Magazine article Strings

The Wayback Machine

Magazine article Strings

The Wayback Machine

Article excerpt

Ask Tai Murray how it felt to complete her latest recording project and the Chicago-born violinist admits that the anticipation was great. "I was feeling elated, excited. There are a lot of intangibles that go into being a violinist, and then into being a musician," she says. "So there's something about having a tangible disc to hold in your hands. Somehow it's an affirmation of all the intangibles you cannot hold."

On her recently released CD, 20th Century: The American Scene (eaSonus), Murray-1690 Giovanni Tononi violin in hand, and teaming up with pianist Ashley Wassboldly stakes claim to a musical landscape defined by the 20thand 21st-century American composers Aaron Copland, Elliott Carter, John Cage, and John Corigliano.

The music's intriguing stylistic progression, if not quite a genealogical tree, runs from Copland's genial Violin Sonata, of 1943, to Corigliano's wonderfully florid, but emotionally similar, Violin Sonata, of 20 years later. Between Copland and Corigliano, Carter's abstruse "Four Lauds for Solo Violin" and Cage's sensitizing "Six Melodies" for violin and piano fill up the middle with dissimilar musical attitudes. Although there are no immediately apparent links between the four pieces, Murray says that personal relationships, including those between the music and the composers, are part of what drove her to make this recording.

"Carter and Copland were great friends," she explains by phone from her home in Berlin. "They had been students in Paris of Nadia Boulanger, and Carter dedicated the first of the lauds to Copland. The same thing with Cage, who had a great respect for Carter, and vice versa."

Murray connects to Corigliano because of the risks he took as the other composers gave him, working with similar compositional materials, the freedom to follow his own divergent paths. "They all worked in different ways," she says, "and yet seemingly in tandem with each other. …

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