Strata : violin with piano
by Gerald Glynn (1994)
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Strata for Violin and Piano was composed in 1994 and is in three separate movements, or strata. "Stratum 1" is the most strictly layered, the most abstract of the three. At first, the violin is firmly anchored to its lowest notes on the G string, while the piano plays in the extreme treble and bass registers. Then the violin begins a slow ascent with repeated, chromatic double stops and having reached a zenith, there is a brief dialogue with the piano, before it begins a descent which is just as inexorable and implacable as the ascension was. Logically, it concludes the movement where it began, on a long, sustained low G with a gentle piano commentary.
"Stratum 2" is considerably freer and faster moving, with a vigorous dialogue between the two instruments. The opening gesture is heard several times and there are some quiet lyrical passages before the inevitable return to writing reminiscent of "Stratum 1", with the violin playing long, low notes beneath piano arpeggios.
"Stratum 3" offers a synthesis of the preceding movements, with the same energetic dialogue, some repetitions and passages where the violin sings and sustains in its highest register. It then resumes its descending, chromatic double stops, and finishes, of course, on its lowest G, held implacably beneath softer and softer piano arpeggios.
Instrumentation: Violin, piano.
Duration: 16 min.
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