The Kostov-Valkov Duo
Lachezar Kostov, cello | Victor Valkov, piano
Darius Milhaud "Elegie"
Francis Poulenc "Sonata for Cello and Piano op.143"
Erick Satie "Four Pieces for Violin and Piano" (trans. for cello and piano)
Nadia Boulanger "Three Pieces for Cello and Piano"
Igor Stravinsky "Suite Italienne for Cello and Piano"
Admission to the concert is $15 for MFAH Members and $18 for nonmembers. For an enhanced experience, guests may view the exhibition Picasso Black and White immediately prior to the concert, from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. Tickets for the combination are $25 MFAH Members and $38 nonmembers. Tickets are available at the "Get Tickets" button above (printed needed to print out ticket), by phone at 713.639.7771, or in person at any MFAH admissions desk.
Click here for single tickets and combo packs.
About the Program
In the early 20th century, two cities rivaled each other as the artistic capitals of Europe: Vienna and Paris. Unique to the artistic life of both was the incredible amalgam of painters, composers, writers, and philosophers working and living in close proximity. In Vienna, the names included Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, Wassily Kandinsky, Gustav Klimt, and more. In Paris, the fame of Igor Stravinsky and Pablo Picasso surpassed almost all others.
It is no coincidence that Stravinsky and Picasso soon came to work together on a project that included the legendary ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev—the same one for whom Stravinsky wrote his revolutionary “Rite of Spring” in 1913, and forever changed the course of classical music. In 1920, Picasso and Stravinsky collaborated on the ballet "Pulcinella"—another seminal work of the Russian composer set in a new, “Neoclassical” style. Picasso designed all the costumes and the stage sets. “Suite Italienne” is an extract of several pieces taken from the "Pulcinella" score, and was transcribed for this ensemble by the composer himself, with the assistance of cellist Gregor Piatigorsky.
In the lineage of Erik Satie, Darius Milhaud, and Francis Poulenc, one can follow the extraordinary development of French music, and its distinct and interesting “rebellion” against the dominance of German composers such as Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern. Picasso worked with all three composers.
Satie’s short pieces are simple, yet charming works that exude optimism and show the composer’s unique vision of what classical music should be. Milhaud’s “Elegie” is a rarely performed work, and its revival is long overdue. Poulenc’s “Cello Sonata op. 143” is one of the true masterpieces in the repertoire and epitomizes Poulenc’s style—light-hearted, yet deep; serious, yet melancholic; new in style, yet sounding familiar. The sonata challenges the boundaries of both instruments.
Picasso’s friendship with these men was so strong that he painted portraits of them. Today his black-and-white portraits of Milhaud, Poulenc, Satie, and Stravinsky are probably the most well-known images of these composers.
About the Performers
Bulgarian musicians Lachezar Kostov and Viktor Valkov have appeared together for more than 10 years at concert venues in the United States and Europe. In 2008 they recorded the entire music for cello and piano by Nikolai Roslavets, released as their first commercial CD in 2011. After a critically acclaimed debut at Carnegie Hall in 2009, the duo has received high accolades for their inspired and unique performances. At the 2011 Liszt-Garrison International Competition, they won first prize, the overall Liszt Prize, and all special prizes.
Community Partner: Houston Friends of Chamber Music