Mishka Rushdie Momen

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Thursday 23 May 2024, 11.00am

£10 UC, DLA or PIP
£5 Under 35s & Students

Past Event

R SCHUMANN Gesänge der Frühe No.1 (3′)
FAURÉ Nocturne No.13 (8′)  
RAMEAU Le Rappel des oiseaux, Rigaudons I, II & Double, Les tendres plaintes (7′)
MENDELSSOHN Variations Sérieuses Op.54 (12′)
R SCHUMANN Waldszenen (extracts) Einsame Blumen, Verrufene Stelle, Freundliche Landschaft, Vogel als Prophet (10′)
RAVEL Miroirs (extracts) Oiseaux tristes, Alborada del gracioso, Vallée des cloches (18′) 

No interval 

Named ‘Critics’ Classical Music Breakthrough Artist’ in The Times Arts Awards 2021, Mishka Rushdie Momen was praised as “one of the most thoughtful and sensitive of British pianists” shortly before she gave her debut recital at the Crucible Playhouse in January 2022. This recital highlights her versatility, with music encompassing three centuries, from the baroque lyricism of Rameau to the impressionism of Ravel.  The work of Robert Schumann also features, a composer with whom Mishka has a special affinity and of whom she is a sensitive and arresting interpreter. 

Part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2024. 

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SCHUMANN Robert, Gesänge der Frühe No.1

Nature was always a potent source for composers, and this recital includes several pieces which were inspired by the sights and sounds of the natural world. Robert Schumann (1810–1856) composed the Gesänge der Frühe, Op.133, in October 1853, just after completing his Violin Concerto. The five pieces were described by Clara Schumann in her diary as ‘dawn-songs, very original as always but hard to understand, their tone is so very strange’. This elusive mood is apparent in the first piece, marked Im ruhigen tempo. A chorale-like theme, occasionally coloured with Schumann’s characteristic harmonic dissonances, the music was described by Schumann himself as ‘impressions at the approach and growth of the morning, but more as an expression of feeling than painting.’


Nigel Simeone

FAURÉ Gabriel, Nocturne No.13

Gabriel Fauré composed thirteen nocturnes for piano between 1875 and 1921. The last of them, No.13 in B minor, Op.119, was completed on 31 December 1921, two weeks after the death of his friend Saint-Saëns. This event may have influenced the noble and introspective mood of the work, much of which seems to inhabit a world of private meditation, though it rises to a climax of great intensity before a return of the opening material. This substantial work moves through passion, anger, consolation, and grief, finally reaching what the British musicologist Robert Orledge described as ‘a visionary coda’ which gradually sinks into silence. 

Nigel Simeone

RAMEAU Jean-Philippe, Le Rappel des oiseaux, Rigaudons I, II & Double, Les tendres plaintes

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683–1764) published his first collection of harpsichord pieces in 1706 and further collections appeared in the 1720s. Though widely admired at the time, these works lapsed into obscurity and it took their rediscovery at the end of the nineteenth century, when a handsome edition, prepared by Camille Saint-Saëns, was published by Durand in 1895. Rameau’s collections mostly comprise dance movements, such as the two Rigaudons and ‘Double’ from the 1724 volume of Pièces de clavecin. This was also the source of one of his most celebrated imitative pieces, Le rappel des oiseaux with its evocations of chirruping birdsong, and of Les tendres plaintes, a more subtle evocation of melancholy.  


Nigel Simeone

MENDELSSOHN Felix, Variations Sérieuses Op.54

Felix Mendelssohn’s Variations sérieuses were completed on 4 June 1841 and had been written to encourage contributions for a statue of Beethoven in Bonn. The work was published along with pieces by Liszt, Chopin, Moscheles and Henselt (among others) in a fund-raising ‘Beethoven-Album’. The piece was much admired at the time by Ignaz Moscheles, Mendelssohn’s friend and fellow-contributor to the album, who often included it in his recital programme. It comprises an original theme followed by 17 sharply contrasted variations, the first group gradually building momentum, a solemn chorale (Variation 14), and the brilliant virtuosity of the closing pages. 


Nigel Simeone

SCHUMANN Robert, Waldszenen (extracts) Einsame Blumen, Verrufene Stelle, Freundliche Landschaft, Vogel als Prophet

Schumann’s Waldszenen, Op.82, dates from 1848, just after finishing his opera Genoveva, the last act of which takes place in a forest. The woodland inspiration evidently persisted and the new set of pieces was completed in January 1849, with the last of them, ‘Vogel als Prophet’ (‘The Prophet Bird’) added as an inspired afterthought. One early review captured the spirit of these pieces, delighting in ‘the enigmatic rustlings, the distant melodies, the mystical flowers in this magical forest.’ 


Nigel Simeone

RAVEL Maurice, Miroirs (extracts) Oiseaux tristes, Alborada del gracioso, Vallée des cloches

Maurice Ravel composed Miroirs in 1904–5, and each piece was dedicated to a fellow member of Les Apaches, the group of musical friends formed in 1903. They included the pianist Ricardo Viñes (‘Oiseaux tristes’), the critic Michel-Dimitri Calvocoressi (‘Alborada del gracioso’) and the composer Maurice Delage (‘La vallée des cloches’). ‘Oiseaux triste’ is an evocation of a solitary bird, joined by others in due course. ‘Alborada del gracioso’ is a virtuoso piece, based on the rhythms and melodic shapes of an exciting Spanish folk dance. Like Debussy, Ravel heard the gamelan music at the 1889 Exposition universelle in Paris, and memories of those sounds may well have been in his mind when he composed ‘La vallée des cloches’, a piece in which different layers of bell sounds mingle in the most atmospheric way. 


Nigel Simeone

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