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A House Concert 
at the
Historical Piano Study Center
30 Main Street, Ashburnham, MA, 01430

Saturday, August 12th, 2017 at 7:30pm

Matthew Odell, piano    Matthew Odell, piano

from Eight Préludes (1928)
on the 1928 Erard piano, Paris
Olivier Messiaen
1. #1 La Colombe
2. #6 Cloches d'angoisses et larmes d'adieu
2nd Sonata, Op. 36 in b-flat minor (1931 revised version)
on the 1907 Blüthner piano, Leipzig
Sergei Rachmaninoff
1. Allegro agitato
2. Non allegro
3. Allegro molto
from Miroirs (1905)
on the 1893 Erard piano, Paris
Maurice Ravel
#3. Une barque sur l'océan
#4. Alborado del gracioso
#5. La Vallée des cloches
from Four Impromptus, Op. 90, D.899 (1827)        
on the c.1830 Bösendorfer piano, Vienna 
Franz Schubert
#3 in Gb
#4 in Ab
Adagio in B minor K.540  (1788)
on the ca.1790-’95 Viennese type piano by an unknown maker
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

About the Pianos
The 1928 Erard, the “youngest” piano in the Collection, was owned by singer and voice teacher Thérèse Leschetizky, daughter of important piano teacher Theodor Leschetizky.  Thérèse reportedly acquired the piano from her father’s famous pupil, Ignaz Paderewski.

The nine-foot, 1907 Blüthner concert grand piano can produce the most ethereal pianississimo in response to the player’s touch, without the soft pedal. Melodies emerge in layers, through a mist, without obscuring one another. Debussy’s own piano for the last thirteen years of his life was a smaller Blüthner grand, made in 1904, which he purchased in 1905.  Elaine Greenfield’s recording of all of the Préludes, Books I and II, is on this piano.

The 1893 Erard, the same model as composer Maurice Ravel’s own studio piano, while smaller than a full-size concert grand, has plenty of tone for a modest size concert venue. It is parallel-strung, with a composite iron frame, built at a time when several makers’ pianos were adopting Steinway’s crossed-over bass strings and single-piece cast iron frame ideas. Erard pianos are known for their liquid clarity, from the lowest notes to their sparkling trebles. Perhaps their tone explains why so many compositions by Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, and the French Impressionists referenced water. This liquid quality is very present in Ravel’s musical depiction of Ondine, the water sprite, from his suite, Gaspard de la nuit, and his Jeux d’eau (fountains); in Debussy’s Poissons d’or (Goldfish), and Jardins sous la pluie (Gardens in the Rain); and Liszt’s Jeux d’eau à la Villa d’Este (Fountains at the Villa d’Este), among others. The Frederick Collection includes seven Erard pianos, a make prized by composer/pianists throughout the 19th century, well into the 20th.

The Bösendorfer piano of around 1830 is one of the earliest pianos by that maker, during the time he was establishing himself as successor to the famous Viennese builder, Joseph Brodmann. The name on the front, printed on blue paper under glass, calls Bösendorfer “Brodmann’s pupil”. Slightly later Bösendorfer pianos, like the one in the collection at Yale, have a white paper label, saying “Formerly Brodmann”.

The Unsigned Piano, c.1795, in the Viennese style, maker unknown, is the earliest restored member of the Frederick Collection. This piano, with just over five octaves, FF to g3, would have been state-of-the-art about the time Mozart died. It reminds us the highest and lowest notes in Mozart’s music were the extremes of the keyboard he knew. Instead of pedals, one of the two knee-activated levers lifts the dampers; the other, a “moderator,” places fabric tabs between the hammers and the strings to mute the sound. The handsome marquetry on the case was refitted from a longer, narrower harpsichord.  As musical styles changed, harpsichords, designed to play an earlier style of music, were being discarded. Fortunately, the decoration of one of them was salvaged to grace this piano. The “reverse-color” keyboard, black naturals and white sharps, was as common at the time as the design we are used to. Keyboard color was not standardized around Vienna until about 1810. Beethoven and Haydn were composing for pianos like this.

All pianos played in the concerts are from The Frederick Collection.
The Historical Piano Study Center, 30 Main Street, Ashburnham, MA, 01430. The building is wheelchair accessible.

 About the Musician
New Hampshire-born pianist Matthew Odell began his studies at the age of 10 and has since won acclaim for performances of a wide range of repertoire as a solo recitalist, soloist with orchestra, and chamber musician.  He has been hailed as “excellent” by the New York Times and “brilliant . . . playing with total commitment and real abandon” by Gramophone.  In addition to performances at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and the 92nd Street Y in New York, Mr. Odell has appeared at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in Boston, Chicago, Miami, Paris, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Taipei, Taiwan, and Helsinki, Finland.  He has also performed at the Aspen Music Festival, the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, New York’s Focus! Festival, the La Gesse Festival in Toulouse, France, Nuits musicales and Concerts du cloître in Nice, France, and the Rohm International Music Festival in Kyoto, Japan.  Recent concerts include a solo recital of the music of Boulez and Carter in Baltimore, a tribute to Pierre Bernac and Francis Poulenc at Lincoln Center, and a European recital tour in Paris, London, and Spain.

A passionate advocate of the music of our time, Mr. Odell frequently premieres works written for him. He has performed contemporary repertoire with the New Juilliard Ensemble, the AXIOM Ensemble, and the American Art Song Festival, a group he founded in 2004.  He has also worked with many prominent composers, including Pierre Boulez, John Corigliano, Ned Rorem, Mark Adamo, Michel Merlet, and Robert Aldridge.  Mr. Odell’s affinity for the music of Olivier Messiaen has been seen in a performance of his Visions de l’Amen with pianist Peter Hill and an upcoming recording project of the music of Messiaen and his students to be released by Albany Records.

Mr. Odell currently teaches at The Juilliard School and frequently presents master classes, workshops, and lectures at professional conferences and universities throughout the U.S and Europe.   In May 2010 he graduated with a doctoral degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Margo Garrett, Jonathan Feldman, and Brian Zeger.  He studied further with Marian Hahn, Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Ann Schein, and Laurence Morton.

Matthew Odell has appeared twice on our regular Historical Piano Concerts Series at Ashburnham Community Church.
For more information, please visit

About the House Concerts
Our House Concerts are fundraising events, to help defray such annual expenses as replacing slate tiles on the roof, insuring the pianos, etc. Admission to the concerts is by freewill donation. Any amount is most welcome, and all donations to our 501(c)(3) organization, Historical Piano Concerts, Inc., are fully tax-deductible, and will be acknowledged in writing for your tax records.

Seating is very limited, and announcements are sometimes on very short notice. If you are interested in attending (or simply being informed by email about) an upcoming house concert it is necessary to contact the Fredericks by phone or email. See the Contact Page for details.

For further information on the Historical Piano Concert Series, The Historical Piano Study Center, or any other item on this page please send email to .

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