Press-Republican

Out & About

October 3, 2013

A taste of Spain

SARANAC — Pianist Martin Söderberg showcases composers of his native Spain at Hill and Hollow Music’s Sunday-afternoon concert, “A Musical Journey Through Spain.”

Söderberg, of Swedish and Spanish descent, has performed since he was 12 and made his recital debut in Las Palmas, Spain. After winning first prize in the 1985 “Pilar Bayona” International Piano Competition in Zaragoza, Spain, he concertized extensively in Europe, China and the Americas. In 1988, he won the Artists International Auditions in New York and was presented his recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Hall.

In Sunday’s program, Söderberg presents Spanish composers’ finest and best-loved piano music.

“As a child, I listened to this music and fell in love with this music,” said Söderberg, who has recorded three CDs — “Piano Music from Spain,” “Piano Music of Rafael Landestoy” and “The 24 Chopin Etudes” — as part of his ongoing recording project, “World Piano Collection.”

“All my teachers back in Spain would give me pieces of these composers,” he said. “When I came to the United States to study 25, 27 years ago, I realized that was part of the repertoire that was not very well-known. I enjoy playing these programs now just to make it better known to the public. It’s not known to the level it should be.

“It’s baroque music. It has a lot of different colors to it. It’s piano music for all kinds of audiences, for someone who wants to listen to music.”

Söderberg will begin his musical journey with three brief sonatas by Antonio Soler (1729-1783). His most celebrated works are his 150 keyboard sonatas. Soler, who hails from the Catalonia region near Barcelona, straddles the baroque and classical periods.

“He was a pupil of Domenico Scarlatti,” Söderberg said. “This music is much modeled after Scarlatti, music conceived for the harpsichord. It requires a little bit different touch with the modern piano, a very light touch on the keys, very Baroque so to speak with the different treatment of the piano like the harpsichord.”

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