The violin-piano duo of Véronique Mathieu and Stephanie Chua bring to Calgary an all-Canadian program including a world premiere performance of a new piece by Calgary-based composer Lesley Hinger.
Gradual Erasures for violin and piano (2016) – Adam Scime
Gradual Erasures program notes
Extasis for violin & piano (2012) – Alice Ping Yee Ho
Notes on Éxtasis
Éxtasis is a Spanish word describing the state of “ecstasy” or “rapture”. As the title suggests, Éxtasis by Alice Ping Yee Ho (b. 1960) is spontaneous and highly elaborated, and meant to be a “show piece” for the violinist’s virtuosity and musicality. The thematic materials of this composition are built on fast rhythmic figures that emphasize the interval of fifths, also constantly outline the tonal areas which based on the open strings of the violin. The slower enigmatic middle section depicts the “altered ego” or “trance” of Éxtasis; it is an imaginary conversation between two voices created by alternating reflective passages of string’s harmonics with miniature runs on high register. The music continues in high energy, which brings the rhapsodic and capricious nature of the composition to a climatic conclusion.
Alice Ping Yee Ho is an award winning Canadian Chinese composer acclaimed for her “distinctive voice” and “organic flow of imagination”. AH
Cherry Beach for violin, piano & field recordings (2016) – Brian Harman
Notes on Cherry Beach
Coming To for violin & piano (2011) – Christos Hatzis
Notes on Cherry Beach
cute, meaningless for violin & piano* (2017) – Lesley Hinger
Notes on cute, meaningless
kyüt: childish, youthful, delicate; obviously straining for effect (M-W); clever or cunning, especially in a self-seeking or superficial way (OED)
This piece explores an ethereal (vapid) and fragile (weak) aesthetic, but like, definitely keeps in mind that order to be taken seriously, one mustn’t be too cute.
The title also draws from visual artist Scott Reader’s “Alternative Titles for Recent Exhibitions I’ve Seen” (2016, pastel on canvas). – LH
Adagio for violin & piano (1996) – Heather Schmidt
Notes on Adagio
Adagio for Violin and Piano by Heather Schmidt (b. 1975) was written in New York in June 1996. It was premiered in Prague at the Dvorak Museum by Scott St. John and Heather Schmidt in August 1996. Scott St. John has nicknamed this piece The Mermaid’s Lament, in reference to a hidden theme from one of Scott’s favorite movies. The theme is scattered and buried in fragments throughout the movement, and is not recognizable in any way in its original form. The piece is written in a free form with musical materials continually evolving and developing. The overall atmosphere is one of darkness and despair.
Heather Schmidt’s career spans performances, broadcasts, commissions and awards in Canada, the United States, Russia, France, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, England, Cyprus, Mexico, Brazil, and the British West Indies. – HS
Danza from Tre Pezzi per Violino e Pianoforte (1997) Maria Molinari
Notes on Danza
Inspired by the works of Prokofiev and Stravinsky, Danza is the first movement of Maria Molinari’s Tre Pezzi per Violino e Pianoforte. Premiered in 2003 by acclaimed violinist Moshe Hammer and pianist Mark Widner, this is the work’s first commercial recording.
Active as a composer for the concert stage, dance and film, Maria’s concert works have been premiered by symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles and ballet companies while her film work has screened internationally and has been featured in award winning films at celebrated festivals including New York’s Tribeca Film Festival. Maria is a graduate of the University of Toronto where she studied composition with Dr. Alexander Rapoport as well as the University of Southern California where she studied film scoring with iconic film composers Elmer Bernstein, Leonard Rosenman and David Raksin. – MM
Fragments (2002, rev. 2005) – Derek Johnson
I. Motto I. Star Music
II. Motto II. A song of sorts
III. Motto III. Blues for Anton
IV. Motto IV. Fantasy
V. Motto V. Liquidation
Notes on Fragments
Fragments by Derek Johnson (b. 1974) brings together a series of short character pieces originally intended for other projects. The 1st and 3rd pieces (Star Music and Blues for Anton) were first envisioned as solo piano pieces, while the 2nd and 4th pieces (A song of sorts and Fantasy) were written respectively for soprano and violin (to a poem by William Carlos Williams) and mixed quartet (clarinet, violin, cello and piano). In re-imagining these pieces for violin and piano I had the unique opportunity to edit, re-arrange and re-compose them knowing from the start what my “raw-footage” was. As a result, I approached the project from a rather “cinematic” point of view. I’m continually fascinated by the visceral and cognitive power of film, and am eager to incorporate the techniques used in that medium (foreshadowing, use of perspective, various methods of editing) to tie together (and sometimes to un-tie) the unified and disparate elements in my own composition. Thus, my truncated little character pieces have become the protagonists in a “short film” (of sorts) without picture, played-out by two instrumentalists on the stage and cut together using a reoccurring and evolving motto in the form of the opening piano gesture and sonority. Below is a “shot-list” with thoughts and descriptions of the pieces to help the audience both gain and loose their bearings in the cognitive and viscerally charged act of listening.
Motto I 1. Star Music – How it thinks to look at the stars, interrupted by how it feels.
Motto II 2. A song of sorts (w/o words) – the hidden text revealed: Let snake wait, under his weed, and the writing be of words. Slow, and quick, sharp to strike, quite to wake. Sleepless. (William Carlos Williams)
Motto III 3. Blues for Anton – A nocturnal ostinato underneath wide “Webern-ian” intervals. A blues for one of my favorite stargazers.
Motto IV 4. Fantasy – A slow opening unfolds a harmonic background that is later repeated with fast music superimposed above it. Though the tempo changes and the content is elaborated, the slow harmonic background, or frame, retains its original speed and proportion.
Motto V: liquidation