Four Songs, Bob Pierzak

on the east coast:

do it to me:

poisonous forest:

out of time:

Bob wrote these songs in 2010/2011. They mark the first experience I had of singing and playing at the same time. I premiered them in April of 2011 and recorded this version in the Spring of 2014. Here are some notes Bob wrote on the piece:

It is interesting to watch someone vocalize while trying to hold a violin at their neck near their throat. Visually, the violin looks like some kind of weird growth or super-vocal box of the singer/violinist. The violin’s voice becomes an extension of the human voice and vice versa. I want to thank Batya for the opportunity to work with her while writing it, her committed dedication to it, and her willingness to be vocally vulnerable on stage. This piece is also for Bethany, who for some time was my voice.

Link to the score: violin_songs

Sequenza VIII, Luciano Berio

This is a live performance of Berio’s Sequenza VIII for solo violin, from April 9th, 2011 at the Conrad Prebys Music Center, UCSD.

were running through the woods, Clint McCallum

were running through the woods was written in 2010 and premiered in April of that year. This recording is taken from that performance. A bit about the piece, from an email exchange between Clint and myself:

I haven’t done the performance notes yet, but they would be a better worded version of this:
The material of “were running through the woods” (not totally sold on the title) is derived from transcriptions I made of women screaming in some of my favorite horror movies. I explored a spectrum of literalness from untouched transcriptions to screams that were chopped up, stretched, transposed, reversed, and violinified. The overall form of the piece is supposed to mirror the structure of one single scream (onset-sustain-break-descend-run out of breath). The microtones are to be interpreted as a more ambiguous “inbetweeness” rather than strict quarter tones.

-Clint McCallum

score: violin-solo-k

reading, Nils Vigeland

Nils Vigeland, former Chair of the Composition Department at the Manhattan School of Music, wrote reading for the two of us to perform together in 2006. We premiered the piece together in that year and recorded it as well. The performance here dates from April of 2010 with pianist Katalin Lukács.

Below are Nils’ notes on the piece:

In reading the two parts are independent of one another in the sense that the strictly notated parts are played simultaneously as solos. There are certainly correspondences between the music and the sections, denoted by letters, are of almost equal lengths. The music, thus, “goes together” but not always at the same speed.

In rehearsing the piece, the challenge is to find that degree of independence and coordination which allows the two parts to be heard as a double commentary on similar music.

It is hoped that after some acquaintance with others’ part, common points of reference will emerge for each player, a reassurance that a fairly close correspondence does exist. However, it is important to allow the element of flexibility to exist as well. A plus/minus “differential” of up to five seconds is in no way detrimental to the piece. The perception of this differential is most easily discovered in rehearsing by rehearsing each section as a unit.

The notation of the piece, elimination of bar lines and time signatures in many places, individual rather than cumulative rests, especially in the violin part, is meant to suggest the activity of the title as though each performer were coming to the next sound as an individual signifier of yet to be discovered meaning.