Billie Gonzalez Violin Performance, March 19

Mar 10th, 2011 | By | Category: Member Concerts

On Sat., March 19, 7:00 p.m., Billie Gonzalez will play unaccompanied violin works by Prokofiev, Kreisler, and Hindemith at the monthly Saturday Club house concert. Vocalist Luann Higgs will present opera and lighter works for the second half of this one-hour program.

Billie Gonzalez Bio

Billie Gonzalez is a concert Classical Violinist and Violist. She also has a private teaching studio in Folsom, CA and has over 40 years of private teaching experience. She studied with Albert Markov, Concert Violinist, in New York and Connecticut.

Together with her husband Henry Gonzalez, Double Bassist, Billie has been a member of various symphony orchestras on both East and West coasts, as well as in Honolulu.

Program Notes

Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) Recitativo & Scherzo-Caprice, Op. 6, was dedicated to the violinist-composer, Eugene Ysaye (1858-1931), who had dedicated his Solo Sonata No. 4 to Kreisler. We are now familiar with the many short transcriptions and arrangements which Kreisler created for his own programs, and the story of his initially attributing many of them to long-forgotten composers, which eventually were admitted to be his own works. Of his original compositions with piano accompaniments, this Recitativo & Scherzo is unaccompanied.

The Recitativo begins intensely, with a dark, plaintive theme of improvisatory nature, building to a short cadenza-like completion. Pizzicato effects, finger tremolo, and artificial harmonics, and texture, then there is a sense of meditative resignation at the end.

The Scherzo has lighthearted humor with contrasting peasante chordal sections and a brilliant cadenza-like passage with delicious dissonances, returning to charming simplicity at the end.

Paul Hindemith (1895-1963), Sonata for Violin Solo, Op. 31, No. 2.

The inscription at the beginning of the work is: “…It is a fine day…” and aptly sums up the lightly flowing mood throughout the first movement, and indeed, the entire piece. Changing meters are woven effortlessly into the fabric without disturbing the gentle ambling theme. It mutters to a finish in high register, with three satisfying pizzicato chords at the end.

The second movement is basically a “waltz,” though the number of beats per measure is not always three. There are what sound like “bird twitterings” sprinkled here and there, and at the end.

The composer instructs the third movement to be played entirely pizzicato, at a comfortable tempo. It is a humorous little march. A repeated motif stays in tempo until the end as it becomes softer and softer until it just floats away, barely audible.

The fourth movement is Five Variations on a Theme of Mozart, “Komm, licher Mai” (usually translated as “Come, Dear Spring.”) I think we can all relate to this, since our Spring this year is taking so long to arrive! Hindemith plays with clever and fantastic embroidering of the theme, changing rhythms and string color and even adding an impishness in the fourth variation. The end brings back a gentle, brief quote of the theme, at which point we can appreciate all the imaginative treatments of it we have just heard.

Serge Prokofiev, Solo Sonata for Violin, Op. 115.
Unbelievably, this piece was conceived for children to play in unison! The first movement impressed me as a march with drum motifs throughout, which I play pizzicato to make them more prominent. Interspersed, there are songful sections, then we have a perky section using grace notes throughout which conjures up the image of children skipping, followed by a carefree and playful bridge leading to the recapitulation. The ending passage is two-voiced, with the lower notes imitating the drums again.

The second movement is a theme with five variations, beginning with a sweet but haunting melody. The mood of the first variation is similar, but adds rhythmic movement and a bit of playfulness. Scherzando marks the second variation, cleverly crafted, using accents and spiccato for sparkle. The third variation is a darker quote of the theme, which then is contrasted by the fourth variation in triplet figures throughout, with the theme poking out on top. In the fifth (final), variation there is a double stop treatment with a slight brooding quality, ending with two pizzicato chords.

The third movement
is a waltz marked “con brio.” There are some drum-type motifs again, and a brief lyrical melody leading to an “Allegro precipitato.” The accented melody perches on top with spiccato interspersed as accompaniment. After the theme returns, dissonant legato eighth notes are played against the open G string alternating with the lyrical phrases again. The Allegro precipitato returns and scrambles up to a flashy, triumphant finish.

All the pizzicati are Billie’s own additions wherever they occur throughout the piece.

~ Program notes by Billie Gonzalez ~

Post to Twitter


Leave Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.