Scenes for Violin


The keystone of the first two scenes is the fear of the unknown destination, metaphorically and literally. In this realm, my compositional vision was to write a piece of powerful, raw gesture and rich color, pushing the instrument to its technical limits. The form of the first movement is based on the alternation between sections describing the patient’s suffering and my thoughts of the end, the harmonics. The elusive pitch material, without aiming at dominating the listening experience, serves this foreground of gestures, sounds and colors.

Specifically, in the Scene from A Patient’s Bed, the high-pitched harmonics that follow the microtonal opening describe the fear that the weak heart of the patient will eventually stop. They were inspired by the sound of the heart monitor by my grandfather’s bed. As I experienced it, my confused thoughts mixed with an approaching feeling of relief for the end of the pain seemed to be well-represented by the physicality, the struggle of finding the same ethereal-but-hard-to-reach harmonic on different nodes and strings.

As mentioned above, the Scene opens with a section of glissading microtones from where motifs of neighboring whole tone - semitone nature emerge, within a chromatically saturated musical space. These motifs “develop” or reoccur over different drones, with effects such as long trills, glissandi and different bowings.
The pizzicati and strumming of strings near the end of the piece describe the irony of running out of voice and strength; the classical forte G major chord is a forced attempt to sing a happy, triumphant harmony. The movement ends with the pensive high harmonics once again, embracing the unknown.

Credits

Performer: Linnaea Brophy (amplified)
Artwork: Vassilia Harlafti