Yi-Jia Susanne Hou | Possessed

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by Yi-Jia Susanne Hou

Journey to the Dark Side - Devilishly difficult solo violin repertoire brilliantly enraptured by Yi-Jia Susanne Hou, 3-time Gold Medal Violinist. Want to know what a violin can do? "If you're not scared playing this music you aren't playing it right..."
Genre: Classical: Traditional
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ernst Der Erlkönig, Grand Caprice, Op. 26: Presto
5:25 $2.99
2. The Last Rose of Summer, Etude No. 6: I. Introduzione
1:16 $0.99
3. The Last Rose of Summer, Etude No. 6: II. Tema
1:20 $0.99
4. The Last Rose of Summer, Etude No. 6: III. Variation One
0:57 $0.99
5. The Last Rose of Summer, Etude No. 6: IV. Variation Two
1:48 $0.99
6. The Last Rose of Summer, Etude No. 6: V. Variation Three
0:58 $0.99
7. The Last Rose of Summer, Etude No. 6: VI. Variation Four: Poco Più Vivo
1:26 $0.99
8. The Last Rose of Summer, Etude No. 6: Finale
2:45 $0.99
9. Caprice for Solo Violin, No. 13, The Devil's Laugh: Allegro
2:16 $0.99
10. Sonata for Solo Violin, No. 2: I. Obsession
2:36 $0.99
11. Sonata for Solo Violin, No. 2: II. Malinconia
2:47 $0.99
12. Sonata for Solo Violin, No. 2: III. Danse Des Ombres
4:06 $0.99
13. Sonata for Solo Violin, No. 2: IV. Les Furies
3:14 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Journey to the Dark Side...

Dear fellow music dwellers;

As a musician and artist, I internalize everything I perform. I literally absorb the music, through countless hours of practicing, in every detail down to the last note or rest marking, and complex emotions. Then and only then, I am able to give the music back to the audience as a genuine account of how I am experiencing it and living it during the performance.

But what happens when the very music I must internalize is music of the Devil?

We have a powerful powerful mind. We have an even more powerful imagination. Let me recount here some of my terrifying experiences when preparing this recording.

’Possessed’ is the most challenging recording I have ever made, and it instigated the most difficult period of my entire life. Many of you know by now that I was born with a particularly short pinky finger on my left hand. This has been an obstacle from day one...(even when I was born and my father took one look at my hand and said ’oh well...’) But determined to ’do it anyway’...I embarked on this path of mine...

This disc was my ultimate challenge. There are many stretches in Der Erlkönig that I could not make even while doing 180 degree splits with my fingers. So millisecond shifting and chord breaking was necessary just to play the notes. However, the music does not allow for a break in rhythm...in fact, rhythmic integrity is key in this piece. It is the underlying fate, the doom, the lurking inevitability...which propels the music. The frantic hooves hitting the ground as a father rushes to get his dying son to the next village where the nearest doctor lives…

Overwhelmed by the having to delve ’into character’ as the elusive and coy Devil and then switching back to the mentality of having a dying son...can make anyone crazy! And so it did me. During my first attempt to prepare this music for recording, I had nightmares for weeks while practicing Erlkönig. Then finally, one day, I broke. I woke up and could not move my neck. I felt paralyzed from shoulder up. I went to see my doctor (Dr. Wong) who practices and teaches both Eastern and Western medicine. As soon as I walked through the clinic door to his patient room...he asked me ’what is wrong?! What has happened?’ He could tell immediately that my energy was restless and disturbed. I had no idea what he meant, but the only thing on my heart was this music...so I told him how haunting this music was…how I had been having nightmares and woke up unable to move. He said ’oh yes…now I understand’. For 3 weeks I had acupuncture and x-rays. He told me nothing could explain the bizarre inflammation in my neck…other than extraordinary psychological trauma. Some of you may not believe me, but I sure have the x-rays to prove it!

Now I probably should have quit right then and there for fear of injuring myself for life. However, I am not one to back down from a challenge, especially when the music I was experiencing was so powerful. This is what I live for…this is truly one of the greatest things about music - that it offers an outlet for such darkness and despair. It may seem odd to you that a happy and optimistic person like me would be so determined to access the emotions of those who have suffered so much pain in their lives…yet it is for this very reason that I honour them and empathize with them.

It was now time for me to learn how to access these horrific feelings without losing myself. Dr. Wong offered me a stone which acted as my ’totem’ of reality. Safe, happy, and balanced. I would ’go far far away’ down deep and dark emotional journeys, but now I had a lighthouse to look for on my journey back. It was an extraordinary meditative experience.

I know that many highly skilled musicians can play this music. And play it well. But to date, I have yet to hear anyone play this music while truly daring to go near the abyss. There are some actors in Hollywood who have…and who have nearly lost themselves as a result. It is a dangerous path, but in my mind…if you’re not scared playing this music...you’re not playing it right! All of the pieces on this album are Devil-infused…

So I hope you are in a ’safe place’ in your home studio whilst entering into this dark possessed world I’m about to take you into…!

Musically Yours,
Yi-Jia Susanne Hou - little miss violin

Possessed was recorded at CBC Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, Canada

August 26 & 31, 2009

Yi-Jia Susanne Hou & Alec Hou, Producers

Dennis Patterson, Recording Engineer

Carl Talbot & Evan Schultz, Editing & Mastering

Ms. Hou would like to thank the Canada Council and the Anonymous Donors for the loan of the exquisite 1729 ex-Heath Guarneri Del Gesu Violin which inspired this recording.



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Very impressed!!!
Beautiful choice of music, deep and thoughtful performance, impressive technique, large and lush sound palette... I am very glad that I found and bought this album!