Cyprus Mail

Power to the people, musically speaking

By Maria Gregoriou

Now here’s a rare treat: an hour-long tour de force, and a piece which is very seldom performed live. It has often been described as the Diabelli Variations of the 20th century. It consists of 36 variations on a theme, the popular, song ‘El pueblo unido jamás será vencido’ (The people united will never be defeated), which originated in the New Chilean Song movement of the 1960s.

Written in 1975, the work was a direct protest against the Fascist coup two years earlier that overthrew the government of Salvador Allende, and also represented a hopeful gesture of solidarity with those who continued the struggle against all odds. This is a profoundly expressive and soulful work and its extremely virtuosic piano writing is extraordinary, covering a myriad of styles. The theme’s 36 variations are in the style of the avant-garde of the day including George Crumb, Philip Glass and Pierre Boulez but also of older masters such as Beethoven and Chopin. They all musically symbolise the different stages of a struggle – anger (modernism), melancholy (blues), planning (heavy polyphony), nostalgia (folk tunes), freedom (jazz).

The work will be brought to life by Robin Green, a young pianist who enjoys a busy career as a soloist, chamber musician, conductor and ensemble pianist. His first CD, Dialog mit Mozart, with the Austrian violinist Daniel Auner, released on the Gramola label, was Editor’s Choice in the December 2014 issue of the Strad Magazine.

Green has performed recitals in many of the world’s most important concert venues including the Wigmore Hall and the Vienna Musikverein. He has appeared in festivals such as the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, IMS ‘Open Chamber’ Festival at Prussia Cove, Festival de Radio France et Montpellier and Le Jardin Musicaux Festival. Recent concerto highlights include directing a performance of Poulenc´s Aubade from the piano with the European Union Youth Orchestra and the Martinu Double Concerto with Sinfonia Cymru and Camerata Nordica. Together with the pianist Antoine Françoise, Robin is part of the multi-award-winning Françoise-Green Piano Duo.

As a chamber musician, Green has collaborated with renowned soloists and ensembles, including the Cavalieri String Quartet, members of the Zehetmair quartet, the Rambert Dance Company and the Mercury Quartet, where he is a guest conductor. As an ensemble pianist, he has appeared with the Orchestre National de Radio France, the Aurora Orchestra and Nouvel Ensemble Contemporain. Robin Green has studied at the Royal College of Music in London and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, and he is currently a piano professor at the Royal Academy of Music.

The People United Will Never Be Defeated
The Pharos Arts Foundation presents a concert with pianist Robin Green. October 11. The Shoe Factory, Nicosia. 8.30pm. €10. Tel: 22-663871

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