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MP3 Kelly Hall-Tompkins - In My Own Voice

Classic violin virtuoso repertoire from Bach to Ysaye, combined with rarely heard or recorded lush, lyrical ''pearls'' and a jazzy twist on a Paganini favorite: Essentially- Something old, Something new, Something borrowed and Something blues.

16 MP3 Songs in this album (62:42) !
Related styles: CLASSICAL: Bach, CLASSICAL: Twentieth Century

Kelly Hall-Tompkins

Kelly Hall-Tompkins is one of New York City’s most in-demand violinists, whose dynamic career spans solo, chamber, and orchestral performance. Ms. Hall-Tompkins was winner of a 2003 Naumburg International Violin Competition Honorarium Prize as well as a Concert Artists Guild Career Grant in 1996, leading to numerous solo recitals in New York and the surrounding area. In the winter of 2007, Ms. Hall-Tompkins was invited by actress Mia Farrow and conductor George Matthew to be soloist in Carnegie Hall for a Benefit for the Victims of Darfur, hosted by Ms. Farrow. On stage behind her was an orchestra comprised of musicians from every major orchestra in the world to raise awareness and funds for the cause. Ms. Hall-Tompkins has been soloist with the Dallas Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of New York, Western Piedmont Symphony, Greenville Symphony, Philharmonic of Uruguay, Monmouth Symphony, the Gateways Festival Orchestra, the Festival of the Atlantic Orchestra, and the Atlanta University Orchestra and her performances in recital have been featured on several occasions on the McGraw-Hill Young Artist Showcase, broadcast in New York by WQXR. Her solo performances also include Washington, DC (National Academy of Sciences), Chicago (Dame Myra Hess Series, broadcast live by WFMT Radio), Baltimore (Peggy and Yale Gordon Trust); and, through a special grant from the IBM Corporation, at the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina. She commissioned a new work for violin and percussion from eminent German composer Siegfried Matthus, premiering the composition at the Pine Mountain Music Festival in Michigan in the summer of 2002. Also in 2002 Ms. Hall-Tompkins released her debut CD recording, funded by the Mellon Foundation, featuring the Kodaly duo, Brahms d minor Sonata and the Ravel Tzigane. Press reviews tout the disc with “…energy and versatility…” - Manhattan Times and “…her playing is precise and well measured, very clean and sweet…one cannot argue with the technical expertise or fluency expressed…” - NJ Star-Ledger. The Dallas Weekly describes her as “Phenomenal.” Ms. Hall-Tompkins released her second CD, entitled “In My Own Voice” in 2008.

Ms. Hall-Tompkins is a member of the Florida-based Ritz Chamber Players, including concerts in residence at Jacksonville’s Times Union Center for the Performing Arts, New York at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room, Amelia Island and Madison Festivals and Baltimore in collaboration with BSO concertmaster and string principals. Live broadcasts include Chicago on WFMT’s Jewel Box Series, New York and worldwide on New York City’s WNYC and BBC, and historic Trinity Church at Wall Street. She has performed at Bargemusic, live on WNYC’s “Soundcheck”, and Raleigh Chamber Music Guild. Ms. Hall-Tompkins has performed and studied at many of the major festivals in the U.S. and abroad, including Tanglewood, Aspen, the Quartet Program, the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany, the Spoleto Festival in Italy, and the last New York String Orchestra Seminar under the direction of Alexander Schneider.

Ms. Hall-Tompkins’ distinguished orchestral career has included extensive touring in the United States and internationally with the renowned Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, including performances in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Japan, Singapore, Scotland and a recording with countertenor Andreas Scholl. She has also performed over 150 performances as a substitute with the New York Philharmonic, under conductors including Kurt Masur, Leonard Slatkin, Andre Previn, Charles Dutoit and Valery Gergiev, stemming from her success as a finalist in auditions held by the orchestra in 1994. In Spring of 2007 Ms. Hall-Tompkins became the concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of New York which performed is debut concert in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in the Fall ’07 with Ms. Hall-Tompkins also as soloist. In 1999 she won auditions held by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and was subsequently appointed to the orchestra’s First Violin section.

Passionate chamber musician and humanitarian, in 2005 Ms. Hall-Tompkins founded and directs a charity series called Music Kitchen-Food for the Soul, bringing chamber music performances to NYC Homeless Shelters. She has presented over 25 concerts with over 30 artists including Emanuel Ax, Albrecht Mayer, Rene Marie and has been featured in Chamber Music America Magazine, Spirituality and Health Magazine, Columbia University Radio and cable’s Hallmark Channel.

A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Ms. Hall-Tompkins began her violin studies at age nine. She earned a Master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music under the mentorship of Glenn Dicterow, concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. While there, she was concertmaster of both of the school’s orchestras. Prior to that, she earned a Bachelor of Music degree with honors in violin performance with a minor in French from the Eastman School of Music studying with Charles Castleman. While at Eastman she won the school’s prestigious Performer’s Certificate Competition, several scholarship awards from the New York Philharmonic, and was invited to perform chamber music on the school’s Kilbourn Concert Series with members of the faculty. An avid polyglot, Ms. Hall-Tompkins studies and speaks seven languages in conjunction with her active international performance career. She lives in New York City with her husband Joe and their dog Billy.

The following program notes are copyright Susan Halpern, 2008.

Recitativo and Scherzo-Caprice, Op. 6, for Violin. . . Fritz Kreisler
(Born February 2, 1875, in Vienna; died January 29, 1962, in New York)

Already a violin virtuoso at seven, Kreisler was the youngest student ever admitted to the Vienna Conservatory, where he studied with Anton Bruckner. In Paris, his teacher was Léo Delibes. He completed his education in 1887 when he was twelve, and in 1888, made his first American tour. Kreisler composed dozens of short pieces for violin including this Recitativo and Scherzo-Caprice.

The Recitativo and Scherzo-Caprice for unaccompanied violin echoes older musical forms, but Kreisler never claimed it to be anything but his own. It does not contain the Viennese sentiment of some of his other short pieces, yet this display piece delights with its virtuosity.

He dedicated this five-minute piece to
the Belgian violin virtuoso Eugene Ysaÿe, “le maitre et l’ami,” the
master and friend.

It serves, in fact, as a musical thank-you note, as Ysaÿe had
dedicated his own fourth solo sonata to Kreisler, imitating the
Austrian’s style, even quoting Kreisler’s well-known Praeludium and
Allegro. Kreisler returned the gesture with Recitativo and Scherzo-Caprice.

Liebeslied. . . Joseph Suk
(Born January 4, 1874, in Krecovice; died May 29, 1935, in Benesov, Czechoslovakia)

When Suk, age eleven, entered the Prague Conservatory, he was continuing a family musical tradition of several generations’ duration. He was Dvorák''s favorite pupil, and in 1898, Suk and Dvorák''s daughter married. During the following years, the young composer produced a large number of elegant, lyrical works reflecting his happiness.

Suk’s compositions were very mature from an early age, and reflected his spirit of musical adventurousness. He wrote much chamber music as well as music for piano, which he played. He composed his Six Piano Pieces, Opus 7, between 1891 and 1893. The first of them, arranged for violin by Jaroslav Kocian, is the relatively well-known Pisan lasky or Song of Love, Adagio, non troppo lento. It begins tenderly and romantically, becoming more intense as it progresses; it eventually returns to original gentle character.

Sonata for Unaccompanied Violin in D minor, Op. 27, No. 3, “Ballade”. . .
Eugène Ysaÿe
(Born July 16, 1858, in Liège; died May 12, 1931, in Brussels)

Of the great violinist, Ysaÿe, G.B. Shaw wrote that he was greater than Sarasate and equal to Joachim, but when he heard Ysaÿe play Mendelssohn’s concerto, he said, “Sarasate and Joachim rolled into one could have done no more.” Franck dedicated his Violin Sonata to Ysaÿe for his wedding, and Debussy wrote his String Quartet for him. His compositions include an opera, some chamber music and many works for violin.

Ysaÿe’s son, Antoine, provided the only history of his father’s six unaccompanied violin sonatas. Presumably after Ysaÿe heard Joseph Szigeti play in 1924, he decided to take up the challenge of writing pieces particularly suited to individual violinist’s styles. “That evening,” Antoine said, “Ysaÿe retired to his study, and did not reappear until the following evening. . . radiant. ‘I have sketched ideas for six Violin Sonatas,’ he said. During the following days he completed the work and sent it to the printer.”

Among the most difficult in the violin repertoire, it was immediately published. The one-movement Sonata No. 3 is a dramatic Ballade inscribed to the Franco-Romanian violinist Georges Enesco, a highly expressive performer. The introductory recitative leads to a series of variations on a theme characterized by a group of four repeated notes.

Chaconne, from Partita for Unaccompanied Violin No. 2, in D minor, BWV 1004. . . Johann Sebastian Bach
(Born March 21, 1685, in Eisenach; died July 28, 1750, in Leipzig)

While music director to Prince Leopold at Cöthen, Bach wrote three suites of dances called partitas for violin. The Partita No. 2 consists of the four dances that were almost obligatory in his suites, plus a Chaconne added as a massive appendix, longer than the other movements combined. Since there were indications that Bach saw it as a self-contained piece in its own right, historically the Chaconne has frequently been performed separately.

The chaconne, originally a dance, probably originated in Mexico. Early on, it was described as a wild, lascivious dance, but by Bach’s time, its motion had become slow and dignified. The structural idea is simple: a set of continuous variations over a repeated harmonic progression, but Bach’s realization has great complexity. The motion from minor to major and back to minor creates three large sections with other subdivisions resulting from the occasional recurrence of the opening theme. Some thirty variations in a subtle, seamless sequence become increasingly shorter in length; in each successive variation, the musical intensification occurs more quickly to create the impression of an overarching progression using different techniques to build up energy and momentum. Bach’s depth of imagination and creative force in building so great a structure from so modest a subject still holds listeners in awe.

The Chaconne, hugely demanding technically and artistically, has an enduring emotional impact. Its effectiveness comes from its basic subject, heard at the start, a fragment that grows into a vast and concentrated structure. It begins and ends with powerful affirmations of the theme, yet overall, the music includes a large emotional spectrum.

Fantasy for Violin and Harp, in A Major, Op. 124. . .Camille Saint-Saëns
(Born October 9, 1835, in Paris; died December 16, 1921, in Algiers)

Saint-Saëns, a child prodigy, began to play piano when he was still an infant. He started composing at six and made his formal debut at ten, with a long memorized program.
In his late years, the harp increasingly captivated Saint-Saëns. He often included harp in his orchestral works, and eventually used it as a solo instrument and in chamber music. Gabriel Fauré, his pupil, once drew a caricature of Saint-Saëns playing a harp that grew from his toes and nose.

This Fantasy dates from 1907, and is a graceful, delicate work, free in form and expression, effectively written for the two instruments.

Summerland. . .William Grant Still
(Born May 11, 1895, in Woodville, Mississippi; died December 3, 1978, in Los Angeles)

Still was a pre-medical student at Wilberforce University, when he found music engaging his attention. He worked with W. C. Handy in Memphis, studied at Oberlin College, and toured as a member of the historic Shuffle Along orchestra with Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle. Then he studied further with George Chadwick at the New England Conservatory of Music and with Edgar Varèse.

His Afro-American Symphony (1930) was the first symphonic work written by an African-American since the 18th century music of French West-Indian Saint-Georges and probably the first African-American work performed by a major orchestra.

Summerland, in a kind of Neo-Romantic style, was originally the second of Three Visions for piano. Still originally composed this melodic, peaceful work for his wife, in 1936, and recast it for violin and piano for performance by Louis and Annette Kaufman in the early 40’s, when he aimed to convert it into a composition with a racial message.

The most popular of the original three movements of the suite, Summerland tells the story of the human soul after death: if a person’s life has been good, his soul may enter heaven or “Summerland.” Still gave the work, as he put it, “Negroid identification,” making use of harmonics used in jazz and the blues as well as in Impressionism. Beginning with a descending modal melody, Summerland includes parallel and harp-like arpeggios.

Ethnic Variations on a Theme of Paganini. . . David Nathaniel Baker, Jr.
(Born December 21, 1931, in Indianapolis, Indiana)

Baker, an eminent American composer, received an Emmy in 2003 and won the Living Jazz Legend Award from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A virtuoso performer/composer, Baker was educated at Indiana U., where he is Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Jazz Department. He is also conductor and artistic director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.

Baker composed his Ethnic Variations on a Theme of Paganini, commissioned by violinist Ruggiero Ricci, in 1976. In it, he succeeded in fusing stylistic elements of jazz and classical music, a synthesis for which Gunther Schuller in 1957 coined the term “third stream.” He modeled his work on Paganini’s Twenty-fourth Caprice for Solo Violin; for his theme, he created a variation on Paganini’s theme and added nine variations in a variety of jazz styles. From Paganini, he borrowed melody, harmony, and articulation, but also drew from popular music, heading his variations bebop‚ swing‚ funky groove‚ calypso‚ bluesy‚ heavy rhythm and blues‚ and spiritual. Only two variations have generic headings: the sixth is labeled pizzicato, and the last, finale.

Baker said, “[Rhythm] is the prime factor of my music. I think that I’m very much indebted to African music for the way I feel and the way I work with rhythm. I could never escape my debt to jazz.”

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