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Project 440

Polina Nazaykinskaya

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Konzerto for A

Performed by Anastasia Metla- solo violin, members of Yale Philharmonia; conducted by Farkhad Khudyev.

Each piece of music that I write comes from the depth of my heart, from the inner ocean of emotions and possibilities that are carried by waves of memories. Just as a sculptor frees the elusive figures from the block of marble by cutting away all that is unnecessary, I find myself carving out the musical notes with the inspiration that visits me and calls on me to compose, guiding the process of creation. Perhaps for the composer, the writing of music is a divine act, as much a meditative experience opens the gates to paradise lost and brings out the nostalgia for the infinite. This is what I felt when I was writing the violin concerto, Konzerto for A.

During the past summer, after finishing my first year at Yale, I was looking for inspiration. I was preparing to write a concerto, but I did not have material or an idea with which I could work. In search of it, I went back to Russia and visited an old Russian village. There I was able to connect to my roots and rekindle my imagination by going to a series of sacred places in the wilderness: three mountain peaks that when seen from an aerial perspective appeared to form a giant goblet. I was all alone, with a vastness of space and rocks stretching in all directions. And then it came to me. It was a choral, religious motif that I could faintly discern. I sat down on a fallen tree and wrote it in my scratch book.

Once I returned and started working on my concerto, I felt that I was still missing the key idea. It was so hard to start my first violin concerto! Unable to decide whether to have a tour de force opening or to save it for the climax near the end, I was caught in a dilemma. After multiple starts, I finally found the right key, and it felt like the concerto was writing itself. I just barely had time to move my hand as I scribbled it all down. Inspiration had been unleashed as I feverishly worked nonstop for several days, until I laid my pen down to rest.

When I started composing Konzerto for A, I found myself reaching for that special place within, where everything surrenders to the whispers of nature and divine harmony. It is probably one of my most cherished compositions, with personal significance to me. Creating it has been both a challenge as well as an enchanting delight.

The concerto begins with a fleeting image: a Russian winter filled with void, bleakness and an eerie feeling; a traveler on a long journey, at the brink of madness and desperation, fighting his way through a deadly blizzard. A vision from the past, joyous and wondrous, then materializes and disappears, as a mirage in the middle of a snowy desert.

"Passacaglia Zero"

Performed by Misha Namirovskiy, David Fung- piano. Arnold Choi- cello, Igor Pikaizen-violin, Sara Wolmacher- clarinet.

Passacaglia Zero combines the qualities of several different musical forms, such as rondo sonata and continuous variations. The composition evokes the rondo-sonata form because the two main subjects are repeated several times in a certain pattern and the piece’s two contrasting themes contain sonata elements that are asserted thematically and tonally. The composition can also be viewed as a continued set of variations because the main theme is based on a chord progression that does not vary throughout the piece. But because the musical idea of the secondary theme undergoes change in the recapitulation, the sonata form prevails. Beyond formal elements, the music contains important aspects of poetic symbolism. Inspired by the dark emptiness of long winter nights and insomnia, the piece transcends the boundaries of experience, offering a journey into a fragmented consciousness. Evocative and haunting, the music takes emotional flight over the abyss of melancholic longing in a quest for solace. Between sadness and anxiety, between nostalgia for the infinite and a loss of absolutes, the music captures despair and fleeting emotions that combine dreamlike delirium with the state of being fully awake and present in the moment while searching for hope.