The “Two Pieces for Violin and Piano” are actually two sections that together form one complete piece. In the first, the piano plays a systematically accelerating and decelerating sequence of rhythms, presenting a sequence of pitches based around the interval of a minor sixth; the violin weaves elusively around the pitches of the piano in quasi canon. The roles are reversed in the second: the violin articulates another strictly composed sequence of pitches based on sevenths and ninths, the piano interjecting only at moments. The two works mirror one another, the first ending in a sudden violent outburst from the violin, the seconding beginning with a similar outburst from the piano. Listeners with particularly sharp ears will notice that the final F #/D interval of the second piece echoes the opening interval of the first! The two pieces are thus cyclically related. I imagine the first piece to symbolize the soul (violin) in the body (piano), while the violent outbursts represent death, and the second piece represents a ghostly memory of life seen from the afterlife. Both miniatures have dedications in memoriam, the first to English conductor Richard Hickox, the second to one of my esteemed composition students, Rex Stapleton.
World Premiere: Audiovisual Theatre, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, 14th May 2010 (performers: Lien Ya Chi (violin), George Holloway (piano)
British Premiere: Turner Sims Concert Hall, University of Southampton, U.K., 14th May 2012
(performers: Aisha Orazbayeva (violin), George Holloway (piano)
Chinese Premiere: Recital Hall, Tianjin Conservatory of Music, Tianjin, China, 20th May 2015
(performers: Zhao Qi (violin), Liu Zhao Zhi (piano)