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The Dreams & Fables I Fashion

BIBER – SCIARRINO – MONTANARI –
BERIO – BACH

Elicia Silverstein, violin

Program

J.S. Bach: Partita n.3 for solo violin in E Major, BWV 1006 (c. 1720)

S. Sciarrino: Capriccio n. 2 from Sei capricci (1976)

H.I.F. Biber: Mystery Sonatas: XVI. Passagalia, “The Guardian Angel,” C. 105 (1676)

A.M. Montanari: “Dresden” Sonatas: Sonata in D minor: Giga senza basso (c. 1715)

L. Berio: Sequenza VIII (1976)

J.S. Bach: Partia n. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 (c. 1720)

Program © Elicia Silverstein 2018 all rights reserved

“This is a deeply thought-through, bewitchingly rendered succession of interpretations…This is also one of those rare albums truly conceived as a whole listen from start to finish…Whatever Silverstein does next, I’m already looking forward to it.”

 

Photo of Silverstein’s The Dreams & Fables I Fashion at the Wonderfeel Festival (Netherlands) 2019

If the purpose of art is, as Shakespeare said (in Hamlet), “to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature”, then the job of the artist is to synthesize deep and subtle universally relatable truths of life, drawing on her own human experience, using in equal parts empathy and fantasy as her tools. As a classical musician in today’s world, however, there is often pressure to do that in as tidy a way as possible. The title of this program makes reference to Pietro Metastasio’s hauntingly beautiful sonnet, which poignantly expresses the highly personal, sometimes inevitably solitary, highly emotionally-charged nature of creating art, which is in some ways obvious in an unaccompanied program for solo violin like this one. However, this particular program, which ‘traces the mental circuits that capture and link points distant from each other in place and time’, as the legendary writer Italo Calvino so eloquently penned in 1985, also aims to express my deep belief in a universally shared humanity, interconnected in ways that transcend the boundaries of time and place.

The idea for this programme grew out of my realization that a particular group of Italian artists in the second half of the twentieth century shared this impulse. There is a wonderful paradox inherent in the Italian music from the second half of the twentieth century: composers including Luciano Berio, Niccolò Castiglioni, and the younger Salvatore Sciarrino were at the forefront of modernity, yet, at the same time, they were absolutely obsessed with the music of the past, and in fact, my favorite moments in this programme are the transitions from one piece to the next, often so seamless that both I and the listener risk being pleasantly disoriented, not quite knowing where we stand chronologically for a moment.

The program ends with a sort of “standoff” between Luciano Berio’s Sequenza VIII, and the work to which it pays homage. As Berio wrote:

Sequenza VIII is built around two notes (A and B), which – as in a chaconne – act as a compass in the work’s rather diversified and elaborate itinerary, where polyphony is no longer virtual but real, and where the soloist must make the listener constantly aware of the history behind each instrumental gesture. Sequenza VIII, therefore, becomes inevitably a tribute to that musical apex that is the Ciaccona from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita in D minor, where – historically – past, present and future violin techniques coexist.

Berio’s concept of making “the listener constantly aware of the history behind each instrumental gesture” forms the basis for my musical approach. For this reason, after much experimentation, I began performing (and also recorded) this program, with its many historically disparate works, on the same instrumental set-up – my beautiful J.B. Vuillaume, modelled after a Guarneri del Gesù, strung in pure gut, with no chin-rest, and at the same pitch-standard – A=440, only ever changing my bow depending on which century I was in, in order to heighten the sense of dialogue between the different musical worlds the audience and I venture through on this musical journey.

Other projects

Leipzig Metamorphosis

Elicia Silverstein, violin
Accademia dell’Annunciata
Riccardo Doni, harpsichord, chamber organ & conductor

In this program, Elicia Silverstein, Riccardo Doni and his Accademia dell’Annunciata offer the listener a window into a dialogue between the musical world of J.S. Bach and that of his Leipzig compatriot, the young Felix Mendelssohn, who, through his knowledge of the music of Bach is able to “remember the future,” as Luciano Berio later put it, forging a new musical language, informed, colored and perfumed by the past.

Harmonia Artificiosa

BIBER - BERIO - PANNI

Elicia Silverstein & Marco Bianchi, violins
Francesco Cera, harpsichord & chamber organ

Created by Elicia Silverstein for the Ravenna Festival 2023, Heinrich  Ignaz Franz von Biber’s remarkable Harmonia artificiosa-ariosa for two violins in various scordatura tunings and basso continuo, six of Luciano Berio’s 32 Duetti for two violins, and seven new duets for two violins by Berio’s longtime friend and collaborator Marcello Panni, written on commission from Ravenna Festival for this project, make up this program’s fascinating mosaic of sounds past, present and future explored by Silverstein and her most extraordinary travel companions, violinist Marco Bianchi and harpsichordist/organist Francesco Cera.

E se sei solo?

BACH SONATAS & PARTITAS

Elicia Silverstein, violin

Revered as the “holy grail” of the violin repertoire, the Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, which Silverstein explores in this project, highlight her personal, nuanced, historically informed approach to music making. From both the concert stage and the classroom, Silverstein shares her participation in, what she describes as, the “wonderfully rich living history of the infinite source of inspiration, invention, beauty, humanity and Music,” that these works embody, in an ongoing masterclass-recital tour dedicated to curious, aspiring, music-loving “students” at all stages of the journey.

BIBER MYSTERY SONATAS

Elicia Silverstein, violin
Francesco Cera, harpsichord & portative organ
Silverstein and her esteemed musical collaborator, harpsichordist and organist Francesco Cera, explore the highly spiritual world of Biber’s Mystery Sonatas (also known as the “Rosary Sonatas”), some of the most fascinating music ever composed for the violin. Rich with symbolism, each sonata depicts one of the fifteen Mysteries of the Cross described in the Catholic liturgical tradition. With unusual scordatura tunings and symbolically charged harmonic and rhythmic devices, Biber brings each Mystery of the Cross vividly to life. The fourteen different scordatura tunings help establish the unique character of each sonata by varying the tension on the violin and thereby eliciting from the instrument a distinctive resonance, color, and affect matched to the Mystery depicted. In order to equip themselves to recreate for both themselves and modern listeners the scenery, action, and emotions of each Mystery, Silverstein and Cera have delved deeply into the liturgical texts associated with each.  Their aim is nothing less than the fully immersive meditative experience they believe Biber envisioned when he composed the sonatas in the seventeenth century.

THE REVOLUTIONARY WORLD OF J.B. VIOTTI

CHERUBINI - VIOTTI - MOZART
Elicia Silverstein, violino
Atalanta Fugiens
Vanni Moretto, conductor
Elicia Silverstein, conductor Vanni Moretto and his phenomenal period-instrument orchestra Atalanta Fugiens celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of J.B. Viotti, a musical figure of immeasurable impact on the critical transition that took place in music history at the turn of the nineteenth century. Though undervalued today, Viotti had a profound influence, both as violinist and composer on the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, and his lifelong friend Cherubini, as well as François Xavier Tourte, with whom he developed the modern violin bow. This program seeks to create a sort of sound “photograph” of the musical world in the years that directly surrounded the French Revolution, with Viotti as the protagonist at the center of one of the most important transformations of the western European musical language in modern history.