Violinist Alda Dizdari and pianist Tom Blach perform Robin Holloway’s Violin Sonata alongside works by Schubert, Faure and Ravel at Southbank Centre on Thursday 2 July. The concert also features four of Donnagh McKenna’s huge, bright canvases. Alda talks about playing Robin Holloway’s challenging and dramatic music, and bringing music and visual art together on stage:
When I asked Robin Holloway, the brilliant British composer, about his creative inspiration for writing for the violin the response was very clear, ‘Life’, with all its facets, is his inspiration. He said:
‘I am often inspired, direct or oblique, by life, literature, landscapes & cityscapes, paintings, reflections, etc: but more often still by music itself—the innateness of it.’
For me as a performer, this statement is an important one. It makes the process of creation much wider, luminous, eclectic, much more real.
Robin’s solo violin sonata is one of the most challenging works I have been working on since tackling the Bartok solo violin sonata or the works of Bach, two composers who inspired this piece.
And the challenges, as in the Bartok and Bach, are not only technical, but more so emotional.
To capture the source of inspiration is like capturing a prism with all its facets, the diversity, colours, drama, beauty and ugliness, the myriad of expressions have to come out of the instrument in a fluent and clear way. The communication has to be clear for the audience, flawless for the structure of the piece. The responsibility is immense.
The art of Dounnagh McKenna gives me the same type of inspiration, his gigantic work with its abstract language somehow shares the same power of expression. Even the language used to describe his work is similar to that used about Robin Holloway’s sonata: strong colourful language, drama, beauty, diversity, contradiction.
I didn’t have the chance to know Donnagh while he was alive but I am pretty sure, judging from his work, that his creative inspiration was stirred up by life, by all that surrounded him, and he experienced it and expressed it full of passion and with obsessive dedication to his art.
It will be a very interesting experience for me as a performer, but more so, for the audience, to take in the music and the art and to see how these two different art forms come together to create a unified vision about the world we live in, life, beauty and everything we hold dear in our existence.
By Alda Dizdari