For: violin and piano
violin and piano
This work was commissioned by Carnegie Hall and written for Tessa Lark.
The World Premiere was given by Ms Lark and Roman Rabinovich
in Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York City on February 2, 2017.
Tessa’s background is from Kentucky, which brings a fresh approach to her classical playing. In addition to that inspiring starting point, I wanted to write music that would give a platform to her warmth, bountifulness; her bouquet of musicality. Starting with the characteristic sound of détaché bowing (each note gets its own bow stroke; it is non-slurred) —a primary feature of fiddle playing, also found in jazz violin performance, and, of course, has an historical precedent in Baroque music—I wanted to join that technique with a harmonic vocabulary which would be considered unmistakably American (with some French overtones…but then there is a direct relationship between harmonies Ravel used and certain strains of jazz). I thought the title would give a nod to something common and shared by Kentuckians. In fact, she enthusiastically revealed to me when we first read through the piece, there is a Spoonbread Festival that takes place near her hometown that brings tens of thousands of people together every year. The movement titles, Cornmeal, Milk, and Eggs, for the fast-slow-fast structure of the piece, are the key ingredients found in every spoon bread recipe.