Synecdoche and Metonymy,
Part and Whole;
Part I of Graduate Senior Recital
Duana Chan, Violin
Christopher Ladd for Maria Sartorello Gomes, Guitar
Synecdoche and Metonymy, Part and Whole, – itself a metaphor – is a recital that focuses on the multi-movement nature of Western classical music which is often presented to us, the audience, as single sets of collections consisting of both complementing as well as contrasting works or pieces, all delicately gathered into a new balance and whole. The sonata, for instance, consists of three or four individual movements; likewise the symphony, as well as the Partita, and the Baroque Dance Suite, which we will hear this evening. These individual parts, while unique, are each and all inalienable from the other whether in conception of the work’s single identity as a totality, or totality as an identity of also distinct, contrasting, and mutually reinforcing complements.
Synecdoche, in literature, refers to the representation by a part of the whole; likewise metonymy, an adjacent concept which turns on an illustration of what a whole is with reference to one of its constituent members. Music from the Bach Violin Partitas, movements from all three excerpted here, can be said to exemplify this idea, in particular the chords introduced in the Allemande, the opening movement, and we explore these connections here.
Music in this recital will cover the expanse of all Three Partitas for Violin Solo by Johann Sebastian Bach – the First in B minor, the Second in D minor, and the Third in E major, and trace the trajectory of that musical arc. Here, in addition, each of the Allemandes (literally meaning ‘German’, denoting also its country of origin), Courantes, Sarabandes, and Gigues will be mutually contrasted – Allemande (BWV 1002) for Allemande (BWV 1004), for example, and in sequence, as well as Corrente (BWV 1002) for Corrente (BWV 1004). The idea of metonymy, or the notion that one ‘figure of speech’ can substitute as reference for a totality will also be explored – including that of a consideration of the possibility of that sequence, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue itself as representing the Baroque Dance Suite in or as a totality, in a way that the Fast-Slow-Fast type sequence and structure of the sonata as standing for the changes and contrasts in time and in atmosphere that one might expect of that multi-movement form, likewise the Fast-Slow-Experimental-Fast arc of a symphony. The contrast in Gigues, an English, Irish, or Scottish dance, by way of tonality – minor, and then major – will also the explored.
6 June 2023
Music and Climate Change –
The Idea of the Unseen
Part II of Graduate Senior Recital
The idea of Music and Climate Change – the Idea of the Unseen – came to me when I asked myself – just what was so Café or Coffee-like about Astor Piazzolla’s Café 1930? An answer came to me – heat. Café 1930 sounds like coffee drunk hot.
It then struck me how much one’s sense of landscapes, the environment, and even sensory factors like how hot or cold something is, how urban or how natural one’s backdrop is, and a sense of all of the above all come into play in music that might reflect its likeness. While invisible, like music, a sense of climates or micro-climates can thus nevertheless also still linger in the ear as something that is palpable but unseen.
As a test case, I began to ponder which of the Bach solo sonatas and partitas (BWV 1001-1006) – set around 400 years between that and Piazzolla – also reflected this concept of landscape and heat – and I realised that unlike Piazzolla’s Histoire du Tango – there was great variation in its depictions of landscape and heat. The Sarabande from Partita No. 2 sounds like it could be played against the backdrop of a light fall of rain; the Siciliana from Sonata No. 1 sounds idyllically pastoral as its name and form suggests, and the Grave from Sonata No. 2 sounds searingly hot.
I decided to gather these works into a whole that represents this concept – of landscape and time, weather, light, change and tide, and the notion of nature as a representative totality. I hope that the experience will allow you to see what landscapes and natural – or urban – forces may come into play when appreciating or understanding a piece of music, or a work of art.
Thank you for your time!
9 June 2023