Tim Fain

Tim Fain Plays Philip Glass: Partita for Solo Violin

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Violinist Tim Fain has worked extensively with minimalist composer Philip Glass in performances and in the preparation of new pieces, and the most impressive result of their collaboration may be the Partita for solo violin (2010), a seven-movement suite written especially for Fain. Associations with Johann Sebastian Bach's violin partitas are inevitable, and it's clear that Glass has had them in mind while composing in what can be described as an aspirational, rather than a merely imitative, manner. Glass has for the most part avoided his customary ostinatos and static sections, and his use of broken chords only suggests counterpoint, rather than propulsive rhythmic patterns. He has also eschewed any direct references to Bach or Baroque style, yet the Partita's kinship with the older models is certainly felt, and Fain's playing has a lot to do with it. The ebb and flow of tempos and the expressive use of rubato give the Partita an introspective feeling, and the freedom of individual expression is quite removed from the locked-in, high-energy ensemble playing that was Glass' early trademark style. The inclusion of Knee 2 from Einstein on the Beach reminds listeners how far Glass has come from the 1970s, and Fain's hard-edged, rapid-fire playing shows he is fully conversant with this style. The two remaining pieces, from Book of Longing and the Violin Concerto No. 2, are in the subdued vein of the Partita and round out the disc with a contemplative mood.

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