If You Love for Beauty (2019)
Commissioned by the Chelsea Music Festival
Premiered June 11, 2019
Robert Fleitz, piano
Members of the Chelsea Music Festival
Ken-David Masur, conductor
If You Love for Beauty is a piece commissioned for the 10th anniversary of the Chelsea Music Festival. Reflecting upon the momentous career of the exceptional romantic pianist and composer Clara Schumann, it was inevitable to be moved by her role as a female musician in the 19th century. As a contemporary female composer from Korea, studying Schumann’s life was an essential and significant path for me—it led me to a perspective in which I closely reevaluated my work and what it meant to be outside the status quo. I felt it was necessary to honor and dedicate this piece to her work, as well as interpret her artistic ideas into mine. To do this, I incorporated and quoted the form and melodic ideas from Schumann’s lyrical and ornate Liebst du um Schönheit. In contrast to my usual rhythm driven work, this composition for piano and strings is focused heavily on melody and harmony, and is embellished with florid texture and drama. Recognizing the sound and spirit of Schumann’s oeuvre, If You Love for Beauty resonates with a vibrant and romantic mood.
– Nicky Sohn