The music of Dimitry Kabalevsky has had a big influence on me both as a student and teacher. The first work of his I learned to play was The Clown, a comical and indecisive caricature of a piece that every beginner pianist will recognize. I fondly remember learning his 24th prelude from op. 38 in the first year of my undergrad. This work barrels ahead like an industrial tempest but subsides in the closing section as the sun peaks its head out. Among my other favourite Russian composers such as Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich and Scriabin, Kabalevksy has influenced me greatly as a composer and it’s no surprise that soon after starting this funny waltz it seemed only fair to dedicate it to him.
With snow flakes dancing in the air the 2019 Christmas Recital at Harcourt United Church in Guelph kicked off with a bang. The furious Cavalry Gallop by Dimitry Kabalevsky launched out of the gate and got things rolling. It turned out to be a recital of many firsts, with four players of varying ages performing for their very first time. The budding performers played the nursery rhythm favourites Old MacDonald and Are You Sleeping?, as well as a Gavotte by Handel and Christopher Norton’s After the Battle.