Jiang Violin Duo - The Music

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The Music of Ysaye, Rozsa, Noon, Paganini/Bednar
JDT 3032

The Jiang Violin DuoEugene Ysaye: Sonata a Deux Violins
Poco Lento-Maestoso, Allegro Fermo
Allegretto Poco Lento
Allegro Vivo e Con Fuoco

Miklos Rozsas: Sonata for Two Violins
Allegro Energico
Lento Assai
Vivo Giocoso

David Noon: Simple Suite for Two Violins

Paganini/Bednar: Caprice No. 24
Theme and Variations

Sound Samples:
Track 8.
Real Audio | Windows Media
Track 10.
Real Audio | Windows Media

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Program Notes

Eugene Ysaye was one of the most beloved violinists in history. He was also a prolific composer, who wrote the famous Six Unaccompanied Violin Sonatas, as well as numerous violin sonatas, and pieces for violin and orchestra.

The Sonata For Two Violins, composed circa 1914, is a unique example of the great violinist's work. Ysaye intended to dedicate it to Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, a skilled violinist. However, he didn't realize until after he had completed the sonata that the Queen could not master its technical difficulties. Out of respect for the Queen, he arranged the first movement as a String Trio, nicknamed "The London Trio."

The Sonata For Two Violins, written in three movements, represents all the compositional styles of Ysaye, including romanticism, great virtuosity, and even a bit of impressionism. The first movement is in sonata form. It opens with a slow introduction, and a fugue appears in the middle section. The second movement is a fantasy with improvisational passages and impressionistic influences. The last movement, in rondo form, contains every fiendishly difficult challenge imaginable technique. The two violin parts are equally matched.

Hungarian born Miklos Rozsa is best known as a Hollywood film composer, who has won several Oscars for his film scores. Even so, Rozsa has always considered himself a classical composer. His compositional output is small but extremely well crafted.

Rozsa's sonata, circa 1930, expressing a strong Hungarian influence, was dedicated to the noted Hungarian conductor, Eugene Ormandy. It is written in three movements. The first is written in the standard sonata form. The second explores a delightful Hungarian folk song. And the third movement closes out this remarkable sonata with a fiery Hungarian rhapsody.

American composer David Noon first heard the Jiang Duo in concert at the Manhattan School of Music in 1994. He was so inspired by their artistry that he wrote a special composition for them, entitled Simple Suite For Two Violins. This charming work consists of four short dance-like movements, entitled caccia (hunt), mini-minuet, litany (prayer) and gigue. It reflects a strong neo-classic flavor.

There are many famous arrangements of Paganini's 24th Caprice, including those by Brahms, Rachmaninov and Kreisler. This is the first and only arrangement for two violins, written by Professor Stanley Bednar of the Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Bednar took the original part and added an identical line. The two violinists not only have to manage their own individual parts, they also have to be in absolute unison to sound like one person. (It helps to be identical twins!). The piece is enormously challenging but is always fun for both performers and audience.

This recording is the first original complete version of the Ysaye sonata. It also marks the world premieres of Miklos Rozsa, David Noon and Paganini-Bednar.


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