Aleksey Orlovetsky is a Russian pianist, pedagogue, composer and conductor. He studied piano at the Leningrad Conservatory under Grigorij Sokolov, and composition and conducting under Y. Falik and A. Mussin. In 1989 he received second prize in the 2nd International Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht, Holland, and in 1990 he won the 7th International Iturbi Piano Competition in Valencia, Spain. Orlovetsky is active as a pedagogue in Poland. He has held a number of nationwide piano courses organized by Ferenc Liszt Society and has been holding piano classes during the International Master Courses for Pianists in Wroclaw, since 1993. Mr Orlovetsky’s most recent recording of works by Beethoven, Liszt, and Chopin was released in 2006. Other recordings feature works of Rachmaninoff, Chopin, and Liszt. Alexei Orlovetsky plays an Erard piano from a Russian collection, manufactured in London in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Juliusz Adamowski studied piano in the class of Wlodzimierz Obidowicz at the Academy of Music in Wrocław. He is the author of a manual on teaching piano, a vista. Additionally, Mr Adamowski developed a series of concerts popularising music in theme cycles aimed towards teenagers and adults. In 1989, Adamowski founded, co-organised, and became the first president of the Ferenc Liszt Society in Poland. He currently serves as a juror of both International F. Liszt Piano Competitions in Wroclaw. In 2001, he was honoured with the Music Award of Wrocław.
Ludwig van Beethoven’s Tempest Sonata, composed between 1801 and 1802, is widely considered to be the consummate work in the history of sonata form. The piece is one of the three sonatas in Op. 31, which likely coincide with the drafting of Beethoven’s Heiligenstadt Testament, expressing his despair at his encroaching deafness. At the time, the composer was well on his way to bridging the gap between the classical and romantic styles. Works including the Eroica Symphony, the Fifth Symphony, his opera Fidelio, and the Third and Fifth piano concertos, as well as the overture to Goethe’s Egmont, were also composed during this, so-called middle period, or heroic decade. The work is Beethoven's only sonata in the key of D minor and when asked the meaning of the work, the composer responded with the advice to read Shakespeare's The Tempest. Thus it is easy to assume that Beethoven may have drawn parallels to or been inspired by the romance.
Franz Schubert wrote two sets of Impromptus in 1827, towards the end of his life. Each set consists of four character pieces with each piece presenting a simple musical idea in a lyrical style with the aim of creating a particular mood. The first two of the first set were published during the composer’s life and were given the opus number 90. These were the first works, within the small-scale instrumental genre, bearing the name impromptu, to establish themselves permanently in the repertoire. Musicologist, Kathleen Dale described the compositions by claiming, “Schubert’s continued experience of songwriting had by now so strongly developed his wonderful natural gift of apprehending the spirit of a poem and re-creating it in music that when he turned from songs to write for piano solo, he inevitably composed works, which, though specifically instrumental in character, are so truly lyrical in essence that each is a poem in sound.”
Franz Liszt’s intense Catholicism played an important role in his life and the shape his music took. Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy inspired two of his compositions. The first was a two-movement piece titled Fragment after Dante, which he premiered in Vienna in 1839, and then returned to in 1849, parallel to the Dante Symphony. After rewriting the piece, forming a longer single-movement composition, he renamed it Après une Lecture de Dante. The composer’s combination of virtuosity and religiosity is nowhere more evident than in this significant piece of work. Often referred to as the Dante Sonata, the work is fantastically programmatic and is based on two distinct themes. The first theme depicts the tortured souls Dante witnessed in Hell and the second, the joy of those in Heaven. These themes are related to each other by a variation-like technique, which twists and transforms them throughout the work.
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator