MICHAEL HERSCH (b.1971): 14 Pieces for Unaccompanied Violin, The Wreckage of Flowers for Violin and Piano, 5 Fragments for Unaccompanied Violin.
Catalogue Number: 12M084
Description: Both the 14 Pieces and The Wreckage of Flowers take the inspiration for their brief, aphoristic movements from fragments of poetry; of Primo Levi in the one case, and Czeslaw Milosz in the other. Both sets of texts share a sense of desolation, and both contain powerful imagery of nature. In the solo violin Pieces the composer illustrates the various moods and images of the words with a compendium of violin techniques - largely avoiding extended methods, but making great technical demands nonetheless. Abrupt gestures - some quite tonal, others decidedly not - decay into silent voids; lamenting melodies alternate with violent chordal playing; virtuoso filigree gives way to sombre meditativeness. The result is a highly expressive, quasi-programmatic series of images. The generally more somber Milosz pieces are similarly evocative, with eerie shadings of violin tone, while the piano part interacts with the violin in brusque clusters or in dialogue that can be complementary or confrontational, according to the poetic context. The little Fragments have no accompanying text, but heard in the context of the other works with their evocative vividness, they seem to imply imagery and narrative of their own. Miranda Cuckson (violin), Blair McMillen (piano).