Utah Symphony Principal Violist Brant Bayless will perform two works by Matthias Pintscher this Sunday for Utah Viola Society’s Spring Recital. He will be joined by Utah Symphony Principal Cellist Rainer Eudeikis for Janusgesicht, for Viola and Cello, and will play the Solo Viola work In Nomine. (If you attended last weekend’s NOVA Chamber Music Series concert, this will be your second opportunity to hear these works! You can read the program notes here.)
In Brant’s words:
The first piece is a duo with Utah Symphony Principal Cello Rainer Eudeikis. Called “Janusgesicht” (The Face of Janus), it deals with the “duality of a single person.” From the introductory poem by Pintscher:
“One body, one head, -but two faces, two voices, two directions.
Two voices delicately floating in one sound.
One voice penetrates the other, looking for merger with itself.
Sounds on the edge of silence.”
The two performers sit back to back, an allusion to the Roman god in profile.
In nomine, for unaccompanied viola, is part of a large group of chamber works by many composers inspired by an English plainchant melody. I briefly considered singing (!) that melody before performing Matthias’s piece, but aside from a tinge of sadistic joy inflicting that on an audience, there’s not much to be found in the back to back comparison. “In nomine” develops flights of fancy and melismatic passage work that, like the plainchant melody, almost always departs and returns to the note D.
Both of these pieces call for the viola to play with an alternate tuning. In the duo, the lowest string is simply altered down a half-step to B. “In nomine” features a much more radical scordatura: A-D-Eb-G. Special thanks to Brad Ottesen for the use of his wonderful Moes and Moes viola. Being able to use a separate viola for the solo piece allows for quicker and more convenient transitions than retuning one instrument. And, by the way, if you like Brad’s radically re-tuned viola, it is for sale!
Sunday, March 6, 3pm, Dumke Recital Hall, University of Utah.