant and lifelong friend of the composer's widow, pianist and composer Clara Wieck Schumann.
After a life of spectacular musical triumphs and failed loves (the composer was involved in several romantic entanglements but never married), Brahms died at the age of 63 of liver

cancer on April 3, 1897 (soon after Clara's death


Iris van Eck, the founder of “Chameleon Chamber Music Series at the Leiser Opera Center” is principal cellist for the Florida Grand Opera and the Florida Classical Orchestra. She has appeared as soloist with various orchestras in the United States & in Europe, including the Florida classical Orchestra and is frequently heard on the chamber music circuit in South Florida and abroad. She was born in the Netherlands to an artist painter (father) and a piano teacher (mother). She studied at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague with Jean Decroos (principal cellist in the Concertgebouw orchestra) & Rene van Ast before moving to the United States where she studied with madame Raya Garbousova. She is a winner of the Edith Stein Concours in the Netherlands (on flute) and the Concerto Competition at Northern Illinois University (on cello).
Ms van Eck participated in master classes with Paul and Maude Tortellier and at the Piattigorsky Seminar in Los Angeles she studied with William Pleeth, Lyn Harrell and Jeffrey Solow and at the Cleveland Chamber music Seminar with Joseph Gingold and the Guarneri Quartet.  
Iris van Eck’s first recording “Works for cello & Piano by Women Composers” (Henriette Bosmans, Louise Farrenc and Rebecca Clarke) was released last December by Eroica Classical Recordings (www.eroica,com)
She plays a beautiful French cello made by Bernardel Pere in 1831. 

Kemal Gekic Flamboyant, daring, provocative, exciting, seductive and sensitive are some of the words used to describe one of today’s most formidable pianists, Kemal Gekic, whose playing has been acclaimed worldwide by public and critics alike.
Born in Split, Croatia in 1962, Gekic amazed his family by accurately picking out melodies on the piano at age one and a half. The young prodigy received all his early musical training from his aunt, Lorenza Batturina.
He created a sensation at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Although panned by the jury he won the hearts of audience and critics alike, and began receiving many invitations to perform abroad. The Warsaw Philharmonic invited Gekic to perform the Chopin E minor Piano Concerto in Philharmonic Hall in their regular series that season. In the same hall, with the same orchestra as he would have done in the competition finals, Gekic wowed the Warsaw audience once more, and for an encore gave Chopin’s Third Sonata in B minor in its entirety!
In 1999 he was invited to perform at the Miami International Piano Festival. Minutes before he was to walk on stage, a chance glance at a television showed houses burning in his hometown of Novi Sad. It was March 24th; the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia had begun. Instead of canceling, he went out on stage and played what many consider to be the best recital he ever gave, one that launched his current re-emergence as one of the major pianists of our century.
Gekic sees the process of musical communication as the transmission of spiritual material. In this as well he is sure to give you an unforgettable experience.
Mr. Gekic is presently the Artist in Residence at Florida International University. Faure’s complete works for cello and piano were (taped in February 2006 at Florida International University’s Werthheim Auditorium