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Vera Ivanova: Bachiolage

Synchromy and I are hosting a house party/concert in December. One of the pieces on the program will be Vera Ivanova’s Bachiolage, which I love. Here’s what Vera says about it:

“Bachiolage” was composed in 2014 for and dedicated to Maxim Velichkin. The piece refers to J. S. Bach on several levels: harmonically (it is rather tonal), through the use of Bach’s motif (i.e., the letters of his last name, B-A-C-H, which translate to the notes as B-flat, A, C and B-natural), and through a performance technique, which stylistically belongs to the Baroque era: bariolage. In The Oxford Companion to Music, bariolage (Fr.) defined as “a special effect in string playing, used to produce a contrast in tone-colour. It is achieved by playing the same note alternately on two different strings, one stopped and the other open; the term is also used for a repeated passage played on different strings.”

In my piece “bariolage” is applied to a combination of open strings and harmonics, thus emphasizing even stronger the contrast in tone-colour. The title plays with two words: Bach (the BACH motif) and “bariolage” (technique), merging the two words into one, just like the a fast alteration between open strings and harmonics merge in a contrasting tone-colour texture throughout the composition.

Gabriel Prynn is the cellist in this recording.

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