Clara Schumann Prelude and Fugue in B-flat Major, Op. 16 No. 2
Ludwig van Beethoven Moonlight Sonata
I. Adagio sostenuto
III. Presto agitato
Claude Debussy Nuit d’etoiles
Claude Debussy Clair De Lune from Suite Begamasque
Mélanie Bonis Près du ruisseau, Op. 9
Omphale, Op. 86
Sevillana, Op. 125
Frédéric Chopin Nocturnes, Op. 9
No. 1 B-flat minor
No. 2 E-flat major
Franz Liszt Ballade No. 2 in B minor, S. 171
Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
Sonata No. 14 in C# minor, Op. 27, No.2, Quasi una Fantasia – ‘Moonlight’ (1801)
I. Adagio Sostenuto
III. Presto Agitato
Ludwig Van Beethoven wrote his so-called ‘Moonlight’ Sonata at the turn of the century, and the dawn of a new era in music that would see composers systematically set aside the dogmatic classical forms and structures of the past in the quest for freedom and individual expression. Beethoven hints at this brave new world in his oﬃcial title for the piece ‘Quasi una Fantasia’ (like a fantasy), indicating that the piece Is composed in a free, improvisatory style, and that it should be performed as such.
From the very ﬁrst impulse of the work, it is clear why this piece earned the nickname ‘Moonlight’ – Beethoven immediately places the listener in a dark, nocturnal landscape, more descriptive and emotive than any music written before it had dared to be. From this austere opening the music unfolds in an episodic manner, the middle movement a brief ﬂash of light, before plunging back into new depths of darkness for the agitated, virtuosic last movement.
Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918) Nuit d’etoiles, L.2(1880)
Nuit d’etoiles (Starry Night) was written by French composer Claude Debussy at the very start of his career as a professional composer when he was just 18. This short song for voice and piano is based on a text by the 19th Century French poet Theodore de Banville which describes lost love and escape in nature and the night.
Despite being an early work, it displays many of the qualities that would deﬁne the ‘impressionist’ style that many now use to describe his music. The piece closely follows the structure and meaning of the text and attempts to pick out and musically describe the images that it evokes. The gently arpeggiated chords of the opening evoke the lyre described in the poem’s first stanza, while the voice gently and brightly hovers above like stars in the sky. The music occasionally hints at the darkness and melancholy of the narrator, but ultimately resolves to bright optimism.
Nuit d’etoiles text (translation):
Starry Night, under your veils,
under your night air and scents, with a sad singing lyre,
I dream of a dead love.
Serene melancholy bursts from deep in my heart,
and I hear the soul of my love tremble deep in the woods. I remember the fountain,
your blue eyes like the sky, your breath like roses,
and your eyes like stars.
The St. Augustine Music Festival is grateful that the family of Paul Mastriani was willing to donate his 1917 Steinway Grand Piano to us. And we thank Gordon Russell and Kal Gancsos, Intermediaries with the Mastriani Family, who brought it to our attention.
Paul L. Mastriani 1936 – 2017
Paul was a devoted husband, father, grandfather musician, composer and stenographer. While stationed at Cape Hatteras as a U.S. Navy Veteran, he continued to vacation there with his family. The family also enjoyed wintering for over 20 years in Treasure Island, FL. His profession was as a Court Stenographer for the NY Supreme Court, working primarily in Schenectady.
Paul’s musical interest started as a child with the Gene James Trio. Through the years he helped compose music for plays including Who Said What to Who in 1973 and Don’t Just Sit There in 1976. In 1985, he composed for Anthony Zano’s Gotta Take Time performance at Carnegie Hall.
He played with several groups in the New York Capital District at locations including Jazz on Jay, The Van Dyke, Stoney’s Irish Grill and the Stockade Inn, earning a Lifetime Achievement Award from Swingtime Magazine.
Paul was quoted: “It’s beyond liking, I loved it; it’s something I have to do.” He will be remembered for his piano skills, love of music and wit and deliverance of humor, which he held to the end.