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Richard Steinbach Performs Unique Piano Technique Sept. 25 On The Virtual Steinway Café

IPR’s Virtual Steinway Café heads to Western Iowa at noon on Friday, Sept. 25 for a livestream featuring sounds and genres from around the globe with Brazilian, film, fusion, and American folk songs all performed by pianist Richard Steinbach.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, this virtual Steinway Cafe has been postponed. Look for a rescheduled date soon!

IPR’s Virtual Steinway Café heads to Western Iowa at noon on Friday, September 25 for a livestream featuring sounds and genres from around the globe with Brazilian, film, fusion, and American folk songs all performed by pianist Richard Steinbach.

Steinbach appears on IPR’s Virtual Steinway Café from Meis Recital Hall on the Briar Cliff University campus in Sioux City. He is recognized for his “sonorous expressivity, consummate clarity, and insightful sensitivity” (The Gazetta del Mezzogiorno – Bari, Italy).

Having performed as a soloist and collaborative pianist around the globe, Steinbach made his solo debut recital in 1996 at the Salle Cortot in Paris and was a prize winner in the France Piano International Competition. In 2015, he performed his solo debut recital at Carnegie Hall, climaxing his world-wide 2013 “Fusion Project” by unveiling his seventh album, “FUSION: New Music for a New Age.” Four years later, he also joined forces with violinist Eric Grossman in concert at Carnegie.

Currently, Steinbach serves as Professor of Music at Briar Cliff University, with degrees in piano performance from the University of Colorado, Eastman School of Music, and his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Iowa.

Virtual Steinway Cafe Program

Performed by Richard Steinbach, Sept. 25, 2020

American Folk Songs
· The Water is Wide, arr. Howard Helvey
· Simple Gifts, arr. Joseph M. Martin

Jazz Classical Fusion
· Five Children’s Songs (Nos. 4, 6, 11, 12, 16), Chick Corea

Extended Techniques (performance inside the piano)
· Music of Shadows, George Crumb
· Adoration of the Magi

Film Music
· Warsaw Concerto, Richard Addinsell

Music from Brazil
· Tema Para Filme I, Dimitri Cervo
· Prelúdio No. 10, Edmundo Villani-Cortes
· Toccata, Claudio Dauelsberg
· Suite No. 3 (IV. Allegro gracioso), Ronaldo Miranda

He’ll set the stage for his program with a work by Howard Helvey. Steinbach and Helvey make up the Steinbach/Helvey Duo and have received enthusiastic concert reviews from the U.S., Canada, and England, and have also released the highly-praised recording of seldom-performed masterworks called Piano Duo. Steinbach will present Helvey’s solo piano arrangement of the 17th-century Scottish work, “The Water is Wide.”

Continuing in the folk song vein, Steinbach incorporates pianist and composer Joseph Martin’s setting of Joseph Brackett’s 1848 Shaker quick dance or dancing song, also known as the gentle tune “Simple Gifts.”

Steinbach turns next to the jazz-classical-fusion music of one of America’s most noteworthy keyboardists, composers, jazz virtuoso, 23-time Grammy Award-winning, and more than 60-time Grammy-nominated jazz legend, Chick Corea. Corea, known for his musical curiosity and incredible talent, in 1984 composed 20 heartfelt “Children’s Songs.” Compared by some to Bartók’s “Mikrokosmos,” Corea’s “Children’s Songs” incorporate pentatonic scales, cross-rhythms, unusual time signatures, and rapid character changes, along with escalating difficulty. Steinbach has selected Numbers 4, 6, 11, 12, and 16 of the “Children’s Songs” to perform.

Extended piano techniques

Steinback will present sounds during this concert that are unique. As part of the concert, he’ll use what are called “extended piano techniques” presenting two works by American composer George Crumb.

Crumb’s techinque creates unusual piano sounds that may or may not use the piano keys, such as striking parts of the piano case, or strumming, muting, and striking the strings as well as holding down different piano pedals.

In 1972, Crumb composed his 4 volume “Makrokosmos” called “Twelve Fantasy Pieces after the Zodiac” in tribute to one of the finest composers and ethnomusicologists of the 20th Century, composer Bela Bartók. Crumb scored Volume One for amplified piano. Paul Muller claims these pieces “are a milestone in 20th-century musical development and his (Crumb’s) masterful application of extended techniques will stand as a benchmark of the art.” Steinbach delves into number seven from Volume One of “Makrokosmos” presenting Crumb’s otherworldly “Music of Shadows (For Aeolian Harp). Libra.”

Steinbach follows with “Adoration of the Magi” the fourth part from Crumb’s fresco-nativity-inspired “A Little Suite for Christmas, A.D. 1979.” Peter Nelson-King in his blog, “Forgotten Leaves” says the piece, “is the most spirited of the bunch, letting the pianist dance a bit on the black keys while stopping them with his fingers, creating a percussive, pseudo-pizzicato effect. It also features probably the most difficult effect in the piece balancing a plucked string with a harmonic with a plucked string normale, theoretically achieving a very metallic minor ninth.”

A Change of Course

Steinbach dramatically changes course, diving into English composer Richard Addinsell’s romantic 1941 hit, “The Warsaw Concerto.” The work, central to the passionate WWII British film called, “Dangerous Moonlight,” revolves around Poland’s Nazi invasion. A Polish concert pianist trains to become a pilot, and along the way, the pianist meets and falls in love with an American journalist. The composition’s lush harmonic sonorities, massive chords, and rushing scales were patterned after Rachmaninoff’s 2nd piano concerto. Rachmaninoff, who turned down the offer, was the film director’s first pick to score the music soundtrack. Addinsell’s “The Warsaw Concerto,” along with scoring by Roy Douglas, succeed in creating the same opulent harmonies and sumptuous melodies as Rachmaninoff.

Steinbach has performed extensively throughout South America, and will present four of his favorite contemporary Brazilian creations. Distinguished composer and concert pianist Dimitri Cervo is known for melding Brazilian flair with minimalistic characteristics. Steinbach opens with Cervo’s poignant mix-metered work, “Tema Para Filme I,” or “Theme for Film 1, Op. 23.”

Steinbach continues with the 1994 introspective and heartfelt “Prelúdio No. 10” by Edmundo Villani-Côrtes. With more than two-hundred works in his catalog, Villani-Côrtes’s distinctive and diverse taste integrates Brazilian pop with classical panaché.

The music of pianist, composer, and arranger Claudio Dauelsberg follows. Dauelsberg received his masters from Berklee College of Music, his doctorate at the Federal University of the State Rio de Janeiro, and is recognized for his cultural democratization, and a keen talent for melding jazz and classical music with new techniques. He is the founding member of the Duo Fênix with Délia Fischer, along with the founder, music and artistic director of the “PianOrquestra,” a ten-hand one-piano ensemble all simultaneously performing with orchestral results. Dauselsberg is also known for his performances and attendance at legendary jazz festivals around the globe. Steinbach will present Dauelsberg’s “Toccata.” Dauelsberg made a hand-written piano arrangement of Brazil’s hero Chief Raoni’s theme and gifted this original work to Steinbach on his Brazilian sabbatical residency.

Steinbach completes his Brazilian set and closes his Virtual Steinway Café concert with the fourth movement, Allegro gracioso from Ronaldo Miranda’s “Suite No. 3” (IV. Allegro gracioso). Miranda credits starting the Brazilian accordion at 6, with instilling his innate theoretical sense of music. He completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and received his doctorate at the University São Paulo where he currently serves as a professor of composition. Miranda is a significant force in current Brazilian contemporary music. Steinbach concludes his program with Miranda’s varied yet hybrid style of music fusing together traditional classical with unconventional jazz and neo-tonal aspects. Miranda’s melody and scales quickly coalesce into the beautifully simple movement, Allegro Gracioso.

Jacqueline Halbloom is a Sr. Music Producer and Classical Music Host