Play a minute excerpt from near the beginning of Wheel, as performed live by Mark Menzies, violin and Molly Morkoski, piano.
Composer: David Heuser Instrumentation: Violin and Piano Year Composed: 1993 Duration: 8 minutes Pages (score): 23 Cost: Purchase: $15.00
Premiere: Mark Menzies, violin Molly Morkoski, piano, Guest Recital at Indiana
University School of Music, September 11, 1994
Wheel, for violin and piano, was written for the violinist Mark Menzies
in 1993. It is approximately eight minutes long. The work is cast in three parts (A-B-A) with a
short introduction. The outer portions of the piece are energetic, soloistic and fast, while the
middle section is slower and more melodically oriented.
The piece begins with an accelerando on an F#/C double-stop in the violin and longer,
downward runs (also presented as an accelerando) in the piano. Both of these figures play
important roles throughout the piece. In the opening section, musical events are juxtaposed, one
after another, without any transition between them. This wild music is twice interrupted by soft,
slow violin double-stops. These interruptions divide the faster music into three sections; from
section to section the violin (and to a lesser extent the piano) becomes increasingly more wild.
When the two instruments reach their climax, the violin double-stops return in an extended form,
bridging the gap between the first two major parts of the composition.
In the first half of the middle part of the piece, the piano plays a supporting role for a
slow-growing violin melody based on material from the A sections. At the mid-point of this
section, the two instruments swap functions and the music is essentially a retrograde of the first
half. Again the violin alone bridges the gap into the return of A; this time with the accelerando
figure with which it opened the piece.
The last third of the work is constructed around fifteen articulation of the opening violin
double-stop, F# and C. Taking the accelerando idea to the extreme, these articulations are spread
out over 16 beats, then 15, then 14, 13 and so on until, at the end, we return the rhythms found in
the original (eighth notes, sixteenth notes, etc.). Between each articulation of this double-stop,
the material that was jumbled-up in the first part of the piece is now presented clearly and
separate from other kinds of music. That is, in the 16 beats between the first and second F#/C
double-stop, only one kind of music from the opening section is played. Then, after the second
F#/C double-stop, a different kind of music from the opening section is played, and so on to the
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