2006-08 SOLO VIOLIN PROGRAM: "SOLILOQUY"

J. S. BACH
(1685 - 1750)

Partita, E major, BWV 1006 (1720)
   Preludio
   Loure
   Gavotte en Rondeau
   Menuet I and II
   Bourée
   Gigue

NICOLÒ PAGANINI
(1782 - 1840)

Caprices, M.S. 25, op. 1 (ca. 1805)
   No. 14, E-flat major
   No. 13, B-flat major
   No. 16, G minor

INTERMISSION

ANDREW IMBRIE
(1921-2007)

Soliloquy (1998)
   (written for Janet Packer)

EDMUND RUBBRA
(1901 - 1986)

Variations on a Phrygian Theme, op. 105 (1961)

DARIUS MILHAUD
(1892 - 1974)

Sonatine Pastorale (1960)

Program Description

From the graceful and spirited dances of J.S. Bach to the finest music of our own time, Soliloquy, a program of music for solo violin, celebrates the extraordinarily expressive power of music created for the solo violin over the last three centuries by composers in five countries.

The program opens with the E-major Partita (c. 1720), the most high-spirited of the three partitas that J.S. Bach wrote for solo violin.  The scintillating Preludio is followed by a sequence of dances in French style, ranging from the noble to the earthy.  This masterpiece utilizes the resonance of the violin’s highest string, E, to brilliant effect. 

To conclude the program’s first half, three Caprices (c.1805) by Schubert’s contemporary, Nicolò Paganini, display the virtuosity coming into vogue in the early nineteenth-century.  These musical gems demand not only an extraordinary technique but also the ability to recreate the elegance and charm of the period. 

Following intermission, audiences will have the rare opportunity of hearing Andrew Imbrie’s Soliloquy (1998) performed by the work’s dedicatee.  This thirteen-minute work of intense lyricism is the only composition for solo violin by the 85-year-old American master, whose music has been praised for its “profound integrity, ardent expression, and intense drive and conviction.”

Variations on a Phrygian Theme was composed in 1961 by Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986).  A harmonically conservative work for its time, the twelve variations generate, in less than seven minutes, a remarkable range of moods and instrumental colors, culminating in a bravura ending.

The printed program concludes with the lovely four-minute Sonatine pastorale (1960), a late work of Darius Milhaud.  This musical bon-bon, infused with French lightness and clarity, ends with a Gigue, as did the Bach Partita which began the program.

Just as an actor delivers a soliloquy expressing his character’s innermost thoughts and feelings, the solo violinist, alone on stage, must communicate through her instrument the spectrum of emotions unique to each musical work she performs.

Program Notes

J. S. Bach: Partita, E major, BWV 1006 (1720)
Nicolò Paganini: Caprices, M.S. 25, op. 1 (ca. 1805), #14, #13, #16
Andrew Imbrie: Soliloquy (1998)