• Sofia Gubaidulina
  • Dancer On A Tightrope (1993)

  • Hans Sikorski Russian Works (USA, Canada and Mexico only)

Commissioned by the Library of Congress, Washington. Available in the USA, Canada and Mexico only

  • violin and piano

Programme Note

Composer note:

The title stems from a desire to break away from the confines of everyday life, inevitably associated with risk and danger. The desire to take flight, for the exhilaration of movement, of dance, of ecstatic virtuosity.

A person dancing on a tightrope is also a metaphor for this opposition: life as risk, and art as flight into another existence.

In this piece what interested me was to create the circumstances for the play of contrasts, where the precise dance rhythm of the violin overcomes its inclusion in the eventful course of the piano part.

For example, this is achieved by the deformation of this rhythm by playing on the strings of the piano with a glass tumbler; by the gradual transformation of these transparent harmonic sounds into aggressive fortissimo on the bass strings by the serrated bottom of the tumbler; by the menacing sound of this rhythm when it is performed by the pianist using metal thimbles and, finally – the main event in the form of the piece by the transition by the pianist from strings to keyboard.

All these events are overcome by the violinist in an ecstatic dance that ascends finally to the upper register of the instrument to tremolo double harmonics; risk, overcoming, the flight of fantasy, art, dance.

--Sofia Gubaidulina