“Rhapsody for Violin and Piano (2005, revised 2010) is a work of restless energy; there is a constant ebb and flow as the instruments pass ideas from one to another. Added into the mix are sudden character changes, as well as a planned underlying progression from atonality to tonality and back. One other important element of the piece is its conception as chamber music, that is, music to be performed in a relatively small space. Both the instrumentation and musical gestures support this intimate approach.” LK
Rolf Schulte, violin, Marc Ponthus, piano
Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance
Mannes College of Music, NYC, June 19, 2005
Commissioned by the Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance through the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University
Miranda Cuckson, violin, Steven Beck, piano, Leonard Nimoy Theatre, NYC, Feb. 19, 2013
The Rhapsody for violin and piano plays with our perceptions of tonality, placing a passage that clearly references tonal structures at the work’s center (with a recollection at the close that brings the piece to rest). Again, there is a playful element to this music, with instruments chasing each other like over-dissonanced kittens; but there is real beauty, too. Credit should go especially to Miranda Cuckson’s expressive and consistently accurate playing.
The line has a continuity and phrasing that recall the human voice, and it isn’t hard to imagine it as an aria for soprano. It’s a virtuoso piece breathtakingly played by violinist Miranda Cuckson and pianist Steven Beck.