St Bride's: Music - Lunchtime Recitals

Mignonette Aarons – piano

Tuesday, 27 February at 1:15pm - FREE ADMITTANCE - Retiring Collection

Mignonette Aarons – piano

W A Mozart

Sonata no. 11 in A major, kv331

  i. Andante grazioso - Theme and variations

 ii. Menuetto and trio

iii. Rondo alla turca

F Chopin

Prelude in E minor op. 28, no. 4

Prelude in F minor op. 28, no. 18

Nocturne in E flat major op. 9, no. 2

Nocturne in F sharp major op. 15, no. 2

Schoenberg

Klavierstuck op. 33a (1929)

Moszkowski

Caprice Espagnol op.37

I am beginning this concert in the Classical period with Sonata no. 11 in A Major by Mozart, of 1783. All the movements are in the key of A major or A minor, so the work is homotonal.The opening movement is a theme and variations, Mozart having defied the convention of beginning with an allegro movement in sonata form. The theme is siciliana, consisting of two 8 bar measure sections, a structure shared by each variation. The second movement is a standard minuet and trio movement in A major. The last movement, "AllaTurca", popularly known as the Turkish March, is often heard on its own. Mozart himself titled the rondo "Alla Tuirca". It imitates the sound of Turkish Janissary bands, the music of which was in vogue at that time. Various other works of the time imitate the Turkish style, including Mozart's own Opera 'Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail'. The form of the rondo is A-B=C=D=E=C=A=B=C==Coda. Section A in A minor consists of a rising sixteenth note melody followed by a falling eighth note melody over a staccato eighth note accompaniment. Section B introduces new material in a melody in thirds and eighth notes before varying the A section with a crescendo, then falling back to piano. Section C is a forte march in octaves over an arpeggiated chord accompaniment. Section D changes to A major - a continuous sixteenth note melody over a broken chord accompaniment in F sharp minor. Section E is a forte scale-like theme followed by a modification of Section D.

We now turn to the Romantic era, to Chopin, the most romantic poet of the piano. Here we have much more freedom in rhythm and harmony, where the melody usually soars with passion provided by the accompaniment. The preludes of Bach preceded his fugues, but by the time of Chopin, the prelude had become a piece to stand alone. The nocturnes, of course, are night music.

Schoenberg turned his back on tonality as we know it, and instead composed atonal music based on the tone row. This meant that each piece has as its basis a kind of scale known as the tone row, which was based on all the 12 notes being put into some kind of order to provide its own 'scale'.

Moritz Moszkowski (1854 - 1925) was a German-Jewish composer, virtuoso pianist and teacher who wrote prolifically for the piano and was renowned for his performances, particularly of his own music. He also left numerous exercises for the piano. Caprice Espagnol shows his mastery of harmony. It opens in A minor in vivace tempo and has a slower, more lyrical middle section in F major, and after returning to the beginning section, ends with a bravura Presto.

Mignonette Aarons has been proud to call herself a friend of St. Bride's, having performed in this lovely Church every year for many years and she is pleased to be back here today. Mignonette was a gifted musician in her younger days, having excelled in exams in piano and singing and performing as a child, but she was unable to pursue a career in music, as she could not be supported to go to music college. However, having brought up a family, the opportunity then came for her to return to the study of piano and singing, and she studied round the clock to achieve her L.R.A.M. Diploma, one of only two percent of external students to have achieved this.

Since then she has been performing regularly in City Churches, Halls and Music Societies in and around London - she also performed in Israel as part of the 6Oth Anniversary celebrations. She has also recently made a study of music forbidden by the Nazis and has performed much of the music, including great works composed in concentration camps. Mignonette turns her home into a concert venue to raise money for charity. She teaches singing, piano and theory to children and adult students, recently helping a student achieve full marks in an important music and piano exam.

Mignonette Aarons was a gifted child musician, but was prevented from pursuing a career in music. However, after bringing up her family, she was able to return to the study of music, working all night until she achieved her L.R.A.M. diploma, one of two percent of external students to do so. Since then Mignonette has been successfully teaching and performing in City Churches and Concert Halls as a singer and as a pianist, as well as taking roles in opera productions. She performed in Israel as part of its 60th anniversary. Mignonette also uses her home to perform concerts to raise money for charity.