home | contact | sound samples | discography | calendar | reviews and testimonials | photos and press materials | site map | mailing list sign-up

classical: biography | performance programs | repertoire lists | educational talks | film: “Beyond 88 Keys”
jazz: biography | performance programs | tune lists | originals jazz charts | educational talks
off-stage: writings on music | blog | teaching | wedding music | non-music interests


Folk-Inspired Classical

A new program alternating throughout the evening a performance of a folksong with a classical piano piece based on that specific song. "Folk-Inspired Classical" reveals how folk music has influenced classical composers over the years and different approaches composers have taken to incorporating folk music material into their compositions. And along the way, of course, the audience will enjoy and also be educated about the original folk music traditions.

The concept in its ideal form is a collaborative performance, where live folk musicians perform the original folk songs in alternation with Michael Arnowitt's classical piano performances. However, more simply, the evening could be a solo concert by Michael utilizing the playing of recordings and his spoken commentary to present the original folk songs.

The source materials for the music on the concert derive from folk traditions from various regions of our own country as well as Europe. The evening will be a mini-tour of sorts illustrating the richness of both folk and classical music and the intermingling of these traditions.

The music on the program will be drawn from the following repertoire:

Johannes Brahms - Ballade "Edward" (based on a Scottish ballad)
Larry Polansky (contemporary composer from New Hampshire) - "Lonesome Road Suite,"
     based on the tune "Lonesome Road" as harmonized by Ruth Crawford Seeger
     in Carl Sandburg's book "American Songbag," published in 1927
Aaron Copland - excerpts from "Rodeo" (Western folk tunes)
Frederic Chopin - various Mazurkas (Polish folk dances)
Bela Bartok - "Three Rondos" or excerpts from "15 Hungarian Peasant Songs"
Beethoven - Contra-Dances (arranged from orchestra to piano) or some of his
     arrangements of Welsh, Irish, and Scottish folk songs
Frederic Rzewski (American-born contemporary composer, now in Belgium) -
     "Winnsboro cotton mill blues," based on a 1930's Southern millworkers' tune, or
     "Mayn Yingele," a set of variations based on a traditional Yiddish ballad with words
          by Morris Rosenfeld (1887)
J.S. Bach - Quodlibet, based on German popular tunes of his day (early 18th century)

Back to Home Page