February 2016 Newsletter

April 11: Festival Presents Triple Medal Pianist

Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Pianist Anne-Marie McDermott

The Bellingham Festival of Music will present violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott in a high intensity recital, April 1, 2016 at 7:30 PM in Western Washington University’s Performing Arts Center. As frequent collaborators, the violinist and pianist have been praised by the New York Times as muscians who bring considerable energy and emotional rawness to the music at hand…” “…they listened to each other and were committed, expressive performers.” In addition to sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms, and Faure, the frequent collaborators will play Arvo Pärt’s haunting Spiegel im Spiegel, in honor of the composer’s 80th birthday. The two performers will also present a lecture-demonstration focusing on an aspect of their program at 11 AM—12 noon on the day of the concert. The free event in Room 16 of the WWU Performing Arts Center is open to the public and students. Tickets for the concert are $45, $35, $12 for students, and $25 for WWU staff and faculty.  They are available through Western Washington University Box Office, 360-650-6146 or online.

The complete program for the Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg Anne-Marie McDermott concert follows:
BEETHOVEN Sonata No.2 in A Major, Op. 12, No.2
BRAHMS Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100
PÄRT Spiegel im Spiegel
FAURE Sonata in A Major, Op. 13

Program
Spiegel im Spiegel
Composer Arvo Pärt

Composer Arvo Pärt

Spiegel im Spiegel was written in 1978 just prior to Pärt’s departure from Estonia, where he had been a thorn in the side of the Soviet music apparatchiks. A composer who had tried out all the various 20th Century idioms, Pärt in 1976 “turned inward discovering a new, radically simplified language. Tabula Rasa was one of the first products of this style, which came to be called “tintinnabuli,” after the Latin word for bell. In its basic form, it involves the interweaving of two voices, one of which moves by melodic steps while the other rotates through the pitches of a major or a minor chord,” according to Alex Ross.

“Spiegel im Spiegel” in German literally can mean both “mirror in the mirror” as well as “mirrors in the mirror”, referring to an infinity mirror, which produces an infinity of nbsp;images reflected by parallel plane mirrors: the tonic triads are endlessly repeated with small variations as if reflected back and forth. The structure of melody is made by couple of phrases characterized by the alternation between ascending and descending movement with the fulcrum on the note A. This, with also the overturning of the final intervals between adjacent phrases (for example, ascending sixth in the question – descending sixth in the answer), contribute to give the impression of a figure reflecting on a mirror and walking back and towards it.

Read Alex Ross’ article, The Rest is Noise

Such pure, spiritually inflected work has struck a chord, providing, as critic Alex Ross points out in his book The Rest Is Noise, “oases of repose in a technologically oversaturated culture.” “He is a composer who speaks in hauntingly clear, familiar tones, yet he does not duplicate the music of the past. He has put his finger on something that is almost impossible to put into words—something to do with the power of music to obliterate the rigidities of space and time. One after the other, his chords silence the noise of the self, binding the mind to an eternal present.” “Finally, in 1976, he turned inward, discovering a new, radically simplified language. “Tabula Rasa” was one of the first products of this style, which came to be called “tintinnabuli,” after the Latin word for bell. In its basic form, it involves the interwea2ving of two voices, one of which moves by melodic steps while the other rotates through the pitches of a major or a minor chord.

Despite its otherworldliness, it has been embraced by popular culture and has been used in the soundtracks of no less than 20 films by such directors as Jean-Luc Godard, Guy Ritchie, Gus van Sant, and Mike Nichols. It’s been choreographed and danced by Christopher Wheeldon and Pilabolus; been used in theatre productions such as Sara Ruhl’s Eurydice. And it’s been used in television programs as diverse as the BBC’s Touched by Auschwitz and The Simpsons. Composed in 1978, just prior to Pärt’s departure from Estonia, Spiegel im Spiegel is one of the earliest works in the composer’s newly conceived style, which he calls tintinnabular, after the Latin word for “bell.”  A radically stripped down technique, the style is described by critic Alex Ross as “the interweaving of two voices, one of which moves by melodic steps while the other rotates through the pitches of a major or a minor chord.” The effect is ethereal, shimmering, meditative, producing what Ross calls “oases of repose in a technologically oversaturated culture.” Pärt, Ross has written, “has put his finger on something that is almost impossible to put into words—something to do with the power of music to obliterate the rigidities of space and time. One after the other, his chords silence the noise of the self, binding the mind to an eternal present.”

Vol. 2016, No.1


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April 30, 2016

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For info call (360) 201-6621


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