Tim Fain, violin

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Special Concert for Friends of the Maverick


Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006 (1720)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Gavotte en Rondeau
Menuet I
Menuet II

Partita for Solo Violin (2010)
Philip Glass (b. 1937)

Written for violinist Tim Fain

I. Opening
II. Dance 1
III. Chaconne, Part 1
IV, Morning Song
V. Chaconne, Part 2
VI. Dance 2
VII. Evening Song


Violin Sonata in D minor, Op. 27, No. 3, “Ballade”
Eugene Ysaÿe (1858-1931)

Allemande: Lento maestoso
Sarabande: Quasi lento
Finale: Presto ma non troppo


next week


Saturday, September 15, 2012, 6:30 pm

Steve Gorn, bansuri flute; Allyn Miner, sitar; and
Ray Spiegel, tabla
An Evening of Indian Classical Music

Sunday, September 16, 2 pm

Final Concert of the 2012 Season
Tokyo String Quartet
Music of Haydn, Schubert, and Webern




Program Notes © 2012 by Miriam Villchur Berg*


A native of Santa Monica, California, violinist Tim Fain is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied with Victor Danchenko, and The Juilliard School, where he worked with Robert Mann. Before Curtis, Fain studied with Eduard Schmieder in Los Angeles. The “charismatic young violinist with a matinee idol profile, strong musical instincts, and first rate chops” (Boston Globe) was featured as the sound of Richard Gere’s violin in Bee Season. As The Washington Post recently raved, “Fain has everything he needs for a first-rate career.”

He made his New York concerto debut at Alice Tully Hall with Gerard Schwarz and the New York Chamber Symphony, and at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Performing works from Beethoven and Tchaikovsky to Richard Danielpour and Philip Glass, he has been soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, Oxford Symphony Orchestra, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He appeared as soloist with the Philip Glass Ensemble at Carnegie Hall in a concert version of Einstein on the Beach, and gave a special performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. Other recent and upcoming performances include appearances with the Champaign Urbana Symphony Orchestra, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, and the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, as well as recitals for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and in Utah, Maryland, Syracuse, and elsewhere throughout the United States. He has appeared in recital at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Kennedy Center, Mexico’'s Festival de Musica de Camara in San Miguel de Allende, Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, New York’s Kosciuszko Foundation, California’s Carmel Mozart Society, the University of Georgia, San Diego Art Institute, University of California at Davis, Boston’s Ives Festival, Alice Tully Hall, and the 92nd Street Y.

As a chamber musician, Tim Fain has performed at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York’s Bargemusic, Chamber Music Northwest, the Ravinia Festival, Spoleto Festival (Italy), Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Caramoor International Music Festival, Bard Music Festival, Lucerne Festival for Classical Music (Switzerland), Vail Valley Music Festival, Moab Music Festival, and Martha’s Vineyard Festival. He has toured nationally with Marlboro on Tour and the Rossetti String Quartet.

Fain appeared onstage with the New York City Ballet alongside the dancers in the company’s acclaimed premiere of Benjamin Millepied’s Double Aria, and performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Seán Curran Company, and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in the US and abroad. He also has worked with jazz pianist Ethan Iverson, and appeared at the Jazz Standard with composer and saxophonist Patrick Zimmerli and at The Cutting Room with composer Daniel Bernard Roumain.

In addition to his performance of traditional works, he has commissioned and performs the work of 20th and 21st century composers. According to Strings Magazine, he cites “Bjork and Beethoven as two of his major influences.”





Maverick’s season-long dual celebrations of French music and the works of Philip Glass continue in this solo violin recital by Tim Fain.

Johann Sebastian Bach held several major posts during his lifetime, and composed all of his music according to the needs and desires of his respective employers. Despite the large amount of sacred music in Bach’s catalog—cantatas, passions, and chorales—he wrote no music for the church while he was employed by Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen (1717-1723). The Prince was a Calvinist, and the services of that denomination had limited music. Fortunately, however, Leopold was also a great music lover. During the time of his employment at Cothen, Bach supplied the Prince with a wealth of chamber music. In addition to the Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, Bach also composed the Orchestral Suites, Brandenburg Concertos, and the Suites for Solo Cello during this time.

The dance suite was a standard assemblage of pieces in the Renaissance, usually in the sequence Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue. German Baroque composers added a Prelude to begin, and inserted a pair of dances before the final Gigue. By Bach’s day, these were usually just instrumental forms, no longer accompanying actual dancers.

The manuscript of these solo violin works say they are “senza basso accompagnato”—without accompanying bass (basso continuo). But in fact, Bach has supplied an implicit bass line as part of the music. Instead of the steady bass line of an accompanying harpsichord, here the bass is outlined and suggested by single low violin notes interspersed among the melodic lines. Even though the bass notes are few and far between, the fast high and middle-range runs provide us with enough of an outline for our ears to fill in the chords.

A violin is a melody instrument—unlike a piano or a guitar, it cannot play chords except as two-note chords (double stops) or as arpeggios, one note at a time. In order to create the illusion of a melody with harmonic accompaniment, Bach uses several techniques, including the pedal point, or pedal. Originally describing a note played by the feet on the pedal keyboard of an organ, the pedal point came to mean a bass note that is either sustained or repeated while melody and harmony change above it. Bach extended this definition to include even higher notes whose repetition gave the illusion of a sustained line while parts below move. In the Preludio of the Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006 for solo violin, pedal points abound. There is scarcely a measure without some repeated note holding a pitch against the other moving lines. This requires advanced bowing technique and virtuosity.

The Loure, also known as the gigue lente or slow jig, is a French Baroque dance, probably originating in Normandy and named after the sound of the instrument of the same name (a type of bagpipe). The stress is on the first beat of the measure.

The Gavotte was a French dance in 4/4 time. In this instance, Bach calls it Gavotte en Rondeau. As in a rondo, the opening theme is played several times, with episodes of different musical material in between each repetition of the theme.

The Minuet is the only movement of the Baroque dance suite whose name survived into the classical era. Minuets I and II later became Minuet and Trio. The violinist must perform double or triple stops (two or three notes at once) throughout most of Minuet I. For Minuet II, the double stop is a pedal that is sustained rather than merely repeated.

The Bourrée was a French dance in 4/4 time with a lively rhythm. Running eighth notes give this movement a feeling of constant motion.

The final movement is the Gigue, a fast dance from the British Isles in 3/4 or 6/8 time. A cheerful tune is ornamented with runs and moved into different registers with grand leaps, as befit the joyous dance.

Tim Fain writes: “I've commissioned a new work from American composer Philip Glass—It’s called Partita for Solo Violin, in seven movements. The piece is almost completed and so far, I think it’s really some of his best writing—so dark, lyrical, and melodic.

“A few years back, I worked with Philip in a show called Book of Longing which was a song cycle he composed to the poetry of Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. There was this moment where the violin took center stage and I played this really fast and crazy little movement, which only lasted a couple of minutes, but made a big impression on me. Before this, Philip hadn’t really even written much for violin, and here was this totally intense two-minute piece that sounded like J.S. Bach played backwards! I kept coming off stage thinking ‘that was so cool.....but I want a whole piece!’

“‘Composing is really a two part process,’ he [Glass] once told me. ‘First I write down all of the notes…’ Often he’ll send me a score by email. Then what follows, the second stage, happens when composer and performer meet to perfect and fine tune the score. We’ll often meet down at his studio and work phrase by phrase until we’re both happy, and the music is in its final completed form.

“There’s a real intensity and urgency about everything Philip does. It’s staggering how much music he writes. He’s probably one of the most prolific composers I know. He told me once that he really doesn’t sleep all that much.... I wonder if that has something to do with it!”

Eugène Ysaÿe was a virtuoso violinist, conductor, and composer. He studied both in his native Belgium and in Paris, where he was connected to Saint-Saens, Fauré, and other major figures. He played violin in the première of Debussy’s String Quartet, and many composers dedicated works to him. He was also a friend of the Belgian monarch, Queen Elisabeth, and gave her violin lessons over many years. In 1918 he came to the US and conducted the Cincinnati Orchestra for four years. He championed the music of his French contemporaries, and revolutionized violin playing, emphasizing virtuosity but only in the service of the interpretation of the music.

He wrote many violin concerti and smaller works, including a set of six sonatas for solo violin. Ysaÿe writes in a modern musical language, but uses the same techniques Bach used to give the solo violin several simultaneous voices: double stops, melodic outlining, pedal points, and fast alternation between high and low registers.


All program notes are copyright Miriam Villchur Berg. It is permissible to quote short excerpts for reviews. For permission to quote more extensive portions, or to copy,  publish, or make other use of these program notes, please contact her at miriam@hvc.rr.com Program Notes © 2012 by Miriam Villchur Berg