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Arches for solo violin (2000)
Commissioned by Chee-Yun and Spoleto USA
Premiere: Seoul Arts Center, Korea 2000
Commissioned by Chee-Yun and Spoleto USA, Arches was premiered by
Chee-Yun at Seoul Arts Center, Seoul Korea in October 2000. In its
alternation between caprices and arias, the work moves between the
poles of virtuosity and lyricism throughout. The title was suggested
by the symmetrical form of the piece
(CapriceAriaCapriceAriaCaprice) and by the key scheme which
supports this symmetry and the many arch-like figures that arise. The
only pause in the work occurs after the first Caprice.
I. Caprice. This movement, whose influences are both Baroque and
Appalachian in nature, begins innocently enough and continually
accelerates to a very fast tempo. It was inspired by a scene from the
film The Red Violin (scored by John Corigliano) in which a young prodigy
is pushed by his teacher to play an etude faster and faster until he is
pressed to the absolute limit.
II. Aria. As a means of contrast to the busy first movement, this one
begins very high and soft. It uses a melody to which I later added
piano to create and encore (Air for violin).
III. Caprice/Intermezzo. This movements scherzando quality contrasts
the heaviness of the two surrounding arias. It features effects like
glissandi, pizzicato chords, and even left hand pizzicato.
IV. Aria. An abbreviated return of the melody from the second
V. Caprice. The first music I came up with, this movement features the
arpeggiando technique which involves the violinist moving the bow
quickly up and down over all four strings of the instrument. This leads
to a return of the material from the first movement and a very virtuosic
end to the piece.