VIOLa + clarinET = Violet.
Double Star Destiny
Double Star Destiny (2017) is inspired and guided by the application of feng shui and astrology to the birth dates of Elizabeth (which is also the birth and death date of William Shakespeare under the control of the planet Venus) and to the birth date of Katrin (which is also the birth date of Jimi Hendrix, 2017 being the 75th anniversary of his birth date and under the control of Jupiter). Through this process six themes are generated including Elizabeth’s Essay, Katrin’s Karma, Hendrix’s House, Shakespeare’s Soul, Jupiter Jam and Venus Voices. A variety of emotional episodes are employed to engage the listener in an exciting encounter with the double star, in this case produced by the chance line-of-sight-alignment of Venus and Jupiter. --Zack Browning
Tranquil Awakening (2017) is inspired by the Swedish spring and is a kind of dialogue between the clarinet and viola with alternating motives between the voices. The music is composed as one piece but clearly has the form of two parts or movements. Each movement is of the form ABA’.
The first movement is slow and tranquil, but also has a moving pace with the energy of something trying to break out, trying to wake up. Inspiration is taken from the winter slowly fading into spring. Much care has been taken to create atmosphere, by taking advantage of the timbre generated by the two instruments blended together.
The second movement (allegro) is fast and light in character with a more fixed tempo, but expressive in its melodies. This movement represents the actual awakening, the spring, with both joyfulness and anxiety. The instruments are switching roles between melody and accompaniment, which keeps the dialogue on-going. --Thomas Gyllin
*Please note: Thomas changed his name after this video was made, so in order to preserve our analytics, we have left his original name in the video. His name now, however, is Thomas Gyllin.
Still… (2017) for clarinet and viola seeks to explore stillness as a broad topic through a limited sonic palette. Stillness is rarely presented in daily life and as it is encountered less, it becomes more unsettling. Here, stillness is implied through a narrow dynamic range, slow pacing and delicate techniques. Although no single narrative pervades, the piece draws inspiration from ringing ears, bitterly cold, windless days and the perceived slowing of time. --Daniel Sitler
I composed Borderland (2017) for Violet. The first movement introduces motives that will be developed in the subsequent ones. It alternates between low-register, soft, and slower material, and material that is in the high register, louder, and quicker. At the start, the contrast between the sections is extreme, but as the movement progresses the music appears to find a compromise between those extremes.The second and final movements explore the interface--the borderland--between different sorts of music. The lyrical second movement reflects in a distorted way some of the sounds and techniques of the 16th-century sacred counterpoint... The third movement finds its inspiration in Western swing music of the 1940s, although the source materials are significantly transformed. --Eleanor Trawick
In Greek mythology the aurai are the "winged nymphs of breezes." Their various characteristics are derived from their origins as daughters of one of the four wind gods: Boreas, god of the north wind / bringer of winter; Eurus, god of the east wind / bringer of warmth and rain; Notus, god of the south wind / bringer of storms; and Zephyrus, god of the west wind / bringer of spring.
Aurai (2017) is part of the composer's ongoing work in algorithmic composition. Specifically, Aurai made use of sonification, algorithmic manipulation of pitch and rhythm sets, as well as various interactive processes for live editing and steering of the algorithms. This work was composed with the use of Common Music / GRACE and Max. --Daniel Swilley
Shades of Violet
The title for Shades of Violet came about during a phone call with Elizabeth Crawford ‐ clarinet and Katrin Meidell – viola. We were discussing this new work and their namesake of “Violet” and the phrase “shades of violet” was mentioned. I loved this phrase and knew it would inspire the work, plus pay homage to this new ensemble’s namesake!
When I started to research the color violet I found many interesting facts about this color. It is a “true” color in that it has its own set of wavelengths on the spectrum of visible light – between blue and invisible ultraviolet. It also has a lot of other meanings throughout history, encompassing spiritually, emotions of love and passion, and physical manifestations of the color. I wanted to portray these “shades of violet” not just from the color spectrum, but what it has meant to people symbolically. I made a list of what I found when I researched this color, and many of these words or phrases that inspired me during the creation of this work appear as descriptions of sections in the score: Meditation, Inspiration, Imagination, Passionate, Union of Body and Soul, Original, Unconditional love, Mental balance and stability, Delicate, Crown Chakra, Dignity, Compassion, Vain, Extravagance, Flighty.
In some ways this work is a love story – two instruments seeking passion, inspiration, union, unconditional love. We reach this union toward the end of the piece, represented through the higher registers of both instruments– a push and pull of harmonies and shades of violet that I think represent the complexities of what the color Violet represents.
It was an honor to write this work for the inaugural season of Violet. This work was premiered in January 2018 and will appear on Violet’s debut album. --Jenni Brandon
As a child, I read and loved Nathaniel Hawthorne's story about the myth of Pandora's Box and it has been in my mind as a
possible subject for a musical composition since 2002, when I wrote my orchestral piece Icarus.
When Dr. Katrin Meidell and Dr. Elizabeth Crawford asked me to write a piece for their duo Violet, the idea of choosing Pandora's
Box as a source of inspiration for the work was among the first I had. After all, the story has two characters – Pandora and
Epimetheus – and the viola is indeed a box, capable of producing all sorts of sounds – some pretty spooky, by the way.
Choosing an extramusical idea for my compositions is something I do quite often although the subject in question rarely
establishes an underlying plot in any of them. This is also the case with Pandora's Box. Each movement has a title and its relation
to the movement's character is rather obvious but there is no internal story, no plot to be associated with the structure, the motifs
or the themes. Why a title then? Well, simply because I love telling stories, just like Hawtthorne. --Antonio Gervasoni
Spring Forth in Joy
Composed for clarinetist Libby Crawford and violist Katrin Meidell, Spring Forth in Joy abounds in ebullient energy. Its character reflects some of the varied dimensions of joyous contentment, from a sense of sparkling delight in simple pleasures to a calmer, more thoughtful reflection on the true, good, and beautiful. --Dominic Dousa
I composed Muncie Mix for clarinetist Elizabeth Crawford and violist Katrin Meidell, two internationally-recognized members of the Ball State University faculty who have individually and through their duo Violet, contributed immensely to the Muncie’s musical environment. One of the most studied cities of its size, Muncie was chosen as the basis of the originally anonymous “Middletown USA” in a 1929 book by husband-and-wife sociologists Robert Staughton Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd. Their conclusions were based in part on Muncie’s status as a mid-sized US city with a generally consistent environment set against a backdrop of rapid cultural change in the nation at large. Though still a mid-sized city, twenty-first century Muncie is known as a thriving and diverse center for education, commerce, and the arts. Accordingly, I chose to recognize Muncie’s cultural attributes with a composition for two very different instruments that are both very strong in the middle register of the pitch spectrum, yet can also reach great heights in both pitch and virtuosity. Finally, the duet is a mix of different instrumental sonorities, rhythmic structures, and melodic ideas, cast in the framework of an interplay between repetition and abruptly changing musical gestures.
A slow introduction evolves into a repeated six note ostinato pattern in the viola over which the clarinet plays continuous variants of a motive based on the remaining six notes of the chromatic scale. Through a sequential process of transposition, the two six-note ideas become the thematic foundation of the piece. Following a developmental section, the clarinet and viola switch roles, as the clarinet plays an ostinato and the plays the variants. Another developmental section follows with passages of increasing tempo and occasional “call and response”- like patterns, culminating in a shift from duple to triple beat subdivisions. The increasingly fast tempo in each section is interrupted by a brief slow passage, which is immediately followed by a fast and frenzied closing section that is a “mix” of previously introduced ideas. --Daniel Adams
Retratos de Azuero
Portraits of Azuero, a region in Panama, was composed for Violet. The movement names, Madrugada and Tambor translate to “Early Morning” and “Drum,” but the second movement really refers to a traditional music genre more than an instrument. Tambor is an umbrella term for traditional Panamanian music based on African rhythms and European harmonies, and Azuero is known for preservation and cultivation of the Tambor. --Samuel Robles
Duet for Clarinet in A and Viola
This Duet (2016) was inspired by the great work of Rebecca Clarke, who so elegantly wrote for both viola and clarinet, melding the two sounds together effortlessly. In my work, I mixed a little bit of her tonality with another work I wrote for Katrin Meidell, a Viola Duet titled In Paris With You. The Duet for Clarinet in A and Viola is in three major parts and is through-composed. The beginning is chorale-like; the second is articulate with cross rhythms and imitative counterpoint. The final section is melodious with virtuostic underpinnings.
Prelude, Allegro, and Pastorale
Rebecca Clarke composed the Prelude, Allegro, and Pastorale in 1941, and it was first performed in Berkeley, California at the International Society for Contemporary Music on August 6, 1942. The first performers were Rudolph Schmidt, clarinet, and Walter Herbert, viola. --from Thomas Heimberg's article in the Journal of the American Viola Society, Spring 2002, Vol 18, No 1.