In her “Unity” program, Rachel Lee Priday offers an invigorating inquiry into the ideas of unity, communication, and balance between individual forces. Each of the pieces on this program suggests ways in which musical works can reflect the human relations that concern their creators—through instrumentation, collaboration, and musical cryptograms that convey secret messages.
Opening the program is the F-A-E Sonata, a unique collaborative work by Schumann, Brahms, and Schumann’s pupil Dietrich, and dedicated to their friend Joseph Joachim. Embedded into the structure of each movement are the initials of Joachim’s personal motto, “Frei aber einsam” (“free but lonely”). Moving to the 21st century, Marcos Balter’s Re: No Subject exudes extreme virtuosity for both violin and piano. Korean-German composer Isang Yun’s Königliches Thema for solo violin, written in 1976, is a take on Bach’s Musical Offering: a reflection of Yun’s Taoist philosophy wherein equal and opposite yin/yang forces unite in balance and harmony. Treating Bach’s theme as a twelve-tone row, the work seeks to bring together Baroque and modern techniques, as well as Eastern and Western modes of composition. Finally, the program culminates in Beethoven’s towering “Kreutzer” Sonata, a tour de force which combines the utmost passion and virtuosity from each individual instrument, pushing the sonata form to almost become a concerto for both violin and piano. Such passion and drive toward (perhaps illicit) unity inherent in the Kreutzer Sonata was enough to inspire Tolstoy’s novella. In “Unity,” the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Works to be performed on the “Unity” program include:
Schumann/Brahms/Dietrich, F-A-E Sonata
Marcos Balter, Re: No Subject
Isang Yun, Königliches Thema for Solo Violin, after “The Musical Offering” by J. S. Bach
Beethoven, Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 “Kreutzer”