Download Full Text (1.2 MB)

Publication Date

Spring 4-26-2009

Year of Release



Elizabeth Reed Smith, violin

Leslie Petteys, piano

assisted by: Blake Racer, voice

Program Notes:

Polish composer Józef Elsner is known primarily for his role as composition teacher and mentor to pianist/composer Frederic Chopin. Born in Silesia, Elsner studied violin, voice and organ, as well as theology and medicine, before deciding to focus on music. He headed the Warsaw Opera for 25 years and was the founder of the Warsaw Conservatory, where Chopin studied with him. At the time Elsner wrote in his diary, "Chopin, Frederic, third-year student, amazing capabilities, musical genius." He owned a music publishing shop, publishing collections of Polish songs, and incorporated elements of Polish folk music into many of his works. A prolific composer, his output includes operas, symphonies, choral works, and chamber music. The F Major Violin Sonata is the first of a set of three in the Viennese style.

Born in Moscow, Sophie Eckhardt-Gramatté studied violin, piano, and composition at the Paris Conservatory. She married the painter Walter Gramatté, who died after only nine years of marriage. Five years later she married the journalist and art historian Ferdinand Eckhardt, and they moved first to Vienna and then to Canada. Her Ten Caprices for Solo Violin were written in the early years of her adult life, and each has a story to tell. Caprice IV, "la isla de oro" (the golden island) was written in the summer of 1927 between two concerts on the miraculous island of Mallorca and was premiered at the second concert the following night.

During World War I Sir Edward Elgar produced both patriotic works and several monumental chamber works, including the Violin Sonata, Op. 82, finished in September 1918. He and his wife had recently moved to a rural cottage in Sussex, where Elgar walked in the woods daily, and it is likely that the landscape had a profound effect on his composition. Violinist W.H. Reed, who premiered the sonata, wrote of a visit to the cottage shortly after completion of the first movement: "At the top of the hill, looming on the skyline, was what at first sight I took to be a statue; but as we drew nearer I saw it was a tall woodman leaning upon an axe with a very long handle. The picture was perfect and the pose magnificent ... Sir Edward could not wait another moment to introduce me to the very heart of these woods, and to tell me about the woodcraft which he had been learning."

Reflections in D was written and recorded by Duke Ellington for the record "Piano Reflections" in 1953, a week before he and his band recorded his final hit single, Satin Doll. This introspective work has an almost classical feel. Don't Get Around Much Anymore, with lyrics by Bob Russell, was originally titled ''Never No Lament.'' It was first recorded by Ellington and his band in 1940; he later arranged it for solo piano.

American composer Eric Ewazen studied at the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School and is currently a member of the Juilliard faculty. A recipient of numerous composition awards and prizes, his works have been commissioned and performed by chamber ensembles and orchestras around the world. His chamber music and sonatas for wind and brass instruments are already staples of the repertory. My Fiddle is based on a poem by American writer and poet James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916), Whose poems were considered so inspiring that in 1915 the Secretary of the Interior suggested that one of his poems be read in each schoolhouse in the land.

Georges Enesco (the French form of his name; also known as George Enescu) was Roumania's greatest composer, and one of the greatest violinists of his generation. Based both in France and Roumania for much of his professional life, he wrote music in both styles. The two popular Roumanian Rhapsodies for orchestra (written in 1901) became something of an albatross around his neck because of their popularity, and he resented the way they dominated his reputation. He included Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1 on his farewell concert with the New York Philharmonic in 1950, This transcription for violin and piano is by Marcel Stern, winner of the 1936 Prix de Rome composition contest and a prolific composer of film scores.

Acknowledgements: Paul Dempsey, Kristen Pino


Smith Recital Hall

Library of Congress Authorities

Elsner, Józef, 1769-1854. Sonatas, violin, piano, op. 10. No. 1

Eckhardt-Gramatté, S. C. (Sophie-Carmen), 1899-1974. Caprices, piano, no. 4

Enesco, Georges, 1881-1955. Rhapsodies roumaines


recitals, chamber music, violin, piano, voice


Arts and Humanities | Fine Arts | Music | Music Performance

Marshall University Music Department Presents The Nevelson Duo, Elizabeth Reed Smith, violin, Leslie Petteys, piano, assisted by Blake Racer, voice, in