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Karen Bentley Pollick, Dennis Parker & Ivan Sokolov | Homage to Fiddlers

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Jan Vicar Karen Bentley Pollick Dennis Parker Viktor Kalabis Ivan Sokolov

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Homage to Fiddlers

by Karen Bentley Pollick, Dennis Parker & Ivan Sokolov

Virtuoso duos for violin and cello from the Czech Republic are paired with a Russian cello sonata and piano trio and interpreted passionately in this premiere recording, a sequel to amberwood, "a richly satisfying collection of contemporary works."
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Sonata for Cello and Piano in D Minor: I. Moderato
7:11 $0.99
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2. Sonata for Cello and Piano in D Minor: II. Adagio
11:11 $0.99
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3. Sonata for Cello and Piano in D Minor: III. Scherzo
3:36 $0.99
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4. Sonata for Cello and Piano in D Minor: IV. Allegro moderato
6:32 $0.99
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5. Duettina for Violin and Cello, Op. 67: I. Introduzione
3:43 $0.99
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6. Duettina for Violin and Cello, Op. 67: II. Dancetta
2:20 $0.99
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7. Duettina for Violin and Cello, Op. 67: III. Serenata
4:25 $0.99
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8. Duettina for Violin and Cello, Op. 67: IV. Finale
3:06 $0.99
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9. Homage to Fiddlers for Violin and Cello
7:22 $0.99
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10. Piano Trio in A Minor: I. Allegro
7:26 $0.99
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11. Piano Trio in A Minor: II. Adagio, Passacaglia
9:30 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Homage to Fiddlers is the product of friendship and collaboration between Karen Bentley Pollick, Ivan Sokolov and Dennis Parker. Pollick and Sokolov first worked together as guest performers at the Seattle Chamber Players Icebreaker II: Baltic Voices Festival. Graduates of Indiana University, Pollick and Parker reunited in 2006 while performing in the Alys Stephens Center Chamber Music Festival in Birmingham, Alabama. The duo then toured throughout the Czech Republic where they performed Jan Vicar’s Homage to Fiddlers and discovered the music of Viktor Kalabis. In 2007 the trio assembled in Birmingham for an all-Sokolov concert comprised of his piano trio and string sonatas that share a similar opening motif.

Homage to Fiddlers is the sequel to our previous recording amberwood. We hope that you appreciate it as much as we enjoyed exploring these Russian and Czech musical gems.

Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor (2002) Ivan Sokolov (b. 1960)
I Moderato
II Adagio
III Scherzo
IV Allegro moderato


According to Sokolov, “the Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor (2002) is in four movements and is another attempt to return in a new way to the world of music where my childhood and youth went by: the world of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and Mahler. I wondered if it would be possible to discover what had already been discovered a long time ago. In science: no. In the arts: yes. Perhaps because the major factor in the arts is sincerity of feeling, with which the external stylistic orientation does not matter much. The Cello Sonata was written according to Classical rules of the genre: Allegro, slow second movement, Scherzo and resumptive Finale and is dedicated to its first performer, the cellist David Tonkonogyi.”



Duettina for Violin and Violoncello, Op. 67 (1987) Viktor Kalabis (1923 – 2006)
I Introduzione
II Dancetta
III Serenata
IV Finale

Duettina for Violin and Violoncello was composed in 1987 at the request of Kalabis' friend, the violinist and conductor Josef Vlach, for his daughter Jana and her husband, the violoncellist Michael Eriksson. A suite of four miniature pieces ensued: Introduzione is expressive and insisting, and is a canon with the violin leading then followed one beat later by the cello playing notes placed in an identical position on the stave but in bass clef, a visual pun revealed while perusing the score. Could this compositional device be an homage to Beethoven’s Eyeglasses Duo? Danzetta: quasi polka is metrically complicated in 2/4, 3/8 and 5/8 meters with some folkloric inspiration in the energetic tune supported by offbeats in the cello. Serenata is a singing cantilena in both instruments, again with canonical passages initiated by the violin. Finale is rich in expression with rhythmic verve, dramatic pizzicati and virtuosic spiccato passages.


Homage to Fiddlers for Violin and Cello (2005) Jan Vičar (b. 1949)


Homage to Fiddlers was composed at the request of violinist Karen Bentley Pollick and cellist Craig Hultgren. It was completed just before Jan Vičar’s return to Prague after teaching composition and music theory at Birmingham-Southern College during the fall of 2005 and was premiered on February 27, 2006 at BSC. Homage to Fiddlers is based on folk music from the territory along the Moravian-Slovakian border. The piece is generated from several idioms of the Hare Song, which is partially introduced before the end of the piece. The song was the most famous number from the repertory of the carpenter and self-taught violinist, “Uncle Vidiecan” from the village of Habovka. The modal character of Homage to Fiddlers is created by the combination of Lydian and Mixolydian modes and flexible diatonics – stepwise shifts of tones within the modal/diatonic space.

Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in A minor (2000) Ivan Sokolov (b. 1960)
I Allegro
II Adagio: Passacaglia
“Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in A minor (2000) is Romantic music with echoes of influences from Schumann, Mendelssohn and Franck. The first movement is cast in a sonata allegro form. The first two sounds of the main theme are the pitches E and F, and represent the adjoining of two worlds in which a person inhabits both material and spiritual realms. At the end of the first movement the character evolves into another sphere: the arena of stasis. The second movement is a passacaglia. It differs stylistically from the first movement Allegro and is reminiscent of the early Messiaen when he was creating Quatour pour la fin du temps.”

amberwood reviews

“Both works show Sokolov’s credentials as a latter-day Rachmaninov, relishing succulent piano textures, while treating the respective string instrument idiomatically. Sokolov’s partnership with Karen Bentley Pollick is closely-knit, and she – a violinist – seems to feel quite at home on the larger instrument as well… The whole CD, which is very attractively recorded and presented, demonstrates that it is quite possible to write good tunes in the 21st Century.”
Journal of the American Viola Society, Volume 24, Number 1 Spring 2008

“Tired of the same old warhorses rehashed year after year? Amberwood is a richly satisfying collection that offers an invigorating foursome of contemporary works that show just how original a string player can get when committed to bringing great new music to the world.”

Strings Magazine December 2007

CD review: Homage to Fiddlers
Russian and Czech duos and trios
Ariel Ventures
Available at
Birmingham-Southern College bookstore or online at
http://www.kbentley.com/

Four stars out of Five

Three different recording sessions from 2008 have yielded an expansive CD from Birmingham violinist Karen Bentley Pollick and friends.


"Homage to Fiddlers" takes its title from the third piece on the album, a duo that Czech composer Jan Vicar completed in Birmingham in 2005. Together with cellist Dennis Parker, Pollick takes on Vicar's vigorous score with focus and precision, the duo meticulously negotiating its guitar-like pizzicato, slides and give-and-take ensemble. Tradition Czech folk songs are masterfully woven into the texture toward the work's end.

Viktor Kalabis, a Czech composer who died in 2006, left a large catalog of works, many of which are just now coming to light. Though several symphonic works and string quartets have recently been released, few other recordings are available. Pollick and Parker's luminous rendition of "Duettina" for violin and cello emphasizes the composer's wit, clarity and vigor. A lilting grace underscores the lyrical first and third movements.

Compositions by Russian composer Ivan Sokolov open and close the album. Sokolov, who also is the pianist on these recordings, is unapologetic in his stylistic borrowings, and points them out in the liner notes. Still, there is originality and lyric invention among the various shades of Shostakovich, Mahler and Prokofiev in the four-movement, 28-plus-minute Sonata for Cello and Piano.

At 17 minutes, Sokolov's Trio in A minor for piano, violin and cello, is more palatable in its Schumann-esque cello writing, but the Adagio finale may be too close for comfort to Olivier Messiaen's music.

Published: Sunday, July 18, 2010
Michael Huebner -- The Birmingham News

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