Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst (1812-1865), Czech vioolvirtuoso and admirer of Paganini (!), wrote variations on 'The last Rose of Summer'. This is a poem of the Irish poet Thomas Moore (friend of Byron and Shelley!), inspired on a sort of rose named 'Old Blush'... The Last Rose of Summer has to be sung on a traditional melodie named "Aislean een Oigfear" (Young Man's Dream). Edward Bunting (Irish folksong collector), wrote the melodie down after a performance through harper 'Donnchadh Ó hÁmsaigh' at the 'Belfast Harp festival'. Poem and melodie are published in december 1813 (volume 5 of Moore's 'Irish Melodies').
'Tis the last rose of summer left blooming alone, all her lovely companions are faded and gone. No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh To reflect back her blushes and give sigh for sigh. I'll not leave thee, thou lone one, to pine on the stem, since the lovely are sleeping, go sleep thou with them. Thus kindly I scatter thy leaves o'er the bed Where thy mates of the garden lie scentless and dead So soon may I follow when friendships decay And from love's shining circle the gems drop away When true hearts lie withered and fond ones are flown Oh who would inhabit this bleak world alone? This bleak world
Niccolò Paganini is a composer of extremities. In the 4e caprice the slow introduction is written in c-minor (scale of 'lover who wants to take revenge'(!), Schubart said, music philosopher during the restauration beyond the France Revolution). After that, the first quick part is written in C-major (scale of simplycity). A bigger contrast is realy not possibly. Personaly I find that Paganini as composer has been underastimated,
the reflecting motives (a low note becomes high, ect.), the beautifull slow melodies with squeezing accords; dominant seventh chord (name says it still, dominantion), seventh chord (thrilling hesitation) and dissonant (a 'false' note, you could say), prove clear that Niccolò was a professional! Virtuosity of course is the most important capacity; the man was a natural as violonist, still it cannot be else, than that he during his tumultuous live, did study very well and hard.
Johann Sebastian Bach composed several 'Allemande' s. Allemande is the France word for 'German'. It is óne of the most popular instrumental forms of dance in baroque music and a standard part of an partita. Also in suites (cello-suites Bach) exsists the allemande. An partita consists out of several dances (more than four). A sonate has four parts and this parts emphasise there a tempo or a form (allegro, fuga ect.). This allemande is part of the Sonates and Partita 's for violin-solo from Bach. I play the piece 'authentic', that means 'inégale' (a bit jazzy, because people played it on that manner that time), with 'bellies' (long notes who grow in force to the middle and diminish; also grow in vibrato and then diminish), ect..
Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) composed opus 25 nr. 1 in 1922. It is een progressif and very interesting STOICAL work, the composition from a revolutionary you could say. A lot of chromatics passes by (half tone
distances; gives tension) and accords who solve different than what you expect. When I followed a masterclass, given through a France viola player, I got from him the score from which Hindemith was de owner, with his briefs! Hindemith writes there in the first part (the part I will play not this concert); Vrai debut (real begin); it begins apparently at least in the repeat from the 1e bar (this is bar 2) and; the third and fourth bar you have to play, play them with accel. (accelerando) and Rit. (Ritenuto; means play slower). A bit 'free making music' is apparently allowed(!) In Part 3 (Sehr langsam), what I will play still on the concert, is written, in a very soft passage; Senza Vibrato. This is Typical Hindemith, it allows you to play quite modern, that means without extreem vibrato ('to move the tone'); no 'schwärme-risch' (exaggerated) romanticism (!) Hindemith briefed this notes when he was 56.
Johann Sebastian Bach composed this Preludium as part of the third Suite for cello-solo.
Preludium means introduction and you have to play it improvising.
Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931) is member of the special Belgium violinschool, from which Charles Auguste de Bériot was the founder. Yehudy Menuhin (violinist last century) performed at ones Beethoven's violin concert for him. The violinist accompanied Yehudy a bit on the violin and Yehudy remembered himself especially the fantastic pizzicato (pluck tones) who enchanted Ysaÿe. The Ballade is a piece with a constant returning, gipsy-kind of, driving theme. First time hard, the next soft, at the end very hard. Chromatics (it means half tones after each other) gives the composition tension. Ysaÿe lived in the same time as Debussy, therefore he used near halve tones after each other (as I told), also whole tones after each other (e.g. in the slow introduction). There excists a rather naïve sphere, a bit Chinese.
Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst composed near The Last Rose of Summer i.a. also Erlkönig , an arrangement on the song from Schubert. It is the story of a very ill delirious child with his father on the horse, galloping to help. Erlkönig (Erlking, metaphor for the evil) is trying to bring the child on different kind of manners 'to get in his kingdom'. The passage in which this is happening is in the major scale, a form of optimism still... But optimism is in dit case only façade, false flattery, because the kingdom of the elfs means here the kingdom of death. Ernst solves this ambivalence through to use flageolettes ('flute tones'), soft sterile tones accompanied through tripplets (three notes every bar). This tripplets have an always important underlying role, imiginate actually the gallopping horse. The most important scale in this piece is d-minor, in combination with an always in the accompaniment returning run upwards, with three slower finish notes downwards; the imagination of threat. The song ends dramaticly. Translation:
Story-teller: Who rides, so late, through night and wind? It is the father with his child. He has the boy well in his arm He holds him safely, he keeps him warm.
Father: "My son, why do you hide your face in fear?" Son: "Father, do you not see the Elfking? The Elfking with crown and cape?" Father: "My son, it's a streak of fog." Elfking: "You dear child, come, go with me! (Very) beautiful games I play with you; many a colourful flower is on the beach, My mother has many a golden robe."
Son: "My father, my father, and hearest you not, What the Elfking quietly promises me?" Father: "Be calm, stay calm, my child; Through scrawny leaves the wind is sighing." Elfking: "Do you, fine boy, want to go with me? My daughters shall wait on you finely; My daughters lead the nightly dance, And rock and dance and sing to bring you in." Son: "My father, my father, and don't you see there The Elf-king's daughters in the gloomy place?" Father: "My son, my son, I see it clearly: There shimmer the old willows so grey." Elfking: "I love you, your beautiful form entices me; And if you're not willing, then I will use force." Son: "My father, my father, he's touching me now! The Elf-king has done me harm!" Story-teller: It horrifies the father; he swiftly rides on, He holds the moaning child in his arms, Reaches the farm with great difficulty; In his arms, the child was dead.
Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) composed, as said, opus 25 nr. 1 in 1922.
Part 5, Langsam mit viel Ausdruck (not Sehr langsam from the part 3 what I played before during this concert) is a beautifull piece; it let us show the viola in all her qualities. Modern expression, moving from soft till thundering hard!
Johann Sebastian Bach Bach wrote the Chaconne as part of the second Partita for violin-solo. A piece like a cathedral!
I play it this concert on the viola. The piece is a
d-minor composition, the dark, scale who is quite abounding. A Chaconne is a composition, from where the theme always will be variated on the same returning bass. Famous is the section with the arpeggio's; the striking over all the strings. Modulates from d-minor to Bes-major; undersigned is playing the minor scale here soft, increasing in volume when Bes-major appears; in the beginnig and after the section happenes the reverseble, what is more unusual. The chaconne has a tripartite bar from which the second beat often will be emphasized. It looks as if you are placed on the wrong leg, it sounds a bit anarchistic. Halfway the composition the piece modulates to D-majeur. Through the combination of the softness from caracter there, in a what 'lightening mood' (through this scale exsists), occures something what sounds miraculous. Valentijn M. de Wolf