“Invisible Colors”: Ferneyhough, Carter, Wolpe

Invisible Colors cover







My new album on Urlicht Audiovisual is titled “Invisible Colors” after Brian Ferneyhough’s piece “Unsichtbare Farben”. (Sounds more evocative than titling the album “Piece in Two Parts” or “Intermedio”.) If you google “unsichtbare farben”, you’ll see websites of German companies selling glow-in-the-dark paint. I applied some photo filters to the album cover to give the picture that sort of effect.

The album features five solo violin pieces by three composers: Ferneyhough, Elliott Carter and Stefan Wolpe. It will be released digitally on March 31, and available as CD. I’m playing a concert to celebrate the release on April 5, 7pm at National Sawdust, where the album was recorded. Hope you can come.

Ferneyhough’s pieces often involve such complicated textures, rhythms and pitch contours that players, myself very much included, flail at executing them and this is part of the drama of the piece. I decided to put a lot of care into a particularly pristine interpretation of Ferneyhough’s untypically spare, linear and exquisite “Unsichtbare Farben”. I’ve played a great amount of Carter’s music, from the Duo and the Violin Concerto to the Triple Duo, “Canon for 4” and various other chamber pieces. I love the “character study” quality of the “Four Lauds” and I’m especially drawn to the taut tension and unfolding of his intervals/harmonies, the long dramatic phrases, and the back-and-forth between the gruff and volatile and the sweet and singing. Wolpe is a composer who had a major following and a wide influence, and whose remarkable music (see note below) should be played more nowadays. I had a fantastic time performing these Wolpe pieces on a several-days festival of his music presented by the Wolpe Society in New York a few years ago.