Barbara Prado, Grand Prize, piano

Sunday, August 21, 5pm
St Paul's Church, Cardo 6
$400, $600 tickets

Pianist Bárbara Prado was the winner of the Grand Prize in Pro Musica’s Young Mexican Musician Competition in February 2022 and is a remarkable artist with a wide repertoire and an outstanding technique, as well as playing from her heart to invest everything she performs with a spiritual quality.

Originally from Monterrey she has been the recipient of many international awards and recognitions including First Prize at the prestigious Rocky Mountain International Music Competition in Canada, Second Prize at the Palace International Piano Competition in St. Petersburg, First Prize at the "Gates of Hope" Festival in Israel and Third Prize at the "Best Mozart Performance" in London in 2018.

Bárbara opens the concert with Beethoven’s majestic Sonata No. 11 in B-flat major, Opus 22. Beethoven regarded this Sonata as the best of his early ones and that it had four, rather than three movements, suggests grand purpose, and is typical of the maestro’s innovation. The Adagio in particular is immediately recognizable as transcendental, and its theme is organically hinted at in the finale. The first half of the program also includes Manuel Ponce’s Metamorfosis de concierto, in G-flat major, "Estrellita", 1905. Piano compositions were the mainstay of Ponce’s musical output, despite him being thought of as a composer for guitar.

The second half of the program features Chopin’s Scherzo No. 3 in C-sharp minor, Opus 39, composed in 1839. Several of Chopin’s compositions came in groups of four: four Impromptus, four Ballades, four Scherzos. This Scherzo, is a large work where the opening sets the tone with urgent passages leading to a lovely, simple chorale melody interspersed with sprays of notes. Turning to an equally romantic, but impressionistic work, we will also hear Menuet Antique by the 20 year old Maurice Ravel, his first published work. It has a “Majestueusement” (majestically) opening sequence, and is sprightly and vivacious, but the gentle center of this musical confection is as sweet as sugar!

One of the great set pieces of the piano repertoire is Dmitry Shostakovich Prelude and Fugue No. 5 in D major, Opus 87, of 1951, one of his set of 24 Preludes and Fugues for solo piano in all the major and minor keys. They were influenced by Bach's two sets of preludes and fugues (48 in all) in all 24 major and minor keys — also the inspiration of a Chopin cycle.

The concert includes many other works, which space precludes me from describing, but the evening concludes with the fiendishly difficult Mephisto Waltz No. 1, 1859, "The Dance in the Village Inn" by Franz Liszt. This Mephisto Waltz (he wrote four) depicts an episode from the Austrian poet Lenau's verse poem of the Faust legend in which the devilish Mephistopheles takes Faust to a dance at a village inn.

Pro Musica has organized this concert to be part of the first edition of the Festival de las Artes San Miguel de Allende, FASMA. This wonderful idea to bring together and showcase all the artistic disciplines that abound here in San Miguel, is formed by over 30 different organizations. We are proud to help support FASMA and we hope to see if flourish.

Tickets for the concerts at St. Paul’s are $400 and $600 pesos donation each, and are on sale through our website, and at the concert 45 minutes before performance time.

Details of all Pro Musica’s concerts and Patron Membership are on our website, www.promusicasma.org , or contact us at promusicasma@aol.com.

Michael Pearl
President, Pro Musica.

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