DSE Artist Feature: Charles Abramovic, piano

Charlie photo artist featureDSE: How are you spending your time during this period of cancelled concerts and at-home isolation?

CA: I have been very busy with online teaching, online meetings, and supervision of our keyboard department at Temple with the transition to remote instruction.

When things calm down, I hope to finish reading Wallace Stegner’s “Big Rock Candy Mountain” and reread some of his other novels (“Angle of Repose”  “Crossing to Safety”  “Joe Hill” ) that I enjoyed in the past. We revisit music all the time, so it will be nice to do the same with literature.


For listening, I am going to try to get through all the Shostakovich symphonies that I do not know. Recently I became very excited about his last one, No. 15, which is quite astonishing. There are about nine more that I have never heard, so now is a good time to do this.

Plus lots of dog walks!

DSE: Please share your thoughts on Bach’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in A Major, BWV 1055, our latest DSE video release. To listen, click here.

CA: The slow movement is in F sharp minor, and has a beautiful section in A Major that is quite special. This change from minor to major is certainly not uncommon in Bach or other composers. But in this movement the move to major creates a sense of celestial peace. One of the great visual representations of the emotional contrast of minor to major appears in the famous “twilight” scene from Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona.” A section of the slow movement from Bach’s E major Violin concerto is used, being heard on a radio by a patient in a hospital. At the point when the music turns to major she turns towards the radio and then the light dims. A remarkable scene.

Click here to watch it.

Bergman’s loved classical music and he uses a variety of works by numerous composers in his films.  I find that after seeing some of these films my sense of these works is changed. I cannot hear the slow movement of Schumann’s Piano Quintet without remembering the remarkable accompanying images in Bergman’s  “Fanny and Alexander,” and the emotional world created in that film.