This is the theme from Schindler's List, the 1993 movie about the Holocaust. Erick Friedman, my violin teacher and mentor, had a magnet on his filing cabinet that read "Holocaust: Never Again". He lost several family members. The determination of that motto has stayed with me. I didn't want the mournful tone of this piece to become self-pity or maudlin, but to maintain the clarity of the statement "we will never let this happen again".
I modified the theme and bowings to create a sense of growing focused emotional intensity as the song progresses. The final quarter is one of sorrow and I modified the final note to a fading long harmonic to emphasize this sense of loss.
Yankee Doodle Variations, Henri Vieuxtemps (October 2008)
Belgian violinist/composer Henri Vieuxtemps wrote this piece for an American tour in the 1840's. Yankee Doodle Variations received an ecstatic welcome from American audiences, so much so that Vieuxtemps ultimately regretted writing the piece that American audiences always demanded he play.
Ann makes her violin simulate a fife whistling and then her bow arm plays Yankee Doodle's Presto triple-stop conclusion with breathtaking accuracy and conviction.
Dance of the Blessed Spirits, Christoph Willibald Gluck (October 2008)
The moving melody Dance of the Blessed Spirits is taken from Gluck's opera Orpheus and Euridice. It mourns the virtuous souls resting in the eternal peace of Elysium's fields.
Scherzo Tarentelle, Henryk Wienawski (October 2008)
Scherzo Tarentelle was a showpiece written to emphasize composer Henryk Wienawski's left-hand violinistic skills (rapid-fire shifts and large left-hand leaps among them). The piece itself employs the playful Scherzo form, while the Tarentelle is an Italian dance. According to legend, the Tarentelle was to be performed after the bite of the tarantula. Its frantic motions are meant to mimic the spasms the poison of the spider creates.