Lewis & Clark College Presents
Unencumbered, Nearly Infinite?
Coco Bender, Senior Piano Recital
Saturday 16 April | 7:30 pm
Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Portland, Oregon


First Published on Apr 21, 2016


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Frédéric Chopin

Joseph Haydn

Samuel Barber

Maurice Ravel

Frédéric Chopin


French Suite No. 5 BWV 816
Between 1717 and 1720, Johann S. Bach composed The French Suites, including No.5. They are the second set of dance suites that Bach composed, the English Suites being the first. Despite being called a French Suite, Suite No. 5 in more Italian in style and structure following the Italianate Baroque dance suite form, which has four core dances that are specific in their style: the Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue. Bach adds extra dances to complete the seven movement suite: a Gavotte, Bourée, and Loure.

Etude, Op. 12 No. 10 "Revolutionary"
Frédéric Chopin composed the "Revolutionary" Etude in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1831. Chopin composed this etude in response to hearing the news of the seizure of his beloved Warsaw, Poland, by the Russians in the November Uprising of 1830.

An Etude is a study focused on refining the technique of the pianist. The "Revolutionary" Etude focuses on furioso lefthand movement. This piece is full of strife and passion as illustrated by the percussive right hand motifs and the constant left hand runs. The "Revolutionary" Etude is in C minor, however, it ends on a C major chord giving the audience a sense of harmonic and emotional ambiguity of the conclusion.

Sonata No. 53 in E minor XVI: 34
Joseph Haydn composed Sonata No. 53 XVI: 34 in 1784, but beyond that there is little known about its history. It is one of the few Sonatas that Haydn composed in a minor key. The first movement, Presto, is the most original part because it is in sonata form and 6/8 time, a rather odd combination for Haydn's writing and writing of the classical period. The second movement, an Adagio with calculated right hand movement accompanied by a almost non­existent lefthand line, is attaca to a rondo finale. The finale is titled 'innocentemente,' however, it is not innocent and instead is subtle and unassuming with a driving Alberti Bass.

Composed in two chunks by Maurice Ravel, Sonatine's first movement was written in 1903 for a contest that was not completed due to the sponsor going bankrupt. Ravel then finished the final two movements to publish the entire work in 1905. This piece is often described as neo-classical despite it being composed nearly a decade before the boom of musical Neo- classicalism.

The first movement, modéré, is composed in sonata form with two contrasting themes that reappear in the later movements. The second movement, in 3/8 time, is reminiscent of a waltz, while the third movement flies by in a whirl of sixteenth note passages which should be played without mercy. Throughout this entire work, Ravel focuses on the interval of a descending fourth, which emulates a sigh.

Excursions, Op. 20
Commissioned by a long term friend and vocalist Jeanne Behrend, Samuel Barber started Excursions in 1942 and completed the set in 1944. Each movement of Excursions revolves around a different American style and/or tune. This piece is the only instance in which Barber quotes American idioms in his compositions.

The first movement is based on the blues and is Barber's idea of a boogie-woogie. This style of music is percussive, rhythmic, and often quick in tempo. The left hand uses an ostinato while the right hand improvises and adds color to the top voices.

The third movement was composed in 1944 as the last instalment of the four movement piece. It is based on the sentimental cowboy tune Streets of Loredo, written by Frank H. Maynard but performed by many country and western singers, which can quite easily be heard as the melody in the right hand.

Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23
Frédéric Chopin published in Ballade in G minor 1836. It is dedicated to the Hanoverian Ambassador to France, Baron von Stockhausen, who was a favored student of Chopin. Ballade comes from the word balada, which means a dance or dancing, however, before Chopin's time the term specifically referred to vocal music. Essentially, Chopin created the Ballade genre of instrumental music when he composed his four ballades.

The Ballade in G minor was inspired by a reading of four poems by the Polish patriot Adam Mickiewicz. The poems entitled Konrad Valenrod are a narration of multiple battles between pagan Lithuanians and the Christian Knights of the Teutonic Order. The frequent tempo changes and contrasting melodic and rhythmic lines creates an emotional intensity that draws the listener into the story of the religious battle field.

Coco Bender, born and raised in Eugene Oregon, is currently a senior at Lewis & Clark College in the piano studio of Susan DeWitt Smith. She will be receiving her Bachelors of Arts in Music Performance in May 2016. Coco is currently working in arts management for Portland Piano International and is an avid nanny. She participates in the Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Band/Chamber Orchestra on piccolo and flute. She also is part of an all woman circus, Girl Circus, as both the pianist and an occasional MC. Coco likes to walk for hours contemplating the existence of humans and misses the sound of the ocean. She also enjoys spending time with her cats, her friends, and her cat friends.

I would like to thank Susan Smith for being a beam of light and pushing me to grow, my parents for supporting me unconditionally, my brother for laughing with and at me, and my friends and family who I love with all my heart. Special thanks to Bailey, you noble and majestic land mermaid–Micahel, you kind listening jazz cat–and Sierra, you biking viking of delight.

Thank you to Eddie Barksdale, Bonnie Auguston, Susan Nunes, Oswald Hyunh, Nora Beck, Brett EE Paschal, Yoko Greeny, and the music faculty.

The title of this recital is taken from "Baby" by Mark Levine. Photos and openning graphic design by Eddie Barksdale (Class of 2013).

Four channels of audio and two cameras were used to produce this recording.

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