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Vlahek, Bruno: Five Études for violin, Op. 53

Five Études for violin, Op. 53
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The international competition YOUNG VIRTUOSOS – ÉTUDES AND SCALES that has comprised piano and violin disciplines alternatively since 1994.

Following last year’s successful piano cycle Tower Études, I am happy to cooperate once more with Young Virtuoso International Competition, whose 25th edition in 2019 these études – this time for the violin, were made for. The études are progressively demanding, depending on the competitors’ age and education level in each of the five categories. The cycle starts with a play on open strings- an imaginary march on four strings, each with their own specific sound and personality. At times, the violinist marches on only one of the strings, sometimes on two at a time, thus exploring their relationships, as well as the basic settings of the instrument. The second étude, as its name Groove suggests, can be considered a rhythm étude. Along with humour and ease and frequent use of a whole tone scale, it is characterized by a specific syncopated movement that occasionally crosses from quarters to eighths, as well as from arco technique to pizzicato. The goal of the étude is to overcome the technical obstacles that lie in the way and to create an unrestrained feeling of swing. The third étude is a typical virtuoso capriccio of a positive and open character with a more dramatic mid-section, which is quickly relieved in repetition and short coda. The young violinist is faced with the challenge of combining several techniques in a short period of time, such as legato, staccato, spiccato, ricochet, left hand pizzicato and sul ponticello. The lamentation of the fourth étude reflects mourning, but the dignified and exalted kind, enduring and strained, painted with nostalgia, but also forward-looking, retaining a sense of fun and amusement. The inspiration for this étude was Marc Chagall’s Green Violinist, in whose figure, colours and movement I personally experience the violin as an instrument in its characteristic dualism: a chant of passion and yearning versus the seduction of dance. In my case, Chagall’s Vitebsk takes on a more Central European Pannonian expression, so the piece symbolically ends with a Bartók pizzicato. The cycle ends with a minimalistimpressionist perpetuum that emerges from nothing and disappears into nothing. And in our imagination (or reality?) it is born again, and that circle is constantly repeated.

Bruno Vlahek


Cantus d.o.o., 2018.
Edition No: Can. 191-9354
ISMN  979-0-801349-35-4