Classical Music | Violin Music

William Bolcom

Violin Sonata No. 2  Play

Kate Carter Violin
Louise Chan Piano

Recorded on 09/07/2016, uploaded on 04/15/2017

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

I.      Summer Dreams
II.     Brutal, fast
III.    Adagio
IV.     In Memory of Joe Venuti

William Bolcom’s Second Sonata for Violin and Piano, written in 1978 for violinist Sergiu Luca, was premiered by Mr. Luca and the composer the following year. Luca’s interest in American jazz violin styles, particularly that of swing violinist Joe Venuti, is evident throughout the piece, particularly in the use of slides that are notated in the score.

Written in four movements, the piece alternates between the jazz and blues-influenced style of Venuti and a more jagged, atonal style of writing. The first movement, titled “Summer Dreams,” opens with a classic 12-bar blues in the piano, overlaid with a lyrical, but unexpectedly atonal, line in the violin. This is interrupted by a starkly contrasting middle section, indicated “rhythmic and playful,” before returning to the opening groove. The second movement is a furious argument between violin and piano, though not without a kind of brusque, suspenseful humor. The reflective third movement provides quasi-improvisatory material for the violin, leading up to an intense climax and concluding with a tranquil, chorale-like theme that leads attacca into the fourth movement, titled “In Memory of Joe Venuti.” This movement re-casts themes from earlier movements in cyclic fashion, playfully transforming them. Once again, the composer’s dry wit is on display, with few seeming rhythmic “mistakes” woven into the music.      Notes by Kate Carter and Louise Chan