Performers: Kristel Birkholtz (violin) Michael Watt (piano)
Kristel and Michael have collaborated for a second time on this album "The Sea in Spring". Following a series of successful live concerts with an overwhelming demand from audiences for this unusual repertoire the performing pair decided to record the program. Both Kristel and Michael are vibrant and adventurous young performers, currently completing their MMus degrees at Wits University; and each have extensive experience in live music performance. The duo met whilst studying music at Wits and have performed together on numerous occasions. They seamlessly blend their love of classical and contemporary music into a well-rounded and highly enjoyable program. The duo has recently collaborated on another CD releases under Cherry Pill Music, entitled “Burning Bridges” .
1. Mozart: Violin Sonate in B flat K 378
-Allegro Moderato-Andantino sostenuto e cantabile-Allegro
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 –1791) always learned voraciously from others, and developed a brilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate—the whole informed by a vision of humanity "redeemed through art, forgiven, and reconciled with nature and the absolute". Till, Nicholas (1994) Mozart and the Enlightenment: Truth, Virtue and Beauty in Mozart's Operas, W. W. Norton & Company, p. 320.
Mozart captures a light and graceful mood throughout this sonate.
2. Miyagi: The Sea in Spring (Haru no Umi)
Michio Miyagi (1894 -1956) was a Japanese musician, famous for his koto playing. He lost his sight in 1902, when he was 8 years old, and started his study in koto under the guidance of Nakajima Kengyo II. He dedicated the rest of his life to music and particularly the koto.
This descriptive piece inspired by the sounds of the shakuhachi and the koto, originally written by Miyagi for flute and piano. The work opens with a quiet dawn scene over a calm sea. Gradually the waves begin to play and frolic as daylight grows, only to return to a calm stillness at dusk.
3. Bacewicz: Sonate Da Camera
-Largo- Allegro- Tempo di Menuetto- Andante Sostenuto- Molto Allegro
Grażyna Bacewicz (1909 -1969) was a Polish composer and violinist. In 1928 she began studying at the Warsaw Conservatory, where she initially took violin and piano classes, and graduated in 1932 as a violinist and composer. She continued her education in Paris, having been granted a stipend to attend the École Normale de Musique, and studied there under the guidance of Nadia Boulanger. At the same time she took private violin lessons with Henri Touret. Later she also left France in order to learn from the Hungarian violinist Carl Flesch.
After the war, she took up the position of professor at the State Conservatory of Music in Łódź. At this time she began focusing her musical activity towards composition, tempted by her many awards and commissions. Composition finally became her only occupation in 1954 after a serious car accident.
4. John Williams: Theme from ‘Schindler’s List’
Known primarily as a film composer, John Williams has scored E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial and Saving Private Ryan amongst others. His score for Schindler’s List (1993) won four Academy Awards. Williams has written various concert works including seven concertos.
5. Kreisler: Praeludium
Fritz Kreisler (1875 –1962) was an Austrian-born violinist and composer; one of the most famous violinists of his day. He is noted for his sweet tone and expressive phrasing. Kreisler wrote a number of pieces for the violin, including solos for encores.Some of Kreisler's compositions were pastiches in an ostensible style of other composers, originally ascribed to earlier composers such as Gaetano Pugnani, Giuseppe Tartini, and Antonio Vivaldi. Kreisler revealed in 1935 that the compositions were actually written by himself. The Praeludium is one such example. Kreisler initially attributed the authorship to Pugnani, later revealing the work to be his own.
6. Francoeur : Unaccompanied Violin (Rondeau and Gai)
François Francoeur (1698 – 1787) was a French violinist and composer,born in Paris, the son of Joseph Francoeur, a basse de violon player and member of the 24 violons du roy. Francoeur was instructed in music by his father and joined the Académie Royale de Musique as a violinist at age 15. He travelled and performanced in the principal European culture centres, returning to Paris as a member of the Concert Spirituel. He held many important musical positions in France.Francoeur was appointed to the 24 violons du roy in 1730; music instructor to the Opera in 1739; and (with François Rebel) Opera Inspector, in 1744. In 1753 Rebel and Francoeur took over management of the Paris Opera,which was a centre point for French music. In 1760 Francoeur was appointed Music Master to the King.
Francoeur has been describes as a "Classical-era" composers who avoided the "classical style of Haydn and Mozart".
7. Thula Thu’ (Traditional Arr by K Birkholtz on Tin Can Violin)
A traditional South African lullaby adapted for the violin. In this arrangement, the mbira (hand piano) is imitated on the violin to set the mood of a rural village. The lullaby is played as a set of variations, imitating the caregiver singing to the child, the father whistling the tune on his way through the night, and the joyful mother on her return in the morning.
A translation of the Zulu lyrics:
Hush, hush, child
Hush, mother is coming in the morning
There is a star guiding father
Lighting up the way for him.