'Violin Project: New Pieces for Violin Solo'
'Violin Project: New Pieces for Violin Solo' (Universal Edition, $34.95)
Looking for something off the beaten track? Try these nine solo violin pieces, most of them by up-and-coming composers, but also including the renowned names Arvo Pärt, Aleksey Igudesman, and Ennio Morricone of film score fame.
“Applemania” by Aleksey Igudesman is a jazzy double-stopped romp with alternating time signatures to keep the player on his toes, and movie man Morricone’s “Fantasia breve” delivers enough violinistic challenges to keep you home practicing for the day. Pärt’s “Estländler” is in his signature minimalist style, but meaty enough to display warm, singing tone and eerie special effects: sul pont, glissandi, and pizzicato.
At 32, British Luke Bedford is Wigmore Hall’s first-ever composer-in-residence. Influenced by Stockhausen and Xenakis, his “Vivo” explores harmonics and three-quarter and quarter tones, pushing the tonal boundaries. Italian contributor Salvatore Sciarrino’s “Capriccio on one string” offers a modern-day Paganini piece on the G string with whispering pianissimos and sul tasto for the desired scurrying, murmuring effect and rises imperceptibly in pitch. Be prepared to stay near the top of the fingerboard before disappearing into infinity. Cristóbal Halffter offers “Balada,” a charming duet for two violins, easy enough for intermediate students.
Finally, Johannes Maria Staud’s “Elastic Study” offers long, drawn-out glissandi and time changes reminiscent of Szymanowski.