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Vestida de mar (2019)
Violin Concerto


22 minutes


In 3 movements

I. As I Ebb’d with the Ocean of Life (Duration: 8 minutes)

II. Rapa Nui (Duration: 7 minutes)
III. El mar danzante (The Sea Dances) (Duration: 5 minutes)

Commissioned by the Lakes Area Music Festival and the Greenwood Music Camp.

Premiered by Francesca Anderegg, violin conducted by Gemma New and the Lakes Area Music Festival. Additional performances by Ms. Anderegg and the Greenwood Music Camp Orchestra, conducted by Ben Rous.

Francesca Anderegg, Violin

Lakes Area Music Festival. Gemma New, Conductor

Program Notes

When I started working on this concerto, I was planning a workshop performance in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, a peninsula that sticks out into the Pacific Ocean. I wanted to take inspiration from the natural beauty of the surroundings, and I wanted the piece to relate to the Pacific Ocean in some way. As usual, when I start working on a new piece, I go to Latin American literature. In this case, I found inspiration in Pablo Neruda's Canto General: a compendium of poems that describes the flora, fauna, culture, geography and history of the Americas. I was taken by the three poems that Neruda writes about

Rapa Nui (Easter Island), and its relationship to the ocean. I wanted each movement of the concerto to relate to one of the oceans that surround the American continent: the oceans here are a loose metaphor for aspects of the American experience.

I. As I Ebb’d with the Ocean of Life (Duration: 8 minutes)
The title is derived from the opening line of Walt Whitman’s poem. This movement is a representation of the Atlantic Ocean and its significance in the culture and thinking of the North American continent.The violin begins alone with some uneven arpeggios, only to be joined by other solos. The texture shifts and a quicksilver melody emerges, but before one can grab hold of it, it sinks back down to the depth only for other fragments to rise to the surface. After an intense climax, the violin plays a frantic cadenza before disappearing once more into the dark, deep sea.

II. Rapa Nui (Duration: 7 minutes)
The next movement follows the previous one without a pause. As though through a wormhole, we travel from the Atlantic coast to the middle of the Pacific ocean in its primordial ooze. Neruda’s poem describes the imposing moai statues and the wondrous sights found in the remote island. The music depicts this landscape and the ancients statues found in it. The violin spins a melody that feels like it could have been sung centuries ago, the orchestra provides commentary and atmosphere to create an haunting, yet intimate musical picture.

III. El mar danzante (The Sea Dances) (Duration: 5 minutes)
For this finale, we travel to the Caribbean Sea. This movement embodies the hybridity so characteristic of this region. The music begins with a chorale that sounds like it could have been written in Europe in the 17th century (in fact, the harmony owes a debt to the Rosary Sonatas of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber). When we get to the cadence, the rug is pulled from under us, and a (somewhat modified) Cuban montuno interrupts the proceedings. The two musics take turns interrupting each other. A Cuban danzón emerges in the middle section before it is itself interrupted by a European waltz.The movement is a cheeky perpetual motion, where we experience the bewildering essence of what it means to be from the Caribbean: a vibrant, at times uneasy mixture of Europe, the Americas, and Africa. The music continues to alternate between streams and styles before reaching a rousing finale.



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