Violin, Viola, and Piano
A sampling of the wealth of traditional and contemporary violin music from Eastern Europe, from the Romantic ‘Balada’ of Porumbescu to the contemporary nationalism of Kodály and Bartók and the improvised virtuosity of ‘Ciocârlia’.
Serenade for two Violins and Viola, Op 12
Vasile Beluska & Davis Brooks, violins; Csaba Erdélyi, viola
1. Allegramente (5:04)
2. Lento, ma non troppo (6:31)
3. Vivo (9:39)
Vasile Beluska, violin & Laura Melton, piano
4. Balada (6:25)
Vasile Beluska, violin & Laura Melton, piano
5. Prima parte (lassú) (4:38)
6. Seconda parte (friss) (5:49)
Selections from 44 Duos for Two Violins
Vasile Beluska & Ioana Galu, violin
7. #10 – Ruthenian Song (1:07)
8. #14 – Cushion Dance (0:35)
9. #15 – Soldier’s Song (0:59)
10. #17 – Marching Song 1 (0:46)
11. #18 – Marching Song 2 (0:43)
12. #32 – Dance from Máramaros (0:36)
13. #35 – Ruthenian Kolomejka (0:55)
14. #36 – Bagpipes (1:10)
15. #40 – Romanian Dance (0:43)
16. #44 – Transylvanian Dance (1:39)
Romanian Folk Tune
Vasile Beluska, violin & Laura Melton, piano
17. The Lark (1:35)
Program notes by Dr. Vincent Corrigan, Professor of Musicology and Harpsichord at the College of Musical Arts, Bowling Green State University.
Serenade for 2 Violins and Viola Op. 12
Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967)
In the first decades of the 20th century, Kodály and Bartók were the most prominent names associated with Hungarian nationalism in music. The two were life-long friends, having spent considerable time together in collecting Hungarian folk music, but their compositional styles were very different. While Bartók cultivated a style as independent as possible from the past, Kodály inclined to traditional forms and, to a certain extent, harmonic and rhythmic structures.
Kodály’s Serenade Op. 12 (1920-21), the culminating work of his early chamber music period, exhibits many of these traits. The first movement is in sonata form, where much of the movement is dominated by the rhythmic pattern heard in the first measure. In fact, it is absent for a prolonged period only during the lyrical second theme. The third movement is sectional with aspects of both sonata form and variations. The thematic recall is customary of the sonata, while the similar rhythmic and melodic motives in each section reflect variation principle.
The second movement is the most unusual. Cast in ternary form, it consists of a dialogue between the viola and first violin against the harmonic background of muted tremolos in the second violin. Here Kodály approaches Bartók’s more acerbic harmonic style, and not surprisingly, Bartok particularly admired this movement: ”We find ourselves in a fairy world never dreamed of before.”
Balada for Violin and Piano, Op. 29
Ciprian Porumbescu (1853-1883)
Before his untimely death at age 29, Porumbescu pursued a remarkably active career as a composer, choirmaster, conductor, teacher, music educator, and writer. He had studied in Vienna with Bruckner, among others, and, after his return to Romania, participated in all aspects of Romanian musical life as concert and festival organizer, song composer, and performer. His music became emblematic of late 19th-century Romanian nationalism.
Porumbescu is credited with being one of the founders of Romanian instrumental composition, and the Balada, is one of the works on which this reputation rests. A mournful melody alternates, in the manner of a rondo, with two other sections of a different sentiment or tempo. The piece concludes with the initial melody.
Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
The First Rhapsody was composed 1928, nearly simultaneously with Second Rhapsody. There are three versions of this piece: Violin and Piano (the first, prepared in 1928), Violin and Orchestra, and Cello and Piano. It is dedicated to violinist József Szigeti, who, along with Zoltán Székely, advised Bartók on his violin compositions of the 1920s and 1930s.
The work is in the form of a verbunkos, consisting of a slow introductory section, the Lassú, and a following fast section, the Friss, the same format that Liszt and others used for their Hungarian-inspired works. Bartók allowed for the possibility that the two movements could be played separately, and provided an alternative ending for the Friss in case it was played alone. It is this alternative ending that appears in the version for violin and piano.
Duos for 2 Violins
The 44 Duos for Two Violins began life in 1930 as a contribution to an anthology of violin music compiled by the German music educator Eric Dorflein. But Bartók far exceeded Dorflein’s request. By May he had completed and sent to Dorflein 16 duos, and by September the collection of 44 was finished. Dorflein himself published 18 of them in his anthology, and Universal of Vienna issued the complete set in 1933.
Forty-two of the duos are based on folk songs and dances from Central and Eastern Europe, the fruits of Bartók’s ethnomusicological work. Two of the duos (#35, Ruthenian Kolomejka; #36 Bagpipes) are original compositions in the style of folk melody. Although the title of the collection is 44 Duos, there are actually 45 pieces. Number 36 (Bagpipes) consists of the piece itself and, as a separate entry, a variant that alters the rhythm of the drone and adds grace notes to the melody. This recording gives the variant only.
#10 Ruthenian Song #32 Dance from Máramaros
#14 Cushion Dance #35 Ruthenian Kolomejka [Original theme]
#15 Soldiers’ Song #36 Bagpipes [Original Theme]
#17 Marching Song 1 #40 Romanian Dance
#18 Marching Song 2 #44 Transylvanian Dance
The Lark (Ciocârlia)
Romanian Folk Tune
Most listeners recognize The Lark (Ciocârlia) from the electrifying conclusion to George Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No. 1. Its history is unclear. Perhaps its origins lie in folk music; this would explain the variety of adaptations it enjoys. In the 19th century it was associated with Ciprian Porumbescu, who may have arranged it, and the violinist Anghelus Dinicu, who popularized it. By the early 20th century it had become emblematic of Romania, when Enescu used it in his Rhapsody, and Gigoras Dinicu (1889-1949), grandson of Anghelus, arranged it for violin. The many other adaptations include arrangements for string quartet, mixed instrumental ensembles, panpipes, guitar, accordion, dulcimer, and of
course violin and piano, including Dinicu’s own setting. Part of the charm of these arrangements is the opportunity it affords the soloist to engage in extravagant birdcalls as a cadenza. This makes every performance unique, and every performer has a personal version. This is Vasile’s.
Romanian-born violinist Vasile Beluska graduated with honors from the Liceul de Muzica and the Conservatorul de Muzica G. Dima in Cluj, Romania. After immigrating to the United States in 1977, he earned a Master’s degree from Southern Methodist University and later became a member of the Class of Jascha Heifetz in Los Angeles.
He has performed to high acclaim throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and in China as soloist, in recital and with several chamber ensembles including The International Trio, American Arts Trio, the Mozart Fortepiano Duo and The Guarneri Duo. He has recorded for public television and radio in Iowa, California, Wiscon- sin, Ohio and New York. Chamber music performances include appearances at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Kennedy Center, the United States Capitol, Carnegie Recital Hall, the Chautauqua Institution and the California Music Center. Concert tours have earned him excellent reviews in the United States, Mexico and Europe.
Vasile Beluska successfully mixes his active performance schedule with an outstanding academic career. He currently serves as Professor of Violin in the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He has also held teaching positions in Romania and at the University of Northern Iowa, the University of Wisconsin and at summer festivals throughout the U.S., including 15 consecutive years at the Chautauqua Institution Summer Music School in New York. He has been a regular visiting professor at his alma mater, the Conservatorul de Muzica in Cluj, Romania and at conservatories throughout Romania, universities in Hungary, Canada, Greece, the United States, at the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China and most recently in Indonesia.
The recipient of distinguished teaching awards, his students have been prize winners in numerous competitions including the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition; Julius Stulberg Auditions; Corpus Christi International; Bluffton Bach Competition; and the Minnesota, Green Bay, Milwaukee, Ft. Wayne, Cleveland, Columbus, Lima and Toledo Symphony Young Artist Competitions. Many students have also been awarded scholarships for further study to institutions around the United States including the Curtis Institute of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, North Carolina School of the Arts, Interlochen and to most major summer music festivals in the United States. His students have also won positions with major U.S. orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, as well as concertmaster and other principal positions with the Birmingham Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, New World Symphony, Dayton Symphony, Toledo Symphony and orchestras throughout Europe and in Peru and China. Professor Beluska is a frequent lecturer on his new approach to pedagogy, “Talent Development”. He has presented lectures throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and has been a frequent presenter at conventions for music and humanities. Recordings include CDs of piano trio music released on KVR Classics.
In May of 2008, Vasile Beluska was awarded the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The award is given annually to American citizens who “exemplify a life dedicated to community service. People who preserve and celebrate the history, traditions and values of his/her ancestry and who dedicate themselves to creating a better world for us all.”* The award was presented in a ceremony on Ellis Island in New York.
Davis Brooks comes from a diverse musical background as soloist, pedagogue, orchestral musician, studio musician, concertmaster on Broadway, conductor, and chamber musician. His teaching experience has included faculty appointments at Baylor University, Wayne State University, the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, and Bucknell University, as well as 34 years of maintaining a private studio. He is currently Associate Professor of Violin at Butler University in Indianapolis.
Appointed Associate Concertmaster of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Dr. Brooks was a member of the Mostly Mozart Orchestra at Lincoln Center for ten years, and the New York Chamber Symphony, which produced over 20 critically acclaimed recordings during his tenure with them. Dr. Brooks has been concert- master of the Chamber Orchestra of New England, the Harrisburg Symphony, and the Waco Symphony.
At Yale University, where he received a master’s degree in violin performance, Dr. Brooks studied with Broadus Erle and Syoko Aki. His doctorate, also in violin per- formance, is from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Other important teachers with whom he has worked include Joyce Robbins, George Neikrug, Russell Hatz and Raymond Page; he has studied chamber music with Julius Levine, Josef Gingold, Aldo Parisot, and members of the Tokyo and Guarneri Quartets.
Chamber music is his first love. He is currently a member of the Linden String Quartet and the Meridian Piano Trio. In addition, Dr. Brooks’ special interests include the performance of music by contemporary composers, as well as per- formance on original instruments, particularly the music of the Baroque period. He is a founding member of both the Chicago 21st Century Music Ensemble and the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. Recent recordings include Fantasy for Violin and Electronics by James Aikman, Brace Yourself Like A Man by Frank Felice, With every Leaf a Miracle by Mark Schultz, Manunya by Frank Glover as well as Losotros by Hugh Levick. Dr. Brooks’ hobbies are learning about computers and the martial arts.
Ioana Galu, a native of Romania, earned the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in violin performance from Gheorghe Dima Music Academy of Cluj. Before coming to the United States, she served on the faculty of the Music Academy as Assistant Professor of Violin and Chamber Music. She earned a second master degree in violin performance from Bowling Green State University and then con- tinued her studies at the Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music. Her passion for new music brought her back to Bowling Green State University to pursue the Doctorate of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music. Galu’s most important teachers were Victoria Nicolae, Vasile Beluska, Yim Won Bin, and Penny Thompson Kruse.
She has been awarded prizes in several national and international competitions, including Second Prize in the Mozart International Competition for Piano Trios (Romania), and First Prize and Special Prize of the SOROS Foundation at the George Enescu Violin National Competition (Romania). She also won Second Prize in the Starling Violin Competition College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati (CCM) and was the winner of the CCM Concerto Competition in February 2004.
Galu has performed recitals in Romania, Budapest (Hungary), Dusseldorf (Ger- many), Lyon and Villecroze (France), and Bowling Green, Toledo, Cincinnati and New York City. She appeared as soloist with several orchestras in Romania, the CCM Orchestra, the Heidelberg College Orchestra, and the Perrysburg Symphony in 2005 and 2007. Since September 2004, she has been on the faculty of the Heidelberg College Department of Music, and became the director of the Preparatory Department in September 2005.
Currently, she teaches at Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, N.C., and is a member of the Eastern Festival Orchestra. Between 2006 and 2008 she served as the concertmaster of Central Ohio Symphony in Delaware.
Csaba Erdélyi, born in Hungary, made musical history when, in 1972, he won the prestigious Carl Flesch Violin Competition with the viola – the first, and so far, only time. Following the Flesch Prize, he was invited by Joseph Szigeti and Rudolph Serkin to the Marlboro Festival where he also worked with Pablo Casals.
A viola student of Pál Lukács and subsequently Yehudi Menuhin and Bruno Giuranna, Erdélyi became Menuhin’s partner in concertos and chamber music. Menuhin wrote to Benjamin Britten: “Erdélyi is an invaluable link between the two great musical cultures of Eastern and Western Europe.”
As a soloist, Csaba Erdélyi has recorded for Concordance, Decca, Hungaroton, Lyrita, Nimbus and Philips records. He has played viola concertos in the Royal Festival Hall and BBC Promenade Concerts, as well as major international music festivals. He was the viola soloist in the film score of Amadeus.
Erdélyi was principal viola of the Philharmonia Orchestra of London from 1974 to 1978. In 1980 he became the violist of the London-based Chilingirian Quartet, as well as professor of viola at the Guildhall School of Music.
In the USA, Professor Erdélyi taught at Indiana University, Rice University, Butler University, Bowling Green State University. His former students can be found in prestigious positions in music performance and education all over the world.
For over 20 years Professor Erdélyi researched the original manuscript of the Bartók Viola Concerto, the composer’s last work left in draft. In consultation with world-renowned Bartók scholars he restored and orchestrated the work in the most authentic manner. Erdélyi’s edition is published by www.promethean-editions.com, and his world premiere CD with the New Zealand Symphony is available from www.concordance.co.nz.
Csaba Erdélyi serves as principal viola of both the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Sinfonia da Camera at the University of Illinois. He plays a magnificent viola made for him by master luthier Joseph Curtin in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Laura Melton, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at Bowling Green State University, has been a prize winner in several major international competitions including the Mendelssohn Competition in Berlin, the New York Recital Division of the Joanna Hodges Competition, and the National Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Competition. Her orchestral appearances include the Freiburg Musikhochschulorchester in Germany, the San Francisco Chamber Players, the International Chamber Orchestra in California, and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She has been featured on Südwestfunk Radio (Germany), Kol Israel, Radio Nacional de España and National Public Radio’s Performance Today in celebration of the birthday of composers, John Corigliano and Samuel Adler. Her recent CD of solo piano and chamber works of Samuel Adler was released on Naxos in December 2008.
Melton is an avid chamber musician and performs across the US as a member of the Phoenix Piano Quartet. She has appeared in several US summer festivals including Ravinia, Aspen, and Sarasota, as well as European festivals in Holland, Switzerland, Germany and Greece. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, where she was a student of Nelita True; a master’s degree from the University of Southern California, under John Perry; and a doctorate from Rice University, where she was a graduate fellow and teaching assistant to John Perry. As a student of Robert Levin, she spent three years in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar, earning the Solistendiplom while studying at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg. Her students have won numerous competitions and awards, and have been accepted into such prestigious programs as the Curtis Institute, Juilliard, Eastman, Oberlin, Peabody and the New England Conservatory. A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, Melton is currently a summer faculty member at the Interlochen Arts Camp. Prior to her BGSU appointment in 1999, Melton was on the faculty of the Idyllwild Arts Academy in California.