Debussy Film and Preludes Event

Dr. Anthony Tobin, Music Director of Adam’s Music House, gave a double treat to a full house this past Sunday. Not only did he perform the first book of Claude Debussy’s Preludes for Piano, he also screened his short film “Le piano du reve”.

Dr. Tobin’s playing brought to life the shimmering world of Debussy’s pieces. From the majestic opening Danseuses de Delphes (Dancers of Delphi) to the playful Minstrels his control of sound and clarity held us all spellbound. Indeed, it felt as if we were experiencing  a only vague representation of our normal senses hearing La cathédrale engloutie (The Engulfed Cathedral) and the ethereal De pas sur la neige (Footsteps in the Snow)My personal favorite, La fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with Flaxen Hair), left me simply breathless. The sound of the seven foot Bösendorfer that was just recently returned to the performance space rang with a true, rich tone that Dr. Tobin took every advantage of.

In “Le piano du reve” Dr. Tobin demonstrates how the construction of Debussy’s Bleuthner piano inspired him to create the sound-scapes in the Preludes. Not merely theorizing about this possibility from a distance, Dr. Tobin gained access to the Bleuthner now housed in the Musee Labenche in Brive la-Gaillarde. The film frames the period in Debussy’s life when he married a second time, became a father, purchased the Bleuthner, and wrote both books of the Preludes. Playing on both a modern piano and Debussy’s, Dr. Tobin demonstrates the sound quality and keyboard response the Bleuthner opened for the composer. The film closes with Dr. Tobin’s performance of the virtuosic Feux d’artifice on the instrument it was imagined upon.

Thank you to all who came to our event and we look forward to seeing you again at Adam’s Music House. 

Adam’s Goes to the Met!

Our Founder Joe Bratcher and Artistic Director Tony Tobin just returned from a trip to NYC to glean new ideas and listen to music They heard Yefim Bronfman play the Beethoven Second Piano Concerto and the New York Philharmonic perform Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony. Bronfman has never played better and exhibited consummate control of tone, balance, and the beautiful Steinway D.

Next on the agenda was a wonderful performance of Verdi’s Aida at the Metropolitan Opera. The cast, staging, and music were top-notch and made for a wonderful evening.

Aida at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC

But the highlight of the trip was a performance of the not-often heard Pelleas et Melisande by Claude Debussy. Since Tony Tobin is a Debussy specialist who had never seen the opera live, this was a special treat. Not only did the cast and staging impress, the new conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, is a worthy successor to James Levine and tantalizes with the possibilities the Met will have in the future.

We also shopped for music for the collection at Adam’s once it arrives we will tell you more about it, but in the meantime here is a preview:

The Fairies Are Exquisite Dancers by Debussy was inspired by a drawing in this book

Please Join us February 9th at 2PM for Dr. Kiyoshi Tamagawa’s master class, we already have 5 great students lined up to play.

February 24th at 4PM Dr. Tobin will play the first book of Debussy Preludes and show his new film about Debussy’s special Bluethner piano.

March 2nd at 2PM Sophia Gilmson will give an encore master class. The last was sensational so we do hope you will attend!

Adam’s Music House Fellowship

We are pleased to announce Enrique Rangel as the first recipient of the Adam’s Music House Fellowship. Enrique, who will graduate from TAMIU in Laredo this Spring, is a student of Dr. Fritz Gechter at TAMIU and Kenneth Thompson of MACSA in San Antonio. For the Fellowship Enrique will learn a 30 minute program of music by Nikolai Medtner, prepare a 30 minute lecture, and present it at Adam’s Music House in December 2018. Dr. Anthony Tobin, Music Director of Adam’s Music House, will coach and direct Enrique in his study and preparation of the performance. In addition to access to the Adam’s Music House archive of scores and books, Enrique will receive $3000 on completion of the project. Thanks to all who auditioned and showed interest in our first fellowship, we will offer more exciting projects in the future!

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Laredo Masterclass

The February 24th master class featured 5 students from the piano class of Fritz Gechter at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, TX. After lunch at Cenote Cameron, Tony Tobin worked with the following students and pieces:

Bach: Prelude & Fugue in C Minor (Bk I)

Sarah Romero-Chong

Mozart: Sonata in C Major, K. 545 (III)

Kimberly Garcia

Liszt: Valse Oublier

Paola Garcia

Mozart: Sonata in F Major, K. 332 (III)

Leslie Suarez

Scriabin: Etude in C-sharp Minor, Op. 42, No. 5

Orlando Reyes

The class was  great chance for the students to try out their pieces before juries and recitals and they all seemed to benefit from the comments and experience. After the class everyone went to Ramen Tatsu’ya for dinner.

The live video of the class can be watched here.

Tony Tobin will perform Book II of the Preludes by Claude Debussy April 6th at TAMIU in Laredo, Fritz Gechter will join him for Mozart and Brahms duets.

February Master Class

The master class Saturday, February 17th featured a great assortment of teachers and a warm and interested audience. The next master class, February 24th from 2-4PM, will feature six students from Texas A&M International University in Laredo, TX.

Anthony Tobin worked with the first four students February 17th. An adult student, Kamaryn Truong, played first and learned about the arabesque shapes in Claude Debussy’s First Arabesque.  We spent time working on arch-shaped phrases and breathing in this iconic piece.

Next Chanseung, a 5th grader, gave a very accomplished performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 6 Variations in G. We discussed how Beethoven develops the idea of theme and variation and tracked changes between the initial, simple theme and the rather complex material that follows. We also worked on 2 note slurs and classical 4 and 8 bar phrasing.

Another 5th grader, SeI Young,  gave a very energetic and well polished performance of Fantasy Dance Opus 124, No.5 by Robert Schumann. We worked on how to bring out the left-hand melody and achieve even greater dynamic contrasts. She discovered that when the right-hand accompaniment is softer it is much easier to voice the left-hand and control the dynamics.

Joao played a really fine Golliwog’s Cakewalk by Claude Debussy after only a few week’s study. We talked about humor and strong dynamic contrasts.

The last student to perform was my student, Chicheng Chang, who played the Scriabin Etude in d-sharp minor Opus 8 #12. I asked one of the teachers who brought students to the class, Melanie Washburn Richards, to coach him since she has played the piece before.  She made progress on his sense of line and dynamic control.

A valued colleague, Brooks Whitmore, came to Adam’s Music House for the first time when he attended the class. He has asked me to teach a class for his homeschooled music class and I would love to have him give a masterclass next season.

Thanks to all who joined us, we can’t wait for the next round on February 24th!
– Adam’s Music House Staff