MELIA WATRAS: HOMAGE TO SWAN LAKE
Посвящение Лебединому Озеру
(Posvyashcheniye Lebedinomu Ozeru)
for violin solo (2018)
World Premiere: coming soon
Homage to Swan Lake was written for my husband, Pacific Northwest Ballet Concertmaster Michael Jinsoo Lim. When Mike asked me if I would write him a piece that was influenced by dance, my thoughts immediately turned to Swan Lake, and to my memories of seeing Carla Körbes dancing to Mike’s playing of the famed Tchaikovsky violin solos from the ballet. Their exquisite performance—an intricate intertwining of music and dance—became the foundation for my composition.
As I wrote, I considered the role of composer as improviser. In days past, composers would duel and compete with each other in the art of keyboard improvisation—notable “champions” include Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. Franz Liszt was known to go see what was playing at the local opera house when he was in town to give a recital, so that he could perform improvisations on themes of those operas and ballets.
String players have gifts from performer/composers such as Paganini, Sarasate and Hummel of improvisational fantasies based on operas and ballets. My homage refers to this style—keeping themes from the Tchaikovsky ballet score in mind, but going in different directions with them.