Return to the Frederick Collection Homepage


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

Saturday, July 29, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Mark Alexander, piano Mark Alexander, piano

from Préludes, Book I  (1910)
#8 La fille aux cheveux de lin (The girl with flaxen hair)

#10 La cathédrale engloutie  (The Sunken Cathedral)
on the 1907 Blüthner piano, Leipzig
Claude Debussy

Pavane pour une Infante defunte  (Pavane for a Dead Princess) (1899)
Menuet from Le Tombeau de Couperin (Minuet from The Tomb of Couperin) (1914-1917)
on the 1928 Erard piano, Paris
Maurice Ravel

Intermezzi, Op. 118 (1893):
on the 1871 J.B. Streicher und Sohn piano, Vienna
Johannes Brahms
1. No. 1 in a-minor
2. No. 2 in A-Major
Nocturne No. 8 in Db, Op. 27, No.2 (1835)
Nocturne No. 5 in F#, Op. 15, No.2 (1830-31)
on the 1840 Erard piano, Paris
Frédéric Chopin
Ständchen (Serenade) (1828), as arranged for solo piano by Liszt (publ. 1840)
on the 1840 Erard piano, Paris
Franz Schubert
Impromptu in Ab, Op. 90 #4, D.899 (1827)
on the c. 1830 Bösendorfer piano, Vienna

About the Pianos
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.

Maurice Ravel’s own Erard piano was the same model of the 1893 Erard in the Frederick Collection. However, to save an immediate audience move to the next room after the Debussy, we will be hearing instead the 1928 Erard, the “youngest” piano in the Collection. This piano 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 1871 Streicher piano is from the same fourth-generation maker, and the same vintage, as Brahms’s own piano for the last twenty-five years of his life. The clarity of its bass tones serves Brahms’s music better than the thicker basses of most modern overstrung pianos. The single-escapement action, with its fewer moving parts, gives the performer a feeling of direct finger contact with the hammers on the strings.

The 1840 Erard piano has distinctive, contrasting registers; the bass is clear and robust; the high treble, exquisitely delicate, suggestive of small icicles or the little crystal pendants on a chandelier. Chopin played pianos by both Pleyel and Erard in Paris, although he favored Pleyel. Liszt preferred Erard pianos for concert use, due to their bigger, more dramatic tone.

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”.

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 Musicians
Mark Alexander is a retired computer programmer who escaped to Vermont from Silicon Valley in 2009.  He studied piano for three years as a child with Thomas LaRatta of San Mateo, California, then took a 20-year break from the piano.  When he returned to the piano he studied with Lyn Bronson of Carmel, California, and with several teachers at Sonata Piano Camp in Bennington, Vermont.  

Since moving to Vermont, he has played a solo recital benefiting Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, and has participated in other musical events benefiting the Lympus Church in Bethel, Vermont, and the Federated Church in Rochester, Vermont.

Mark and his wife Mary Anderson have an organic farm in rural Vermont.

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 .

For complete contact information and how you can help support the Historical Piano Concert Series and/or The Historical Piano Study Center, please click here.

Questions or comments about this web site should be sent to the .