Audio clip: Albany Records TROY810

  • vn
  • 6 min

Programme Note

Pulsar for solo violin was commissioned by the BBC jointly with the Royal Philharmonic Society. Pulsar was written for Ilya Gringholts, who gave its premiere 17 March 2003 at the Wigmore Hall in London.

Composer’s Note:

My music must be passionate; involving risk and adventure such that any given musical moment may seem surprising when first heard but, a millisecond later, seems inevitable. I think of my music as nuanced lyricism under pressure! That said, my primary artistic concern is to communicate in an honest and passionate voice, being faithful to my deepest inner promptings and creative urges. This way, any willing listener, irrespective of prior musical knowledge, training or background can engage with my music.

Every listener brings their own unique perspective to the listening process. In Pulsar I offer them aesthetic engagements with the world and with themselves as I, too, undertake a mission of self-discovery. Music of all kinds constantly amazes, surprises, propels and seduces me into wonderful and powerful journeys. I care deeply that music is not anonymous and generic — easily assimilated and just as easily dismissed and forgotten. Pulsar has passionate, urgent, seductive and compelling qualities of often complex (but always logical) thought allied to sensuous sonic profiles.

My favorite moment in any piece of music is that of maximum risk and striving. Whether the venture is tiny or large, loud or soft, fragile or strong, passionate, erratic or eccentric — the moment of exquisite humanity and raw soul! All art that I cherish has elements of order, mystery, love, recklessness and desperation. For me, music must be alive and jump off the page and out of the instrument as if SOMETHING BIG IS AT STAKE.

This artistic credo leads me to examine small musical objects (a chord, a motive, a rhythm, a color) and explore them from many perspectives. These different perspectives reveal new musical potentials which develop the musical discourse. In this manner, and in Pulsar in particular, the music takes on an organic, circular, self-referential character which, at the same time, has a forward progression.

— Augusta Read Thomas





More Info