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I am returning once again to an instrument I once knew. Nine years have passed since my first Violin Sonata. I was fifteen then and I still held the instrument in my hands. It was a piece that referenced my very favorite works for violin and piano, especially the First Violin Sonata of Bartok. On a flight just over a week ago from Munich, I listened to that Bartok sonata – my inspiration – for the first time in seven years. It is a fitting time to return, now, with much changed and yet, an unalterable soul.

The notes that follow are marked “unsettled;” later, “disturbed” and “abandoned.” I have lost the stasis in my music entirely here; it is, instead, replaced by an uncontrolled absurdity, a dichotomy of tonal and effect clusters, and why not, also, to express the dichotomy of the instruments together, of counterpoint, by displacing the lines entirely? I give no resolution and no rest: it will be found somehow in the world outside the piece, in the silences created where silence is deafening. There is a purpose here but it is deep under the surface, or perhaps, beyond the notes altogether, in the few breathless seconds of silence once the piece is over, but the performers have yet to declare it so.

This is a piece of true absolute music: it is inspired by nothing and in its nothingness, in its void, it serves not to rise beyond it, but to cut deeper, to make incisions in the creative fabric and rip up negative space. It is very different from the first Violin Sonata but it was not meant to be. I have kept the old piece clear of my mind or, at least, as clear as something so personally fundamental can be. Here, I destroy the fundament and break my own music’s basis. Here I can rebel against myself and find – discover – something new about the violin: why I left it, and why I want to love it, again.


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Violin Sonata no. 2