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River of Light: American Short Works for Violin & Piano by Glass, Kernis, Danielpour, Bolcom, Higdon et al. / Tim Fain, violin; Pei-Yao Wang, piano

Audio Samples

>Puts, Kevin : Aria, for violin & piano
>Glass, Philip : Einstein on the Beach
>     Knee Play 2
>Kernis, Aaron J. : Air, for violin & piano
>Zhurbin, Lev "Ljova" : Sicilienne, for violin & piano
>Danielpour, Richard : River of Light, for violin & piano
>Bolcom, William : Concert Variation for Violin and Piano "Graceful Ghost"
>Higdon, Jennifer : Legacy
>Ensemble, Patrick Zimmerli : The Light Guitar, for violin & piano
>Wylie, Ruth : Wistful Piece, for violin & piano, Op. 16/2

Album Summary

>Puts, Kevin : Aria, for violin & piano
>Glass, Philip : Einstein on the Beach
>Kernis, Aaron J. : Air, for violin & piano
>Zhurbin, Lev "Ljova" : Sicilienne, for violin & piano
>Danielpour, Richard : River of Light, for violin & piano
>Bolcom, William : Concert Variation for Violin and Piano "Graceful Ghost"
>Higdon, Jennifer : Legacy
>Ensemble, Patrick Zimmerli : The Light Guitar, for violin & piano
>Wylie, Ruth : Wistful Piece, for violin & piano, Op. 16/2
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Tim Fain has constructed an adventurous and exciting recital of American violin music. It takes in the concert version of Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach - Fain "played the hell out of the piece", the composer says - as well as William Bolcom's nostalgic Graceful Ghost Rag. Variety and lyricism are the watchwords of the selection, exemplified by the soaring lyricism of Kevin Puts's Aria and by Lev Zhurbin's lovely Sicilienne. Together, all these pieces offer a vibrant portrait of contemporary repertoire.

Infodad.com
... a fine... survey of American music... a respite from the tonal and dramatic explorations of so many 20th-century American composers.

Allmusic.com
Violinist Tim Fain and pianist Pei-Yao Wang present an appealing recital of short American compositions on this 2011 Naxos release and give a fairly representative selection of contemporary chamber works by prominent and rising composers. Naxos provides its customary fine sound, and the performances are attractively enhanced by responsive acoustics.

Dmx
River of Light features music by American composers including Phillip Glass, William Bolcom, Kevin Put, and Lev Zhurbin. The pieces are played by violinist Tim Fain and pianist Pei-Yao Wang. While the album features all 20th-century pieces, it remains very accessible and easy to listen to...

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: SUNY Purchase, New York, USA (08/27/2009-08/29/2009).



Reviews

New music for new virtuosos
Violin virtuosos of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had a wealth of short, contemporary works to round out their recitals and use as encore pieces. So why not develop a similar body of music for modern violinists?

That’s the concept behind River of Light, a selection of short violin showpieces, all composed by American composers -- many at the behest of Fain. Some of the biggest names in American music are represented, such as Philip Glass, William Bolcolm, Jennifer Higdon, and Aaron Jay Kernis, but the collection is about quality, not celebrity.

The disc takes its title from an eleven minute work by Richard Danielpour, an elegiac piece that sings with neo-romantic vigor. Fain brings out the autumnal nature of the work with his sympathetic performance. Another highpoint is Patrick Zimmerli’s “The Light Guitar,” a three-movement work for solo violin that provides Fain plenty of opportunity to demonstrate not only his technical facility, but also his musicality. The work very much depends on the soloist bringing out the lyric quality of the melody, something Fain does very well.

Philip Glass’ “Knee Play 2” (from his opera Einstein on the Beach) makes an excellent moto perpetuo, that staple of the violin recital. Fain plays it with precision and unflagging energy. The oldest work on the CD is “Wistful Piece,” by Ruth Shaw Wylie (1953), a short piece that seems akin in style to Howard Hanson. While it does sound a little dates, Wylie's music still works within the context of the program.

Sometimes I find collections of violin showpieces a little wearisome to listen to, because all the works are pretty much the same. Not so with River of Light. Fain has put together a program of music that offer up variety in style, emotional depth, character, and even instrumentation (some have piano accompaniment, some are solo violin only). This is not only an enjoyable disc to listen to, but one I hope violinists will take to heart. I would love to hear some of these works in recital rather than the same old encore pieces!
Submitted on 09/21/11 by RGraves321 
Looking Forward with an Eye to the Past
Violinist Tim Fain, whose recent work includes acting as the violin stand-in for Richard Gere in the 2005 film Bee Season, offers a recital of new and not-so-new American violin music in this new Naxos release. Fain's selections offer a glimpse into the more lyrical strands of late 20th and 21st century American composition, which suits Fain's dramatic musical temperament. While this listener's interests lean more toward the post-serialist European trends in composition--indeed, work that these American composers seem in direct aesthetic opposition--Fain offers assured performances of these works. Highlights include Philip Glass's "Knee Play 2" from Einstein on the Beach, which sounds like a Paganini caprice written by an obsessive compulsive and is played as such (I mean that as a compliment), and William Bolcom's "Graceful Ghost Rag" from 1976, which is a success. Ruth Shaw Wylie's "Wistful Piece" from 1953 is a fine piece of Modernist writing, nicely played by Fain and pianist Pei-Yao Wang. It would be interesting to hear Fain record a similar disc of European composers of the avant garde--such as Beat Furrer, Peter Ablinger, Salvatore Sciarrino, or Tristan Murail, for example--as a contrast to the nostalgic American compositions on "River of Light." That said, this is a strong disc with hearty, thoughtful performances.
Submitted on 09/27/11 by Due Fuss 
Superb Program
This is a wonderful collection brimming with remarkable discoveries. Several stylistic strains are represented, from the wistful, nostalgic “Ghost Rag” of William Bolcom to the orthodox minimalism of Philip Glass. According to violinist, Tim Fain: “The composers represented here share a melodic vision and gift for lyricism”. Some of the best examples of this can be explored in the following tracks: 1, 3, 4 and 7. Fain and his accompanist, Pei-Yao Wang do a fine job of holding this all together. Sonics are excellent. The liner notes are well written and enlightening. Rack up another win for Naxos on behalf of contemporary American music.
Submitted on 12/07/11 by conway 
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Works Details

>Puts, Kevin : Aria, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Tim Fain (Violin); Pei-Yao Wang (Piano)
  • Notes: SUNY Purchase, New York, USA (08/27/2009-08/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2000

>Glass, Philip : Einstein on the Beach :: Knee Play 2
  • Performer: Tim Fain (Violin)
  • Notes: SUNY Purchase, New York, USA (08/27/2009-08/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1976

>Kernis, Aaron J. : Air, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Tim Fain (Violin); Pei-Yao Wang (Piano)
  • Notes: SUNY Purchase, New York, USA (08/27/2009-08/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1995

>Zhurbin, Lev "Ljova" : Sicilienne, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Tim Fain (Violin); Pei-Yao Wang (Piano)
  • Notes: SUNY Purchase, New York, USA (08/27/2009-08/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2000

>Danielpour, Richard : River of Light, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Tim Fain (Violin); Pei-Yao Wang (Piano)
  • Notes: SUNY Purchase, New York, USA (08/27/2009-08/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2007

>Bolcom, William : Concert Variation for Violin and Piano "Graceful Ghost"
  • Performers: Tim Fain (Violin); Pei-Yao Wang (Piano)
  • Notes: SUNY Purchase, New York, USA (08/27/2009-08/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1979

>Higdon, Jennifer : Legacy
  • Performers: Tim Fain (Violin); Pei-Yao Wang (Piano)
  • Notes: SUNY Purchase, New York, USA (08/27/2009-08/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1999

>Ensemble, Patrick Zimmerli : The Light Guitar, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Tim Fain (Violin); Pei-Yao Wang (Piano)
  • Notes: SUNY Purchase, New York, USA (08/27/2009-08/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2006

>Wylie, Ruth : Wistful Piece, for violin & piano, Op. 16/2
  • Performers: Tim Fain (Violin); Pei-Yao Wang (Piano)
  • Notes: SUNY Purchase, New York, USA (08/27/2009-08/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1953