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I have been playing piano almost my entire life. It started as my first approach to music, and has allowed me to connect with so many other aspects of music that I love (chamber music, composition, latin music, improvisation…) I have been fortunate enough to tour around the Canadian Prairies performing solo piano recitals, as well as presenting a lecture in Serbia and participating in international summer festivals around the world as a pianist. I obtained my Master of Music in Piano Performance in 2016 studying with Alexander Tselyakov at Brandon University.

Piano Concerto no. 5, S. Prokofiev - Luis Ramirez
Luis Ramirez

Piano Concerto no. 5, S. Prokofiev - Luis Ramirez

Concerto no. 5, op. 55 -Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) I. Allegro con brio (0:05) II. Moderato ben accentuato (5:22) III. Toccata: Allegro con fuoco (9:22) IV. Larghetto (11:22) V. Vivo (19:18) Luis Ramirez, piano Everett Hopfner, orchestra Brandon University Lorne Watson Recital Hall November 6th, 2015 Sergei Prokofiev’s 5th Piano Concerto op. 55 is divided into 5 movements, and although not the most popular of his five piano concertos, it has all the potential and quality to be a favorite. It was composed in 1932, and when it premiered in Berlin the same year with the composer at the piano it was not well received. This could have been because Prokofiev had started to look for a “new simplicity” in this work, only to find out that “...this new simplicity with its novel forms and, chiefly, new tonal structure, was not understood…”. Nevertheless, it was this exploration for simplicity that led Prokofiev to compose some of his most emblematic and beloved works, such as Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the wolf, and Cinderella. It could be argued that his experimentation with this concerto was the conception of the sound that is most representative of Prokofiev in today’s orchestral repertoire. One of the most interesting things about this concerto is that each movement by itself manifests each of Prokofiev’s five fundamental styles that he identified in his own works, these being classical, grotesque, toccata, lyrical, and modern. Therefore, this concerto is almost like a synopsis of Prokofiev’s musical language. In mov. I, Allegro con brio, one can listen to the classical influence; the music is structured in a sonata form, and despite its angularity, it requires the clarity and sobriety of a piece by Mozart or Haydn. A wide-leaping athletic theme built with risky hand-crossings all over the place appears three times, and throughout the movement the music almost feels like sharp brushstrokes on a canvas. Mov. II, Moderato ben accentuato, contains some of the iconic sarcastic and grotesque sounds that he was known for at the beginning of his career. With cheeky glissandos and a meandering melody almost alluding drunkenness, this movement is rather humorous and whimsical. With the same theme as the first movement, mov. III Toccata: Allegro con fuoco is a fast, acrobatic reinterpretation of this initial theme. Despite its brevity, it stands out by its complex difficulty, with the characteristic nonstop rhythm and virtuosity of his toccatas. It is until mov. IV, Larghetto, where we finally get into a slow tempo. Prokofiev’s lyrical genius is present throughout it, not only in the soft, poignant sections, but also in the incredibly powerful and obscure middle section. This is nothing short of being one of the most dramatic moments in all of Prokofiev’s music; enormous leaps, lengthy melodic lines, and a pounding rhythmic pulse that soars into a thunderous climax, where the composer completely pours his heart out. The V movement, Vivo, shows the acute camouflage of Prokofiev’s modernism. Its construction is still with clear melodic lines, but his unique sound is created by consistently juxtaposing and clashing these ideas to one another. Near the end, a playful march gradually accelerates, transitioning from idea to idea with no warning whatsoever. This condensed accumulation of sounds continues growing until the very end, where a final G major chord establishes the tonality of this musical kaleidoscope. Luis Ramirez. Originally from Aguascalientes, Mexico, Luis started playing the piano when he was 6 years old. Since then he has played as a soloist in most of the cultural venues of the city. He has also performed in different states of Mexico and in other countries, including Serbia and Italy. Luis has performed many times as soloist or accompanist and is particularly passionate about chamber music. His main piano instructors have been Alain del Real and Alexander Tselyakov. He started his Bachelor studies at the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes, but in 2012 he won a full scholarship to study at Brandon University in Canada, where he obtained his Bachelor in Music with major in Piano Performance in 2014. He is currently pursuing two Masters degrees at Brandon University in both Piano and Composition, under Alexander Tselyakov and Dr. Patrick Carrabre respectively.


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