Instrumentation: violin and piano
Duration: ca. 9′
Commission: Kyoto International Music Students Festival
Premiere: 27 May 2000, Kyotofuritsu Fumin Hall “ALTI” (Kyoto, Japan)
Score available upon request.
“Who wouldn’t want to take a free trip to Japan?” This was my response to being asked if I would like to be sent overseas as an envoy to the Kyoto International Music Students Festival, representing the Juilliard School. Especially considering that the trip would be paid for by the festival, and included a commission for a short piece for violin and piano to be played by Vesselin Gellev (currently of the London Philharmonic) and Eric Huebner (currently of the New York Philharmonic), two of the school’s brighter stars.
The resulting piece is a single-movement work, showy at times, melodious at others. At its core is a tune that I hoped would be accessible to an audience that might not be typical for new music. That tune, in fact, services the rest of the work, motives of which crop up in other, flashier parts. Acting as bookends are two sections of a decidedly French baroque flavor, albeit peppered with acrid dissonances now and again.
My choice of title stems from the tuneful, vocal nature of the inner section, as well as a desire to refer to the work’s archaic allusions. There is also an improvisatory manner expressed in much of the violin writing, especially during the cadenza that heralds the closing bars of the work. Canzona was published by the Rohm Music Foundation, which sponsors the festival.