STILL LIFE WITH VIOLIN


Instrumentation:
Violin, full orchestra: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 Bb clarinets, 4 horns, 3 Bb trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, 2 percussion: [1 - vibraphone, bass drum, wood block (medium), suspended cymbal, tambourine, snare drum], [2 - orchestra bells, marimba, tam-tam (large), suspended cymbal, snare drum, temple blocks], strings

Duration: 13 min

Commissioned By:
Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Vail, Colorado, The 13th Season, 2000

Premiere:
Pamela Frank, violin, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Christopher Seaman, conductor, in Vail, CO

Available From:
Oxford University Press, rented by C.F. Peters

Composer's Notes:
There is something pure and unattainable about the beauty of strings, in particular solo violin.  It is unlike any of the other orchestral instruments.  The violin, capable of speaking and singing in human range, takes the spirituality that humans can only express in their vocal range and carries that spirituality beyond breath, beyond range, and almost beyond comprehension.
 
Bach knew this.  His works for strings and voice, such as his “Aus liebe will mein heiland sterbe,” from the St. Matthew Passion, or any of his unaccompanied suites for strings, demonstrate his sublime understanding of where the voice stops and the instruments take over, all to express the infinite and immortal range of the soul.
 
Still Life with Violin is like a Turner painting—it is an impressionist’s struggle to paint the violin with orchestral color.  It is as if the painting is experienced from 2 perspectives: close up, and from across a space, as if viewed through a constantly active zoom lens.  My purpose is to invite the listener to listen closely to the beauty of the violin as an instrument within an orchestral palette and at the same time to breathe in and deeply feel the power of the violin to speak beauty.
 
To rent this piece, please visit C.F. Peters.


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