I’m no maid (Movement 2), Nurit Pacht, violin & Carsten Schmidt, piano
Instrumentation: Violin and Piano or Violin, Viola, Cello, Contrabass and Piano
Commission: Karen Murray
Karen Murray, Violin and Mary Kathleen Ernst, Piano
Old Cabell Auditorium, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Fledermaus Fantasy, scored for violin and piano, was inspired by the sparkling tunes of Johann Strauss’s operetta, Die Fledermaus (The Bat); by the delightful tradition of such pieces as Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy; and by the enthusiasm of Vienna-based violinist Karen Murray, who commissioned it. The story of Die Fledermaus is one of human foibles, with masquerades and mistaken identities.
To make a long story short, the central couple, Gabriel and Rosalinde von Eisenstein, betray each other, in a kind of mirror of the earlier nasty behavior of Gabriel, who left his friend Dr. Falke lying drunk by the roadside. Gabriel, who is supposed to go to prison, attends a masked ball instead and attempts to seduce a delightful woman, who turns out to be his wife! Meanwhile, Gabriel recognizes their chambermaid, Adele, at the ball, but she sings an aria that tells him he is ridiculous for thinking that she is his maid. The operetta plays with the themes of masking/unmaksing, of social class, and of the fine line between delight and despair. The music is edged with darkness, despite the surface froth. A series of misadventures leads to the unmasking of the central couple and to a reconciliation between them.
Fledermaus Fantasy builds on four numbers from the operetta; the Introduction, Adele’s aria, the Czárdás that Rosalinde sings in her disguise as an exotic Hungarian and the tick-tock tune that accompanies Gabriel’s attempt to seduce his own wife. Fledermaus Fantasy layers virtuosic extensions and inventions on the original melodies and also offers some ironic commentary. Following the premiere, Karen Murray and the Wiener Soloisten Ensemble toured an expanded chamber version (solo violin, and viola, cello, contrabass and piano) throughout Japan. For more information, visit www.judithshatin.com –JS