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Sofia Gubaidulina

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Dancer On A Tightrope (1993)
Work Notes
commissioned by the Library of Congress, Washington. Available in the USA, Canada and Mexico only
Hans Sikorski Russian Works
Works for 2-6 Players
Year Composed

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   Score and Part(s)

Programme Note
Sofia Gubaidulina Dancer On A Tightrope (1993)
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

  • Ensemble
    Kremerata Musica
    Vadim Sakharov (Piano), Gidon Kremer (Violin)
  • Soloist(s)
    Vadim Sakharov (Piano), Gidon Kremer (Violin)
  • Soloist(s)
    Roman Mints (Violin), Evgenia Chudinovich (Piano)
    Black Box Classics:
  • Soloist(s)
    Zhi-Jong Wang, violin; Yashuangzi Xie, piano
Gubaidulina's balletic fantasy DANCER ON A TIGHTROPE is strongly focused from start to finish, and magnificently imaginative, as well as dramatic, in the way it pits virtuoso violin figuration against a pianist who spends as much time playing directly on the strings as on the keys.
Arnold Whittall, Gramophone,01/01/0001
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