commentary to opus 78
Suite for Violin solo op. 78 (1982)
III. Metamorphoses beginning
Duration: 19 Minutes
Publisher: N. Simrock Hamburg-London (Boosey & Hawkes) EE 2941 | ISMN M-2211-0843-2
Video: Hummel on youtubeLadies and Gentlemen,
After the masterpieces written for solo violin by J.S. Bach, Max Reger and Belß Bartˇk, it is a somewhat risky undertaking to once again deal with this genre of composition. In more recent times, there have been several attempts to reach new shores - starting from the instrumental alienation that is so common in the avant-garde. There have also been attempts to achieve a personal statement with traditional instrumental treatment. To say it in advance, I have opted for the latter possibility.
The Suite for solo violin was composed in 1982 at the suggestion of Joshua Epstein, to whom the work is dedicated.
The three movements Fantasia, Burlesque, Metamorphoses are briefly described:
Fantasia: The arioso style of the beginning - with a baroque phrase - as well as the interval e'' - b'' appear again and again in the course of the movement. Unchanging sequences of notes, their possible inversions and transpositions are evolved in a chain of variants. In the extreme pp, the movement ends with the three-stroked b.
The Burlesque brings a restless, virtuoso element into play. Thoughts from the 1st movement are taken up again and incorporated into the structure of the movement.
In the 3rd movement Metamorphoses, additional tonal material is introduced to that already present. Rhapsodic and recitative-like sections contrast with rhythmically accentuated sequences. In its summation of the material, this 3rd movement forms, as it were, the development of the two preceding movements.
The next 18 minutes will show how far I have succeeded in making the listener understand what I have just described.
Bertold Hummel (concert introduction, Munich 29.10.1985)
The "Suite for Solo Violin" op. 78 was composed in 1982 at the suggestion of the violinist Joshua Epstein, to whom this composition is also dedicated.
Deutsche Tagespost, 21st March, 1987
Joshua Epstein is the soloist in the Suite fŘr Violine solo, op. 78, which is also dedicated to him. It builds on earlier models, principally Johann Sebastian Bach. Reger, Hindemith and Prokofieff all profited from the already far advanced virtuosity of the performers' technique. Hummel has given the violin its due: he understands the sounds available and the technical reserves and exploits them effectively, filling them with musical impulses whose brilliance is appreciated by Epstein.