“What makes this concert unusual is that it’s a concert for four-hand piano, with both of them playing on the same instrument,” said Glenn Eernisse, associate pastor of music and worship. “That adds a different sound and means they have to work very closely together. They’ll be playing a real variety of music that will appeal to people of different ages and tastes. It should be enjoyable for most anyone.”
The concert will be Feb. 10 at 3:30 p.m. at the church on Dixie Street.
Betty Smith and George Mann have performed numerous piano recitals in the past, beginning in 1975 with a spring concert of the West Georgia College choir and a 1977 duo-piano recital that featured Milhaud’s Scaramouche. In 1992, they performed together for the Georgia Music Teachers Association state conference, more recently, in 2011 at the dedication of a new sanctuary piano at Carrollton First United Church. They have been broadcast on WABE Radio in Atlanta on the “Music Scene.”
Smith is a native Georgian who has lived in Carrollton since 1962. She has appeared numerous times in the Southeast and midwest as a piano soloist. She is a Professor Emerita of Music, having retired from the music department at the University of West Georgia after 30 years of service. Her principal teacher was the late Edwin Gerschefski, who studied with both Tobias Matthay and Arthur Schnabel.
Smith received her master of fine arts degree in piano performance from the University of Georgia. She has held state offices in the Georgia Music Educators Association and the Georgia Music Teachers Association. She received the Master Teacher Certificate in recognition of outstanding achievement in the fields of piano performance and pedagogy from the Music Teachers National Association.
She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity and has been honored three times by the group’s national executive board for outstanding service to the fraternity.
Smith is a member of the Lit-Mu Club in Carrollton and has performed many times for that organization. She retired as pianist for Tabernacle Baptist Church in December 2010 after 38 years of service. She has a varied repertoire at her command, including music of the masters, as well as sacred hymn arrangements.
Mann received the bachelor of music and master of music degrees from the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati, where his principal teacher was the late Herbert L. Newman.
In 1971, Mann joined the faculty of Kansas State College of Pittsburg and came to West Georgia College in 1974, where he was professor of music until his retirement in the spring of 2003. He currently teaches in his home studio in Lithia Springs.
Mann was selected as the 2007 Georgia Music Teachers Association “Teacher of the Year.” A recipient of the Master Teacher Certificate from Music Teachers National Association, Mann has had several students receive recognition in various piano events.
He has presented many piano workshops and master classes and is frequently asked to judge various piano competitions. Mann has performed widely as solo recitalist, accompanist, and chamber music participant.
In the fall of 2007, Mann won the composition contest sponsored by the Episcopal Church Diocese of Atlanta for his congregational mass celebrating the centennial of the diocese. His mass was sung at the Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, at the closing ceremony of the centennial year in November, 2007.
Mann is director of music at St. Julian’s Episcopal Church in Douglasville.
The Feb. 10 concert by Smith and Mann will include these selections:
• “Canon in D” was originally scored for three violins and basso continuo. The canon remained forgotten for centuries and was rediscovered in the 20th Century. Today, it is the most famous composition by the German composer Johann Pachelbel.
• “Sonata in G Minor” is by Austrian composer Ignace Pleyel, a student of Franz Joseph Haydn. One of the best known musicians of his time, he was also a music publisher and piano manufacturer. Pleyel wrote a large number of piano duets, all of which are skillful and idiomatic arrangements of his own chamber music.
The sonata to be performed on the Feb. 10 program was originally written as a work for two violins.
• “Legends” is a cycle of ten pieces originally composed by Antonin Dvorak for piano duet and later arranged by the composer for a small orchestra. Many of Dvorak’s compositions were directly inspired by Czech, Moravian and Slavic folk music. These duets reflect his heritage and the love he had for his native land.
• “Three Dances, Op. ,” is from Ethelbert Nevin, a popular composer of light music. Like many American musicians of his day, her received his basic training in the United States and then went abroad for further study as both pianist and composer.
• “Three Hungarian Dances,” is by Johannes Brahms. He was born in Germany and lived most of his life in Vienna, Austria, he had a lifelong fascination with Hungarian (Gypsy) music. His twenty-one Hungarian Dances for piano duet are good examples of this interest. These dances were well received in Brahms’ time and proved quite profitable for the composer.
• “The Japanese Sandman” is a song from 1920 about a sandman from Japan who exchanges yesterdays for tomorrows. The song was recorded in 1920 by The Paul Whiteman Orchestra and sold more than two million copies. It was used in a number of films in the 20th century and most recently appeared in 2010 in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.
• “Qui Vive” is one of six pieces written for piano duet by German-born Wilhelm Ganz, who settled in London as a youth and became a British subject. A violinist, composer and conductor, he directed the New Philharmonic Concerts from 1873. The galop is a lively country dance which was popular in Europe in the 19th century.