Thursday, 16 March 2017

An-Ting Chang "Carnival of the Animals" Glenorchy Church Exmouth Wednesday 22 March 2017 (full programme details)

An-Ting Chang (Pianist)

‘The Carnival of the Animals’

Louis-Claude Daquin (1694-1772)          Le Coucou (The Cuckoo)
Enrique Granados (1867-1916)      Quejas, ó la Maja y el Ruiseñor (The Maiden and the Nightingale) from ‘Goyescas’
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)    Flight of the Bumblebee
Franz Liszt-Franz Schubert              Die Forelle (The Trout), S.563
(1811-1886) (1797-1828)
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)        Poisson d’or from ‘Image II
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)         Waltz, Op. 64, No. 1     
                                                           Waltz, Op. 34, No. 3
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)           The Cat and the Mouse
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)  Le Carnaval des Animaux (The Carnival of the Animals)
Introduction and Royal March of the Lion - Hens and Roosters - Swift Animals - Tortoises - The Elephant - Aquarium - Aviary - Fossils - The Swan – Finale

An-Ting Chang (Pianist)

Daquin was a French prodigy who has performed harpsichord in front of Louis XIV at the age of six and conducted his own composition at the age of eight. Daquin was the best virtuoso improviser of his generation and invented the unique harpsichord technique in his published music. Le Coucou (The Cuckoo) is selected from his collection of harpsichord pieces. Daquin imitated the two-syllable sound of cuckoo as the theme and developed it in different keys and tones.
The Spanish composer, Granados, was inspired by Goya’s painting to compose the piano suite, Goyescas. Granados wrote, ‘I am enamoured with the psychology of Goya, with his palette, with him, with his muse the Duchess of Alba, with his quarrels with his models, his loves and flatteries.’ Quejas, ó la Maja y el Ruiseñor (The Maiden and the Nightingale) is the fourth movement of the suite in which the maiden sings mournfully to the nightingale. Granados used the melody of a folksong he heard in Valencia countryside for the maiden’s singing. The sound of nightingale is interwoven with her voice and the music is left with only nightingale’s sound towards the end.
Rimsky-Korsakov wrote Fight of the Bumblebee as an orchestral interlude in his opera The tale of Tsar Saltan in 1900. A magician, Swan-Bird, changes Prince Gvidon Saltanovich into an insect so that the prince can fly away to visit his father. This composition is very often used as a solo showcase for the instrumental virtuosity. The fast semiquaver throughout the piece creates different sonority and great excitement and is a highly technique challenge for the instrumentalists. This piano transcription is arranged by Sergei Rachmaninov.
Die Forelle (The Trout) is originally a Lied (German song) composed by Schubert. Schubert set the melody to his famous quintet and Liszt transcribed it into a piano solo piece.  The lyrics of the Lied was from a poem by Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart. The poem described a trout happily dashing in a clear little brook; however, eventually it was killed by the cold-blooded fisherman. The poet originally added a moral conclusion in the final stanza. Schubert obliterated it and changed the song’s focus to the pure narration of the scene. Fischer-Dieskau depicted the reason for the popularity of the piece that ‘the vividness of the imagery, with the alternate troubling and smoothing of the surface of the water along with the exuberance of the melody itself, account for the song's universal appeal.’
Poisson d’or (The Fish of Gold) is selected from Debussy’s Image, Book II. Debussy painted pictures with tones. He created distinct sonority with the fresh harmony and the spontaneous rhythm. The painter Maurice Denis expressed it this way: His music kindled strange resonances within us, awakened a need at the deepest level for a lyricism that only he could satisfy. What the Symbolist generation was searching for with such passion and anxiety – light, sonority, and colour, the expression of the soul, and the frisson of mystery – was realized by him unerringly.’ Debussy often went to a shop selling Chinese antique which he was mad about. It is said he was inspired by the two gold-coloured fish on a small Japanese lacquer panel which he bought there to compose Poisson d’or.
Chopin ‘s Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64, No. 1 is commonly known as the ‘Minute’ waltz or ‘Little Dog’ waltz. The name ‘Minute’ depicts the nature of the piece being short (not because it lasts only for a minute). It is believed that Chopin was inspired by seeing George Sand’s dog, Marquis, chasing its tail. Chopin seemed to adore the dog and mentioned it in the letter to his family, ‘The little dog Marquis is staying with me and is lying on my sofa. It is an extraordinary creature: it has a soft fluffy white coat which Madam Sand herself brushes every day, and it is as intelligent as can be. I can't begin to tell you all its original tricks.’ Not only for George Sand’s dog, Chopin also composed another waltz op. 34, no. 3 for her cat, Valdeck. Chopin called it a ‘Cat’ waltz. The cat jumps up to the keyboard opening the piece and, in the middle section, there are yearning long notes which imitate sound of cats.
Copland was born in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up with very little music surroundings but eventually created his distinct music style. Composed when he was twenty, The Cat and the Mouse was Copland’s first published music. When Copland first presented the music to his composition teacher, Goldmark regretfully said that he had no criteria to judge such music. The famous publisher, Durand (Debussy’s main publisher), heard this piece in the graduation exercises and took the piece at once. Copland was inspired by The Old Cat and the Young Mouse in La Fountaine Fable in which a mouse begs to the cat with fair reasons but the cat still eats the mouse. The fable concludes, ‘Youth deludes itself into believing that it can obtain everything; Old age is merciless.’
Le Carnaval des Animaux (The Carnival of the Animals) is the most popular work from the French composer, Saint-Saëns. The original score was written for two pianos, two violins, viola, cello, double bass, flute (and piccolo), clarinet (C and B), glass harmonica, and xylophone. Saint-Saëns composed the music for a private concert on the Shrove Tuesday and it was performed by the famous cellist, Charles Lebouc. Saint-Saëns quotes many famous tunes as musical allusion, including La Poule by Rameau (Hens and Roosters), Galop Infernal in operetta by Offenbach (Tortoises), Danse des sylphs by Berlious (The Elephant) and some nursery rhymes and song from The Barber of Seville by Rossini (Fossiles). In order to keep his reputation as a ‘serious’ composer, Saint-Saëns forbad the work to be published during his lifetime. The work was finally published in 1922, a year after Saint-Saëns’ death. This piano solo version is arranged by An-Ting Chang.
Pianist/ An-Ting Chang
Chang’s background is unique.  In 2007, she graduated from Taiwan’s top university, the National Taiwan University, majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Drama Theatre.  She obtained an MMus (Piano) at the Royal Academy of Music, London, winning a Maud Hornsby Award and in 2009 received a DAAD Scholarship- Stüdienstipendien für Ausländische Künstler for advanced study (Aufbaustudium) in piano performance at the Hochschule für Musik, Franz Liszt Weimar, Germany.  She is currently pursuing a PhD (performance practice) at the Royal Academy.
Chang regularly appears on the national and international concert circuit and has recently performed at Balcktheath Halls, Newbury Spring Festival, Deal Festival, Altenburg-Liszt Salon Weimar, and the Akademie der Künste Berlin (Academy of Arts). In addition to solo and chamber recitals, Chang is constantly seeking new and creative approaches to combine her concerts with different media.  Her creation of Concert Theatre was awarded grants from the Arts Council, Help Musicians, Elias Fawcett Trust and Royal Victoria Hall Foundation and was featured in 2012 by In Tune (BBC Radio 3), including an interview and live performance.
John Packwood (Bristol Post) described her as ‘a distinguished artiste’ and Martin Cullingford (Gramophone) noted that her Concert Theatre work was ‘beautiful and poignant’.  Her current Concert Theatre works include Sonata Movements (Royal Academy, RADA, Blue Elephant Theatre), Kiss of the Earth (UK Tour supported by Arts Council England) and The Tenant (in development, will be launched in Spring 2017 at the National Portrait Gallery 28 April, Kings Weston House 26-27 April and Holburne Museum Bath 25 May). 
Chang’s debut recording, ‘Water Image’, is available on site. The programme includes Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata, Ravel’s Jeux d’eau, Debussy’s Estampes and Chopin’s Barcarolle. You can also follow Chang’s concerts on her website: or write to her at

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