"Childhood and Adolescence"

Schumann         Kinderzenen

Chick Corea,     da Children's Song  nn. 6  15  16  17  18  20

Debussy             Children's Corner


Rachmaninov 10 Preludes:  5 from op. 23:  

  1. 2 in si bemolle maggiore
  2. 4 in re maggiore
  3. 5 in sol minore
  4. 6 in mi bemolle maggiore
  5. 7 in do minore


5 from op. 32  

  1.  1 in do maggiore
  2.  5 in sol maggiore
  3.  8 in la minore
  4. 12 in sol diesis minore
  5.  6 in fa minore



Music and childhood: a combination that in the twentieth century has produced a large amount of repertoire for children, hand in hand with a new awareness of the educational value of the musical experience for the little ones, in particular with respect to the piano, usual complement of middle-class house .

However, for a first reflection on the world of childhood we are indebted to the romantic "Sehnsucht" of Robert Schumann: music is not for children, but on the children, or rather on childhood as poetic dimension of the spirit. Kinderszenen belongs to the extraordinary decade 1830-1840, where born the most famous piano compositions Schumann, but it holds a special place in the creative course of musical Romanticism, for the ability of Schumann to penetrate a region of human sensitivity

I was too fascinated by the poetic deep intuition that produces this series of short and perfectly done illustrations, suspended between the fairy and the playful, between melancholy and dreamy, full of nostalgia and happiness. At any time the eyes of the poet caressing the child, reflecting fondly on their memories of childhood and 'the whiteness of Eusebio, who is enthusiastic in the childhood game

Schumann's childhood is a territory of the soul, a refuge in the memory of a past happy home, idealized with the sensibility of a great poet,

Completely different the six Children's Songs by Chick Corea (taken from the collection of 20 compositions by that name, which in the 80s were his first composition for solo piano): a very sharp jump, the jazz writing of Korea that in these miniatures for children - actually not so simple for small hands - claims and creates an extreme freedom of expression,

They look to the Mikrokosmos of Bartók: pentatonic scales, rhythms and accents, unusual repetition of small thematic cells in the form of moto perpetuo are the ways in which the young musician may be familiar with a piano writing unusual and appealing.

Let's go back to the early twentieth century, with the masterpiece Children's Corner, that touched the imagination of Claude Debussy dedicated in 1908 to little Emma, called Chouchou, "with the most tender apology to his father for what follows": six short compositions in which the joyous occasion of fatherhood and tenderness for a three year old girl, whose life would give unfortunately little time to grow (in fact died in 1919), producing a perfect balance between expressive illustration of childhood and adult notes to fashion era .

Even in this case the recipient is not a small and inexperienced pianist, and the apparent simplicity of writing is functional to an expression domestic and fabulous: For a child the father puts in small paintings, exquisite music, in a suspended and mild atmosphere that illuminates sudden flashes of sound: the luminescent Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum opens the cycle, the elephant stuffed Jimbo's Lullaby (played on the low register of the piano), the favorite doll (Serenade for the Doll), snow flakes and enchants the eyes of the child (The Snow is dancing), the shepherdess immersed in a bucolic, evoked by the flute with the same taste of the Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, until you get to the unbridled cakewalk doll with black face, known at the time as golliwogg, where Debussy has fun with writing jazz,

In this exploration of the magical world of childhood I thought of combining a series of short compositions that seem to me instead, even without any explicit program, describe the intimate adhesion to the turmoil of adolescence.

No composer I think he knew more than Rachmaninov give voice to the passions and the inner turmoil that adolescence brings with it, and I think this expressiveness is at the origin of long-term success of a musician whose criticism did not spare her arrows, prophesied long ago a destiny of oblivion in compositions that, instead, entered steadily in the repertoire of pianists of all generations.

Thinking of this and having worked in several stages on the Rachmaninov Preludes, I am convinced that one of the reasons for collecting this music really is with his ability to speak directly to interiority. Rachmaninov can describe naturally impetuous aggression and the most poignant melancholy, tenderness deeper and uncontrollable anger; precisely in renouncing all forms of restraint, as well as the brevity of time and the formal freedom of the prelude, the author finds the most fertile ground for the expression of all authentic inner states in which everyone can find their emotional concerns.

The absolute and final which is awarded to every experience, that absence of doubt and that action without reflection that lead to perform heroic deeds or terrible ... all the unique aspects of adolescence, which for me are illustrated with accomplished ease in this music.

His voice, genuine and sincere, is thus able to awaken in us the memory unconscionable, terrible and wonderful season that we all lived.

Andrea Lucchesini