Rautavaara Lost Landscapes for Violin and Piano

Performed 2016 at Rice University in a Hear and Now Concert by Ling Ling Huang and Wesley Ducote

1. Tanglewood;
2. Ascona;
3. Rainergasse 11, Vienna;
4. West 23rd Street, NY (2005) 21′
for violin and piano

Composer’s note:
“The four ‘landscapes’ alluded to in this work were important surroundings for me when studying during my Wanderjahre. My two summers in the US, 1955 and 1956, were spent at the Tanglewood Music Center, where my teachers were Roger Sessions and Aaron Copland. The following year I went to Ascona, Switzerland, to study with Wladimir Vogel, learning 12-tone technique. Reinergasse 11 is the address of the very romantic, decayed baroque Palais Schönburg in Vienna, where in 1955 I studied life and European culture as much as music. West 23rd Street was my last address in New York – the finale of my studies in the US symbolised by a speedy stretta.
All of these ‘landscapes’ are full of memories and atmospheres, visual as well as auditive views – for me they are musical life-themes. The opportunity to develop these themes arose when the deeply
admired soloist Midori honoured me with her request for a new work for violin and piano.”- ER

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Smitten with Britten part 4: influences

Many pieces and events as well as his own life influence Britten’s violin concerto but in my approach to the piece, the musical influence I studied the most was Beethoven, largely because of the following excerpt from the Cambridge Companion to Benjamin Britten:

“The strongest influence up to the middle of 1926, however, was Beethoven. Later diary entries show the extent of Britten’s admiration for him. On 13 November 1928 he declared Beethoven to be ‘First…in my list of Composers…and I think will always be’, while on 24 June 1929, after, hearing Kreisler’s recording of the Violin Concerto, he enthused, ‘Oh! Beethoven, thou art immortal; has anything ever been written like the pathos of the 1st & 2nd movements, and the joy of the last?”

Before my performance of the Britten with the Shepherd Symphony, I wanted to work on the Beethoven Concerto and see for myself how Britten was influenced and how the pieces might be linked. Beethoven is my favorite composer (I know we aren’t supposed to have favorites…) and I’m in the middle of my own project of doing all of the Beethoven Sonatas in recital but I took a break from just sonatas last semester and did a recital with Beethoven’s 7th sonata as well as his concerto, mimicking the Beethoven/Britten album of one of my own musical influences Janine Jansen, who’s recording of Britten was the first time I heard the piece many years ago. Here’s an excerpt of the second movement from my recital last semester…the audio is slightly muted for the first few seconds for whatever reason…