Peter Fribbins
Programme Notes
' ...That which Echoes in Eternity '

The title of the work derives from Canto VI of Dante’s Inferno:

The opening for solo piano is (perhaps unsurprisingly) dark and lugubrious, until the violin enters with a long held note, creating some light in the music. The violin note eventually blossoms into a more sustained and expressive version of the piano’s opening melodic material, now accompanied by a warmer and more sonorous piano part.

Gradually the music becomes more and more turbulent, until the piano is playing fast figurations around the violin, which has become more dramatic and strident. The piano writing becomes increasingly dissonant until there is a climax with loud clusters. Out of this apparent destruction, the violin emerges with gentle string-crossing arpeggiation, virtuosic but angelically rising from the smoke as it were. Here I had in mind Biber’s remarkable Mystery Sonatas of the 1670s, and in particular the final beautiful Passacaglia for solo violin which is meant to represent a guardian angel with child (I felt that a guardian angel would undoubtedly be of some use in Dante’s Inferno).

The violin arpeggiation leads to a reflective and somewhat elegiac solo cadenza; the music is calmed and the piano gently re-enters. Eventually the music ends as lugubriously as it began, but this time the violin also has something to say.

Peter Fribbins' '... That which Echoes in Eternity' proved to be the turning point in this recital. Powerful and turbulent in equal measure, it was often a performance given huge dynamic range, and yet every note remained audible throughout. Apekisheva¹s almost destructive clusters at the low end of the keyboard were superbly articulated, and what beautifully controlled pedalling this pianist has, but equally memorable was the precision of Liebeck¹s sustained high notes on the E-string, as breathless as a whisper, yet so utterly even in tone. Fribbins¹piece takes as its inspiration Canto VI from Dante¹s Inferno and how wonderfully both musicians conveyed its lugubrious and unsettling sound world. Marc Bridle - Music-Web International

Bodleian Library, Oxford - North Italy, Genoa(?); 14th cent.

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