Artists in Action: Solo pianist covers a wide range of composers
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
Feb 24, 2013 | 2971 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Foothills Piano Festival features concert pianist

Think of Jeremy Samolesky’s solo concert on Thursday as a multi-course meal that offers the gamut of flavors.

The associate professor of piano from Auburn University has selected famous composers from five countries for his performance this week. Each composer had unique approaches to expressing themselves through the piano, Samolesky said.

The free concert will be at 7:30 p.m. in Jacksonville State University’s Mason Hall.

“I hope people will find beauty in the different styles,” Samolesky said.

His repertoire includes moments of grandeur, agitation and gentleness with the innovations of Mozart, Faure, Brahms and Rachmaninoff, and something experimental by Hungarian composer Gyorgi Ligeti.

Samolesky, who has two doctoral degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., has appeared in concert as a soloist and chamber pianist throughout the United States, Canada, Italy, Austria and China and performs regularly with orchestras throughout the United States and Canada. One of his many achievements was giving a full recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in 2009. The recital was broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today.”

Thursday’s performance will be a medley of many moods.

“The Mozart ‘Sonata in B-flat Major’ is generally a very sunny, uplifting piece in three movements. The third movement is especially playful,” the musician said.

Faure’s “Nocturne in E-flat Major” (a night piece) has three sections. The first is very relaxed and calm, while the middle section is somewhat darker and leads into an extended musical climax before returning to “the calm after the storm.”  

“The Brahms Intermezzo (an interlude) is based on a poem that speaks of a woman gently rocking her baby to sleep, while the middle section describes her painful longing for her husband, who is no longer with her,” Samolesky explained. 

The Rachmaninoff Etude-Tableaux in C Minor “stretches the technical capabilities of the instrument and the strength of the performer,” while the Ligeti piece, “Musical Ricercata,” contains 11 movements and many different styles and characters, he explained.

Since he was 7 years old, Samolesky has loved music, even then spending his free time at the piano. He is glad to share music that will endure, he said.

“I also think that it is still important for young people to hear classical music. I hope to reach them this way.”

SAR Special Program

The quest for a Civil War history book at an antique bookstore led to the surprising discovery in 1978 of an even more valuable literary antique — the original signature page of the Articles of Association, adopted in 1774 by the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia in Carpenters Hall.

This month the Colonial American artifact, on loan from a privately-owned collection, was shown to members of the Anniston chapter of Sons of the American Revolution. It is now available to the public, and representatives of SAR are showing it to patriotic organizations across the state, said Bill Stone of Montgomery, guest speaker at the meeting.

The viewing of the artifact coincides with a related project at the American Village in Montevallo. A building patterned after Carpenters Hall is under construction, and upon completion next fall will be located near the visitors’ center.

The Articles of Association, the first written document issued by the First Continental Congress, was an agreement among the colonies directed against Great Britain to secure better terms from the British government by stopping British commerce with the American colonies.

The original signature page was found by accident, folded up in a first-edition copy of “Lee’s Lieutenants” by Douglas Freeman in a rare books shop in Knoxville, Tenn. Research regarding the page was conducted by the history department of Vanderbilt University, followed by an article in the Nashville Tennessean.

SAR member Bob Folsom found the signature of one of his Revolutionary War patriotic forebears, Nathaniel Folsom, on the list of names from New Hampshire. As more people see the signature page, perhaps others can claim an ancestor as well.
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