Land of Lakes Showcase
Pastures string quartet by Neva Tesolin
Through the pandemic years of isolation, war in Ukraine, and the
suffering of many through sickness, the desire to create music for peace and
comfort was foremost to me. Many ideas came through contemplation
during the dark hours of the morning, and the brain work of sleepless
nights. Shadows, dreams and sunrise.
The Pastorale begins with a solitary melodic invocation of serenity.
Entries by the other instruments begin discreetly and with balance. At
measure 31, hints of the first phrase of a 3 part, 14th century motet begin,
entitled Amour je doi servir (Anon), followed by the development of all
voices into livelier variations. At rehearsal H, there is an option for
improvised solos for violin and viola over the chordal base given. The
written solos can be played somewhat marcato and with a ‘loose’ feel.
Raven’s Light is an end of life passing. This second movement is for my
dear friend with ravens in her heart.
For Sun's Light by Menelaos Peistikos
"For Sun's light" is a three-movement string quartet composition written in summer 2015. Inspired from Plato's philosophical work "Allegory of the Cave'', the composition describes the fight of the human being who struggles to disengage from the shackles of the illusive reality, which forces him into ignorance and delusion. His aim is to see the light of the truth which belongs to the Sun, outside of the cave. This disengagement is a constant and extremely difficult rising journey with many obstacles. The person who escapes from his only known world of cavern, dazzles from the sun's harsh light. However, if he manages to face that light, he will be able to see its value and understand the idea of "Agathon"; the idea of the ultimate stage of knowledge and spirituallity, of mental and moral superiority. Each movement describes a single situation of the allegory. The first movement ("The illusive reality"), refers to the perceptible world of "prisoners", who believe incorrectly in the idols and shadows shaped across cave's wall which is lightened by fire. The second movement ("Looking for the exit of the cavern''), brings out the stress and the agony of some released "prisoners" who try to find the exit of the cave, driven by a distant and unknown light. The last movement ("The light of Sun'': Agathon"), gives at first the impression that some of them finally managed to understand the real ideal of ''Agathon'', feeling relieved by their attempt. Nevertheless, as time passes, they realize that they are unable to reach this absoluteness of knowledge and truth. This vain ending supports my belief that absolute Knowledge, Truth, and Objectivity are values that existed, exist and will exist in nature regardless of human understanding. In my opinion, humans can only approach and hardly see that "light", but I think even this little viewing of Agathon's Ideal is worth fighting for.
String Trio in D Major by Ian Welsman
The String Trio in D Major I wrote starting in April of 2022, and I revised it with composer Elizabeth Raum after I had finished it.
The first movement’s main theme is introduced by each of the instruments, one at a time, in order from highest range to lowest. Although said theme is fairly calm, long trills throughout the movement give it a tense and anxious mood, yet there is a return to calmness by the end.
The second movement, while called Valse, is in an undanceable ⅝ time signature, and is mostly pizzicato. I took advantage of the open strings on the instruments to get powerful and resonant chords in the middle of the movement.
The third movement I initially wrote I was not satisfied with at all. I scrapped it completely and wrote a new one. Similar to the first movement, the third movement begins with the instruments playing the same four notes in order from highest range to lowest. The instruments seem to be having a conversation with each other, eventually swelling up to a spectacular climax which repeats at the end, finishing the piece.
Duo for 2 violins by Siyuan Kang
This is a suite composed of five pieces. As the title suggests, the creative inspiration for these five pieces comes from folk songs from my hometown that I am very familiar with. In this composition, I place the first violin and the second violin on equal footing, their dialogue and communication being crucial in expressing the significance of this musical suite. In each of the five compositions, there is a prominent feature that distinguishes them, whether it be a particular performance technique or a compositional technique.
Lyra for string quartet by Alondra Vega-Zaldivar
Lyra for string quartet was inspired by the constellation of the same name. “Lyra” is one of the
smallest constellations in our sky, but it includes one of the brightest stars: Vega – which is one of my last names! I wanted the piece to be a journey towards this star.
I traced the constellation on a piece of paper and “placed” each of the star points as musical notes in a 2 system staff paper. These notes become the motif of the piece: C, E(b), F, A+B(b), B, G. Note that A and Bb are played together, as they form a binary star.
The piece’s journey and final resolution to the note G is a portrayal of the star Vega and its
importance in our sky.
love fiercely, hold lightly by Emily Hiemstra
Becoming a mother for the third time has given me a keen sense of the wonder of parenthood. It has been some of the most fulfilling yet also most difficult work I have ever persisted in. I am constantly reminded that my children are their own unique individuals, that I must love them fiercely, but hold them lightly.
Miscarriage is something our family has not experienced, but has been the reality recently for many of my friends recently. As I walk beside them through their sorrow, this work is a letter of love to them and their lost little ones. Divided into four movements, this work seeks to capture the evolution of grief through the seasons. These movements, though untitled, could also be named summer - fall - winter - spring. Extended techniques are used not as a gimmick, but in an effort to more accurately depict grief.
the girl who collected the bones of the deer by Katharine Petkovski
This string quartet is inspired by the traditional Macedonian folk tale (“the girl who collected the bones of the deer”). The story tells of a brother and sister, who, with the help of their mother, escape their household after their father attempts to cook and eat the pair of them. They go to the woods and manage on their own for a short while, until the brother drinks water from the footprint of a deer, and suddenly turns into one.
The sister hides in the forest with him until the King and his army discover her. They capture her, then proceed to kill and cook her brother for dinner. Back at the castle, the sister says nothing, and instead only silently collects the bones of her brother.
While the traditional moral of the story is supposed to pertain to family and sacrifice, it’s the father’s actions, in trying to consume his children, that interest me most. Thus, the piece is inspired by certain elements of the folk tale but does not follow it strictly.
The piece develops in a single movement, starting with a slow, bleak theme, and erupting suddenly into exciting rhythms and complex time signatures. Being of Macedonian heritage, I took inspiration from the polyrhythms and folk tunes I was exposed to growing up. One of the quartet’s themes contains a reference to the traditional folk song (“ne si go prodavaj koljo ciflikot”) that my father used to play on the piano when I was younger. While this theme is generally associated with joy and celebration, I chose to distort and manipulate it.
The quartet features moments of sheer stress, tension, and anxiety that escalate until they can build no further and erupt into complete stillness. These moments represent acceptance and realization, as one is forced to come to terms with reality. I chose to end the piece on the same theme it began with, signifying the cyclic, nonlinear nature of trauma and healing.
© Copyright Untitled Ensemble