Brian Newsome

for violin and piano

duration: 10 minutes

Capricci was completed on the 8th of April 1996. The work consists of three separate movements, which last approximately four, one and a half, and four and a half minutes respectively.

The ghost of Paganini lingers in the virtuosic writing for the violin, in particular, although the instruments are treated as equal partners in a genuine duet.

Capriccio 1 (Scherzando) is in four sections (A; B; C; A2) with a coda: the first opens with a trill and rapid figuration on the violin. This "collapses" twice: firstly, on to a sustained, failing melodic line; and, secondly, into broken-chord patterns across the strings (echoed by the piano).

Section B is characterized by a dotted, leaping figure with glissando (a kind of effigy / parody of the dance, with irregular metric displacements.)

The 3rd section combines elements from both A and B, while section four is a new and extended development of the first by way of recapitulation.
The coda refers back principally to elements from A.

Capriccio 2 (Presto), in four sections, proceeds almost continuously in semiquavers. Asymmetrical beat-groupings coalesce into tight ostinati in regular metre at the end of sections.

The third section "bursts" into rapid, hocketing chords between the instruments at its end, while the final section is a redevelopment of the first, with piano and violin in octaves (pp and prestissimo).

Capriccio 3 (impetuoso). Strongly, and often violently contrasted materials are juxtaposed and superposed in this broadly ternary structure. The central section offers gentle relief in the form of glissando 6ths (quasi-glissando in piano) against a background pedal, the material being interchanged between the instruments.

The coda is an abbreviated reference to the materials of the central section.

Brian Newsome was born in the small Yorkshire town of Heckmondwike, near Leeds. For most of his 27 years teaching in state schools, he was head of several music departments and was heavily involved in organising and directing performances with children and young adults of operas, choral and orchestral works. He now teaches piano, harmony, counterpoint and composition privately at home.

Among the more significant performances of his music have been the premiere in 1983 of a large-scale sonata for two pianos with ring-modulation, at the Pompidou Centre in Paris under the auspices of IRCAM, Six Ricercatas for string quartet given by the Balanescu Quartet at the Donmar Warehouse in 1989, and Scintilla for 2 pianos, performed at the Bath Festival by Rolf Hind and Nicolas Hodges in 2001. These last two events were sponsored by the spnm.

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