Watch the Five Finalists perform Shpigl in the Junior Finals of the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition and read about how the piece takes Menuhin’s idea of life as a journey of search and transformation and explores it musically using veiled memories of repertoire, elements of improvisation and space
Shpigl (mirror in Yiddish) was commissioned by the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition with support from the Britten-Pears Foundation to be the new work for the competition’s 2016 Junior Finals in London and was premiered at the Duke’s Hall, Royal Academy of Music, on the 15th of April, 2016. The piece was completed on the 21st of December, 2015 and weaves together a number of threads, the most fundamental of which comes from Menuhin’s autobiography Unfinished Journey: his idea of life as a journey of search and transformation. The role of external space as a parallel to internal change came to me upon reading an entry in J. E. Cirlot’s Diccionario de Símbolos: ‘to travel is to search, the tension of the search and the change and the movement derived from them’. Menuhin’s own vision that ‘the individual must not be dependent all the time on the ready-made, the finished product. It is the transferring; the changing of the raw into what is the expression of your own self’ inspired me to give the performers greater, quasi-improvisatory choice in the way they wanted to shape their journey through the material and the space, of making the piece their own. I combined these with veiled memories of works that were very significant to Menuhin’s own journey: the opening four notes of Elgar’s Violin Concerto, the intervals and rhythmic impulse from Bartók Sonata for solo violin, the turning chromaticism of Enescu’s Violin Sonata nº3, Kreisler’s cadenza to Beethoven’s Violin Concerto… All of them played a role in Menuhin’s life and they play a part in Shpigl’s new, unfinished journey.
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move – Robert Louis Stevenson
All five finalists perform Shpigl and their Vivaldi Season of choice
in the Junior Finals of the Menuhin Competition:
General Performance Indications:
Shpigl makes use of the space and requires the performer to take some creative responsibility, walk and perform at various locations within the concert hall. The sketch-plan below shows the specific locations – with reasonably accurate length measurements – chosen for the performance of the piece at the Royal Academy of Music’s Duke’s Hall. The use of space can easily be adapted to other similarly sized concert-halls so as to retain its theatrical function. Every aspect of the piece (the performer’s choice of musical elements and the speed, character and timings of the movements and silences, etc) should be considered part of and crafted into a musical and theatrical whole. The overall duration of the piece should oscillate between 5’30” and 7’30’’.
Mutes: Plan of the Duke’s Hall:
Two mutes are necessary for the performance of this piece:
1: Regular rubber mute, stay-on-the-instrument type.
2: Metal practice mute.
·You can read the full performance notes HERE
·If you want to perform Shpigl, you can get in touch with Oscar HERE