American Double to Play Westmont Finale

The American Double,  violinist Philip Ficsor and pianist Constantine Finehouse

The American Double, pianist Constantine Finehouse and violinist Philip Ficsor

The American Double, a duo featuring violinist Philip Ficsor and pianist Constantine Finehouse, perform its final concert at Westmont Friday, April 12, at 7 p.m. in Westmont’s Deane Chapel. The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, please call the music department at (805) 565-6040.

Ficsor, who joined the Westmont faculty in the fall of 2006, is moving with his family to Colorado this summer. Finehouse currently serves as an artist-in-residence at Westmont.

The concert will feature sonatas by Brahms, Bolcom and Ravel. Ficsor says Ravel and Bolcom’s sonatas share a common thread in their reliance on American jazz genres. “In Ravel’s sonata, a middle-movement blues draws heavily on 1920s Paris jazz idioms with the instruments strumming in guitar-like fashion,” Ficsor says. “The outer movements open and close the sonata in a manner which is quintessentially Ravel: a first movement that is gossamer-like in its delicacy and textural transparency and a final movement that closes the work in virtuosic, perpetual mobile fashion.”

William Bolcom evokes jazz violinist Joe Venuti throughout his Second Sonata, which has become one of the iconic violin sonatas of the latter half of the 20th century. American Double studied the sonata with Bolcom, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, during their recording of his complete works for violin and piano.

Brahms’ Third Sonata for Piano and Violin in D-minor closes the program. “Truly a monument of the duo sonata repertoire, this four-movement work alternates moods from a brooding, melancholic opening to a songful slow movement and into a bridged third and fourth movement which ends in thunderous fashion,” Ficsor says.

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