Born in 1938, John Corigliano is said to be one of the most important living American composers. Istanbul had the honour to receive him as a guest at the fully packed Sürreya Opera on the evening of October 26th, 2015.
The violinist Ellen Jewett and the pianist Jerfi Aji hosted him with a wonderful rendition of his violin-piano sonata. A piece (1963), which made Corigliano the only winner of the chamber-music composition competition of Spoleto Festival (1964) in Italy at the age of 26. Tonal, atonal, polyphonic with polyrhythmical parts, one of the typical examples of “American style composition” school-as Corigliano puts it- this demanding sonata offers challenges for both parts while treating everyone as a soloist. Our soloists made a very fresh “Turkish premiere”!
Jewett and Aji, avid adventurers of novelties and contemporary music, served the rather “traditional” audience of Istanbul in a very wisely selected program: a warm-up with Bach, followed by Corigliano, re-taking with Mozart after the break and closing with Prokofiev. A successful recital, which reached its climax at the Prokofiev violin-piano sonata. An extensively virtuosic piece written first for flute-piano, which on David Oistrakh’s demand Prokofiev transcribed for violin. Ellen Jewett and Jerfi Aji mastered and played it with great bravura and panache! They formed a great team all along, sometimes following each other steps sometimes growing apart free as a bird, yet remaining always together in mutual understanding. The most important feature of good chamber musicianship.
The artists calmed down the jubilant audience on this full moon night with Debussy’s Claire de Lune.
What a: concert, night, delight, !