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Nigel Keay - Introduction & Tarantella for Violin and Piano (2014)

In two movements, duration: ca. 7' 45" minutes.

Introduction & Tarantella, Full Score, PDF, 14 pages
Introduction & Tarantella, Violin Part, PDF, 7 pages

The Introduction and Tarantella was commissioned by Eugenia Choi and composed at the beginning of 2014. The Tarantella movement is based on the Scherzo of Symphony in Five Movements but includes a considerable amount of elaboration in the main melodic line carried by the violin. The adaption of the tarantella from the orchestral scherzo was inspired by Stravinsky's drawing of the tarantella movement of his Suite Italienne for violin and piano from his original Pucinella Suite for orchestra.

In the Symphony, whose form somewhat parallels A Book of Five Rings (a martial arts treatise), the Scherzo was linked to the Book of the Wind, with the wind element symbolizing tradition. In keeping with this aspect of tradition the tarantella is constructed on a classical Beethoven-inspired sonata-form with an extended coda. The exposition is in 6/8, the metre most commonly associated with the tarantella, however this moves to a 2/4 rhythm for the development before returning to 6/8 at the recapitulation. In elaborating the violin line certain virtuosic moments are influenced by the invention found in Paganini's Twenty-Four Caprices.

The Introduction, a short and very slow movement quite free in form that precedes the tarantella, announces harmonic/melodic ideas that occur towards the end of the tarantella. There are moments in the Introduction that recall the voicing techniques used by J.S. Bach in his Andante movement from the A minor Solo Sonata.

Introduction & Tarantella for Violin and Piano was premiered on April 25th, 2014 by Eugenia Choi (violin) and Svetlana Gorokhovich (piano) at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York City.