Premieres: Conrad Chow, Violin

Premieres: Conrad Chow, Violin

Cambria Master Recordings (2012)

“Royer gives us a great vehicle and Chow plays his music with great finesse. I definitely want to hear more from this composer.” - FANFARE, Maria Nockin

Recordings

Performers

Conrad Chow-Violin, Sinfonia Toronto, Ronald Royer-Conductor & Bruce Broughton-Piano

Tracks

Premiers - back cover_000048.jpg

Video Playlist
1/12 videos
1
3 Incongruities, "Triptych": No. 1. Rhythmically precise, but not too fast
3 Incongruities, "Triptych": No. 1. Rhythmically precise, but not too fast
2
3 Incongruities, "Triptych": No. 2. Slow, in a singing style
3 Incongruities, "Triptych": No. 2. Slow, in a singing style
3
3 Incongruities, "Triptych": No. 3. Rhythmically, with a bounce
3 Incongruities, "Triptych": No. 3. Rhythmically, with a bounce
4
Rhapsody: I. Adagio, misterioso
Rhapsody: I. Adagio, misterioso
5
Rhapsody: II. Cadenza - Allegro agitato
Rhapsody: II. Cadenza - Allegro agitato
6
Partita, "In Memory of J.S. Bach": Sarabande
Partita, "In Memory of J.S. Bach": Sarabande
7
Partita, "In Memory of J.S. Bach": Capriccio
Partita, "In Memory of J.S. Bach": Capriccio
8
Joy: Joy: Lento appassionato
Joy: Joy: Lento appassionato
9
Gold Rush Songs: Joe Bowers
Gold Rush Songs: Joe Bowers
10
Gold Rush Songs: Betsy from Pike
Gold Rush Songs: Betsy from Pike
11
Gold Rush Songs: Golden Slippers
Gold Rush Songs: Golden Slippers
12
Nocturne No. 20 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. posth. (arr. N. Milstein)
Nocturne No. 20 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. posth. (arr. N. Milstein)

Introduction by Conrad Chow

The focus of this CD centers on the concept of the Premiere: the first showing of, or introduction to, something new. To that effect, I’m honoured to present each of the works on this CD for the first time on a recording. While new, each piece is inspired by earlier musical styles: Bruce Broughton’s Triptych evokes elements of the Baroque, 20th-century Prokofiev, and Celtic fiddle music of Scotland; his Gold Rush Songs are based on traditional American folksongs. Ronald Royers’s Rhapsody was inspired by rhapsodies of the mid-19th to early 20th centuries; the inspiration of his In Memoriam J.S. Bach needs no explanations. Kevin Lau’s Joy is inspired by turn-of-the-century Romanticism, as well as film music. Finally, I chose to include a favourite of mine, Chopin’s Nocturne in C# Minor, as an encore.

Ronald Royer – Rhapsody for Violin and Chamber Orchestra (12:43)

The Rhapsody draws inspiration from a variety of European sources, including French Impressionism, German Expressionism, Hungarian folk music, and virtuosic Spanish violin music. Combining all these disparate styles of music, ranging from Ravel and Bartok to Sarasate, allowed me to create a new work based on a traditional and popular form. Composing took place in three comfortable locations, my home in Toronto, my in-laws’ home in the rural Ontario town of Cayuga and my parents’ home in Los Angeles. This also helped in giving me the right ambience and variety of influences for this enjoyable endeavor. The Rhapsody was commissioned by the Orchestras Mississauga (John Barnum, music director) with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Ronald Royer – In Memoriam J.S. Bach (Sarabande and Capriccio) for Violin Solo, Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, String Quartet and Harpsichord (5:58 & 5:51)

In Memoriam J.S. Bach (2011) is a new arrangement of two movements from the Partita for Violin and Chamber Orchestra, composed in 2000 to honor the 250th anniversary of the death of J.S. Bach in 1750. In Memoriam takes its inspiration from Bach’s compositional mastery, as well as his ability to compose expressive and virtuosic music.

My Sarabande is based on the first two bars of the Sarabande from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor. The second part of this movement is more emotional in character and is based on the Allemande from Bach’s keyboard Partita No. 4 in D major.  I had to do some juggling with the rhythm, since Bach’s Allemande contained four beats per bar. One beat from each bar had to be removed to fit the three-beat form of the Sarabande.  The original melody is heard again at the end of the movement, overlaid by a florid counter-melody by the solo violin.

Capriccio, an Italian word-meaning whim or fancy, was used by Bach as a title of two of his compositions for keyboard. I chose this title to describe a work which combines a more contemporary style with Bach’s compositional techniques, as well as highlighting the humour of these works.

The Capriccio is a playful variation of a Bach Gigue, transformed into a classical era Rondo (ABACABA) form. The original A theme in G minor is written to imitate a Bach Gigue, although the rhythm is irregular, switching between five, six, or seven beats per bar. The B section begins with a darker and smoother version of the A theme, before leading into a series of Bach-like sequences. The C section enters in the new key of E minor and is derived from the first four bars of the A melody, but appears in retrograde (i.e. played backwards). This incarnation of the A theme assumes a Latin American character, as found in the music of Alberto Ginastera. When the A section returns, it is in the form of a Bach Fugato, although the rhythm is still irregular. The returning B and A sections are in an ornamented form, another Bach technique. There follows a short cadenza for the solo violinist, which leads into the final coda section with its homage to Bach’s cadential endings.

Conrad Chow, Kevin Lau, Ronald Royer & Bruce Broughton at the premiere of Three Incongruities

Reviews

“Rhapsody for Violin and Chamber Orchestra is aptly marked adagio, misterioso. The entire work has an exotic flair. Listening to it, I imagined sailing across the Red Sea in a dhow, perhaps heading for Zanzibar with a cargo of dates...Royer gives us a great vehicle and Chow plays his music with great finesse. I definitely want to hear more from this composer.” - FANFARE, Maria Nockin Read More Read More
“Composer Ronald Royer has rolled all the various styles upon which he draws (he cites Maurice Ravel, Béla Bartók, and Pablo Sarasate in the booklet) into the much briefer Rhapsody, which, aside from its eclecticism, recalls Miklós Rózsa’s Violin Concerto in its adaptation of Hungarian elements. The violin’s commanding introduction after the brooding opening recalls Ravel’s idiomatic writing at the beginning of Tzigane and stamps the work as a vehicle for showcasing more than a violinist’s technical abilities. Chow plays with great assurance in such passages, rising above the sweeping orchestral accompaniment, lyrically in the first movement and sparklingly in the often motoric second….When it’s as difficult as this release makes it to decide whether the performances or the repertoire deserves the higher praise, the recommendation is especially assured. “Strong,” “warm,” or even “urgent” would hardly be out of place.” - FANFARE, Robert Maxham Read More Read More
“Ronald Royer contributed two wonderful pieces, each in two movements. His Rhapsody begins with an eclectic sound reminding me at times of jazzy bits of Ravel, at other times of Hindemith. His In Memoriam, JS Bach is another neo-classical piece....Royer manages to wander away from the old, without the need to be dissonant or overly complex. His writing has wonderful clarity, several gestures coming directly from the violinist that connect it solidly to the tradition of a performer demonstrating their virtuosity.” -barczablog.com, June 28, 2012 Read More Read More
“Conrad Chow chose to première Royer’s Rhapsody for Violin and Chamber Orchestra. This two-movement work charms with its late-romantic, early-modernist manner, but the music’s lyrical liveliness makes it more than a mere hearkening back...Royer’s In Memoriam to J.S. Bach strengthens the neo-baroque aspect of Chow’s program, but with a slightly tart modern touch. Royer’s work is appealing as an impressionistic update of Bach-as-inspiration.” - Showtimemagazine.ca, Stanley Fefferman, July 9, 2012 Read More Read More
“Royer's Rhapsody has a late-romantic, early-modernist lyrical liveliness that makes it something more than a hearkening back. His In Memoriam J.S. Bach returns the program to a neo-classical (neo-baroque) stance, with a slightly tart modern touch, passages in five and an otherwise updating and impressionistic treatment of the Master-as-inspiration….The works themselves are very refreshing to hear. The roots of the classical and folk past undergo imaginative transformations, so that each work in its own way makes it all new. Each composer has a clear vision of how present and past can transform to a future of repeated pleasure for our appreciative ears….Recommended.” - Gapplegate - classicalmodernmusic.blogspot.com Read More Read More
“Ronald Royer’s Rhapsody displays influences of French impressionism and Spanish violin music, among others, with mysterious elements in the first movement and more rhythmic expressions in the second. Royer’s In Memoriam J.S. Bach is based on different motifs from Bach’s works. Sarabande is expressive, even romantic at times, while Capriccio carries playfulness coupled with recognizable Bach rhythms.” - Whole Note Magazine, Ivana Popovic, June 29, 2012 Read More Read More
Rehearsing prior to the start of recording