For Ms. Alitowski, Beethoven, Debussy and Messiaen share a common link via their love of nature. Deep feelings about the natural world inspired and fueled the imagination of each of these three composers.
Beethoven's pupil and biographer, Ferdinand Ries, once described an experience he shared with the maestro. During a walk in the woods, Beethoven excitedly began humming and making grunting noises. He told Ries he had been inspired with musical ideas for the "Appassionata." Upon returning home, Beethoven quickly went to the piano (with his hat and coat still on, and with no awareness that Ries was there waiting for him) and worked out the theme for the third movement.
"There is nothing more musical than a sunset," said Debussy a century later. "The sound of the sea...the wind in leaves, the cry of a bird leave many impressions on us. And suddenly, without our wishing it at all, one of these memories spills from us and finds expression in musical language."
Messiaen, by the mid 20th century, wrote, "In my hours of gloom, when I am suddenly aware of my own futility, when every musical idiom...appears to me as no more than admirable, painstaking experimentation...what is left for me but to seek out the true, lost face of music somewhere off in the forest, in the fields, in the mountains or on the seashore, among the birds." For him, birds were "the greatest musicians to inhabit our planet."
Ms. Alitowski found it enormously enriching, both as a person and as a pianist, to understand how they incorporated these intensely personal feelings about nature into their music. For her, it has been a privilege to study and perform the works of these geniuses. She is happy to be bringing them to her audience.
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#1-3. Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827), Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata"
#4. Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918), L'Isle joyeuse ("The Joyous Island")
#5-9. Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992), Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-JÃ©sus ("Twenty Gazes on the infant Jesus"):
- Regard de la Vierge (IV, "Gaze of the Virgin")
- Regard du temps (IX, "Gaze of Time")
- PremiÃ¨re communion de la Vierge (XI, "First Communion of the Virgin")
- Le baiser de l'Enfant-JÃ©sus (XV, "The Kiss of the Infant Jesus")
- Regard de l'Onction terrible (XVIII, "Gaze of the Awesome Unction")
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Pianist, Liane Alitowski, D.M.A., a native New Yorker, is versatile as a soloist and chamber musician. She has been widely acclaimed for her performances throughout the United States, Canada, France, Sweden, Argentina, Israel, Australia and Japan. Ms. Alitowski has appeared nationally on selections of WPBS's "Great Performances." As the first resident pianist for Miami's New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, Ms. Alitowski was featured with ensembles that include the renowned Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society as well as artists such as Joshua Bell, Sharon Robinson, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, the Miami String Quartet, and the late Audrey Hepburn.
The recipient of several awards and scholarships, Ms. Alitowski received both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University. While studying with Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio, she also received fellowships to participate in the Banff Festival of the Arts, the Aspen Music Festival, and a generous grant from the Spanish Cultural Embassy to concertize in Spain.
Ms. Alitowski received her Doctorate in Musical Arts degree from SUNY Stony Brook in 2001, under Gilbert Kalish. In other venues, she has served on the faculties of Illinois Wesleyan University, the Israel Conservatory of Music, Queens College in New York, and the Paideia Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
Her first CD, "Liane Alitowski plays Haydn, Chopin and Ravel," was recorded at Klavierhaus Studios in New York City in 1997. In addition to her performances on land, Ms. Alitowski has concertized aboard the ships of Cunard, Holland America, Princess, Renaissance, and World Explorer cruise lines.
Currently (2004), Ms. Alitowski resides and performs in Israel.
Check out the artist's website:
1. BEETHOVEN, 'Appassionata' Op. 57 Fm, Allegro assai (I)
2. BEETHOVEN, 'Appassionata' Op. 57 Fm, Andante con moto (II)
3. BEETHOVEN, 'Appassionata' Op. 57 Fm, Allegro ma non troppo (III)
4. DEBUSSY, L'Isle joyeuse
5. MESSIAEN, Vingt Regards, Regard de la Vierge (IV)
6. MESSIAEN, Vingt Regards, Regard du temps (IX)
7. MESSIAEN, Vingt Regards, PremiÃ¨re communion de la Vierge (XI)
8. MESSIAEN, Vingt Regards, Le baiser de l'Enfant-JÃ©sus (XV)
9. MESSIAEN, Vingt Regards, Regard de l'Onction terrible (XVIII)