Marleyn Bertoli Duo

by guest contributor Julie Berridge

On February 12, the Marleyn Bertoli duo comprised of Pianist Mauro Bertoli and Cellist Paul Marleyn will perform the compositions of Beethoven, the Russian Composers Alexander Glazunov and Rachmaninov and Canadian composer Chan Ka Nin.


The performance opens with A Le Chant du Ménéstrel, a tender lyrical piece by Alexander Glazunov who at the age of 11, produced his first composition. At the age of 14, he began studying with Rimsky-Korsakov, at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and by 16, he had completed his Symphony No. 1 which debuted in March 1882. At the age of 34, he became a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory.

Glazunov’s friend and mentor Rimsky-Korsakov was fired from the conservatory because of his liberal views after the revolution of February 1905, following which Glazunov resigned in support. However, after the October Manifesto of Nicholas II, new rights were granted to the conservatory and Glazunov was invited back.

In the years after the 1917 revolution professors appointed under the Bolshevik regime are said to have constantly disagreed with Glazunov, taking issue with his style of composition which they thought to be outdated.

Glazunov left the Soviet Union in 1928 for the Schubert centenary celebrations in Vienna and never returned. After touring Europe, he settled in Paris.


Beethoven composed his Sonata for cello & piano in A Major, Op. 69 between 1806 and 1808. This sonata is a melodic, joyful and sensuous tale told by a cello and piano in three movements. Here, both the cello and piano play an equal role. The piece opens with the cello’s lyrical melody, answered by the piano and throughout the three movements, this musical conversation between the two is played out with spirit, joy, passion and sensuality.

Beethoven published his first composition at age 11. Born in Bonn, he moved to Vienna in 1792 when he was 22 years old and made his public debut there in 1795. Around this time he published, Opus 1, Opus 2, three piano trios and three piano sonatas.

In 1801 Beethoven composed the Moonlight Sonata. In 1802, he started to lose his hearing. When he began writing Op. 69 in 1806, he was almost completely deaf. Between the time that he started to lose his hearing, and the time he had little or no hearing left, Beethoven composed the opera Fidelio, five string quartets, seven piano sonatas, six string sonatas and 72 songs. His Ninth Symphony was composed in 1824.


Chan Ka Nin is a Canadian composer whose compositions have been described as sensuous,” “haunting,” and “intricate”, reflecting both an eastern and western aesthetic.

Born in Hong Kong, he moved with his family to Vancouver in 1965. He studied composition with Jean Coulthard while pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of British Columbia. After graduating from UBC, he studied composition with Bernhard Heiden at Indiana University and subsequently obtained his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in music. He has taught theory and composition at the University of Toronto since 1982.

Professor Chan has won numerous awards for his compositions including two JUNO awards, the Jean A. Chalmers Award, the Béla Bartók International Composers’ Competition in Hungary, and the Barlow International Competition in the United States. In 2001 he won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Musical for his opera Iron Road, which he co-wrote with librettist Mark Brownell.

On Soulmate, the piece performed by Marleyn and Bertoli, the program notes from Professor Chan’s site say,

Soulmate is taken from the composer’s Ontario Arts Council commissioned work for the Guelph Spring Festival in 1995, Poetry On Ice, which is music written for figure skating. The piece describes two people who accept each other beyond love and affection. Their understanding is subtle, mutual, and wordless, like a pair of dancers on ice. The unending melody depicts their graceful florid movement as well as their voices from their heart.


Sergei Rachmaninov was a composer, pianist, and conductor. Born in Russia in 1873, he died in Beverley Hills, California in 1943. His music is thought of by many as the last link between 19th century romanticism and 20th century modernism.

Rachmaninov was influenced and encouraged by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov (Glazunov’s teacher) as well as by Russia’s folklore and the music of the Russian Orthodox Church. His music is noble and rigorous.

Rachmaninov graduated from the Moscow conservatory in 1891. At the age of 19, prior to graduating, he had completed one of his best known works, the “Prelude in C Sharp Minor.

Rachmaninov enjoyed not only artistic but financial success in the years before the 1917 revolution. After the 1917 revolution, he fled to America with his family, and began an extremely lucrative career as a concert pianist.

Rachmaninov completed Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19 in 1901. The work has four movements. Rachmaninov thought that the name of the piece did not do it justice since it was a work that gave equal voice to the cello and piano. The piece was therefore often referred to as “Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano”.

Join us for the concert on February 12, 2015


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