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Feb. 20, 2004

ULM Faculty Artists Series Continues with Violin and Piano works by Bach, Mozart and Others

Dr. Christopher Thompson, in collaboration with Dr. Richard Seiler, both members of the University of Louisiana at Monroe music faculty, will perform Monday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Biedenharn Recital Hall on the ULM campus. This recital is presented as part of the Faculty Artist Series at ULM. Admission will be $7.

Thompson will open the first half of the recital with the "Chaconne" from "Partita No. 2" of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The "Chaconne" is the fifth movement of a five-movement work. The "Chaconne" alone is 13 pages long (the equivalent of 26 pages of a solo piano score) and is performed from memory since it is solo-unaccompanied literature.

"The 'Chaconne', because of its ponderous length, is frequently performed alone without performing the previous four movements which total only 4 pages of violin music. At 257 measures in length, it is not only one of the truly monumental works of the solo violin repertoire, but also one of the most significant works of this genre from the entire Baroque Epoch (1600-1750)," said Thompson.

"It is comprised of a theme (or melody) and concurrent harmonic progression of eight measures in length. The theme is then followed by 31 variations, which constitute a virtual catalogue of every known variant of articulation in violin bow technique, contemporary with the date of its composition in 1717. The technical and musical demands exacted of the violinist in a performance in the 'Chaconne' are extreme. The musical creativity demanded of the soloist is inherently at peak levels in any extended variation form, of which the 'Chaconne' is a supreme example. Also, the skill in executing prolonged passages in which two (and in many cases three) notes must be performed at one time demands the control of pitch with virtually no margin for error." Thompson also says challenges of pitch control increase exponentially as the process of the performance progresses.

He goes on to say that the violinist must perform a full 15 minutes with no break. Thompson says, "This creates the crisis manifested in the issue of- where does one stop to tune? The answer is: you do not. Over time violinists have gradually identified two locations in the piece in which it is possible to actually tune the instrument without stopping - and the audience is never the wiser."

Another composition to be included on this recital is the "Adagio in E Major, KV 261" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). For the Mozart, Thompson has composed his own cadenza, which he has fused with a section from a cadenza written by Joseph Joachim for a different work.

The duo will also perform the "Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Opus 100 of Johannes Brahms". The recital will conclude with a performance of " It Ain't Necessarily So" from Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin, arranged for violin and piano by the late Jasha Heifetz. For more information, call 318-342-1570.

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