Composer Work Year
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Fantasia in F-sharp minor, H. 300 1787
Toru Takemitsu Rain Tree Sketch 1982
Rain Tree Sketch II 1992
Claude Debussy Nocturne, L. 82 1892
Samuel Barber Ballade, Op. 46 1977
Johannes Brahms Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5 1853

About the Artist

Praised by the Washington Post for his sparkling, highly musical playing, pianist Christopher Goodpasture has established himself as a musician of refined style. The Toronto Concert Review described his playing as a “rare combination of strength, energy and sublime musical sensitivity…matched by a heavenly sense of melodic line”. His imaginative approach to programming reflects a penchant for unusual repertoire and narrative that is both unconventional and provocative. He has performed recitals in concert venues throughout North America, including the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), Benaroya Hall (Seattle), Koerner Hall (Toronto), Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, Weill Recital Hall (New York), Bing Concert Hall (San Francisco), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Recent and upcoming orchestral appearances include concertos with the Sioux City Symphony, The Oakville Symphony, Northumberland Orchestra, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra of New York. Among his forthcoming projects is an album to be released on Yarlung Records entitled Pollination, an exploration of sound world and atmosphere seen through the eyes of composers including Bartók, Janáček, Debussy, Haydn, Takemitsu and Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe.

From a young age, Christopher developed a keen interest in collaboration and now is a sought-after chamber musician, having played for and collaborated with a number of noted musicians. He has appeared as a fellow in Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, in the intensive chamber music program of David Finckel and Wu Han in Aspen, at the Music Academy of the West, and in the festivals of Kneisel Hall, Sarasota and Banff. Among his collaborators are members of the Takacs, Ysaye, St. Lawrence, Amenda, Guarneri, and Tokyo String Quartets. Christopher’s work with pianists Seymour Lipkin, Joseph Kalichstein, Robert Levin, Claude Frank, Leon Fleisher and violinists Pamela Frank and Sylvia Rosenberg has left a meaningful impact on his work as a chamber musician.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Christopher’s formal training began at the Pasadena Conservatory, where he enrolled in theory, chamber music, and for four years, composition with award-winning American composer, Andrew Norman. He continued his studies with Stewart Gordon and John Perry at the University of Southern California and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Christopher holds graduate degrees from Yale University and The Juilliard School, where his teachers included Hung-Kuan Chen, Peter Frankl, Jerome Lowenthal and Christopher Elton.

About the Music

The year 1853 witnessed a confluence of major musical events, including the publication of Liszt’s B minor piano sonata. Wagner was beginning to work in earnest on the music for the Ring cycle. It was the last year in which Robert Schumann was active as a critic and composer before his final mental breakdown. Late in that year, the young Brahms famously arrived on the Schumanns’ doorstep with some of his music in hand, including what we now know as the first two piano sonatas.

A third sonata, in F minor, was not completed at the time, and was finished in Düsseldorf while he stayed with the Schumanns. Brahms submitted it to Schumann for consideration shortly after the latter had written “Neue Bahnen”, a journal article that proclaimed Brahms as the next great musical voice.

The sonata is a tremendous work in every sense, and Brahms’s largest single composition for solo piano. While following some precedents of the first two sonatas and combining aspects of both, it is much larger in scope, with a broad, unusual five-movement design and, in the case of the second and final movements, codas of almost overwhelming weight.

The second movement is incredibly diverse, using four tempo markings, five meters, and, most remarkably, ending in a different key center from the one in which it began. Brahms headed the movement with the opening lines of the poem “Junge Liebe” by Otto Inkermann:

Der Abend dämmert, das Mondlicht scheint, Da sind zwei Herzen in Liebe vereint Und halten sich selig umfangen.

As the pale moon gleams through evening’s shade, Two hearts are fondly beating While rapt in love’s ecstatic dreams.

The sonata has a strong claim as the greatest since Beethoven. Its only close rivals are the late Schubert sonatas and the Liszt B minor. And with that, Brahms was finished with the genre that launched his career.

(Adapted from notes by Kelly Dean Hansen and Wikipedia)