University of Iowa News Release
Sept. 1, 2006
Christine Rutledge Will Repeat Student Viola Recital 23 Years Later
Twenty-three years later, violist Christine Rutledge has moved from student to faculty member in the University of Iowa School of Music, but the program she played for her student recital in 1983 is still a good one. And so she and UI alumna Barbara Michaelson -- her pianist on the original performance -- will repeat that program during a faculty/guest recital at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
The program comprises three pieces, representing Baroque, Romantic and contemporary styles: the Cello Suite in D major of J.S. Bach, transcribed for solo viola and edited by Rutledge; Dvorak's Romance for viola and piano, transcribed from a work for violin and orchestra; and Shostakovich's Sonata for viola and piano.
Bach's Suite in D major is the final suite in his set of six works for solo cello. In this version played on the viola, the suite has been transposed down one fifth to G major in order that it be more idiomatic to the viola and still retain as many of the original colorations as possible. The suite was originally written for piccolo cello, which was smaller than the normal-sized cello and had a fifth string added to the top. Bach often used the piccolo cello in his cantatas and likely knew someone who played the instrument.
Dvorak's Romance for Viola and Piano is a transcription of the original for violin and orchestra. "It is an original and beautiful work that suits the viola's penchant for lyrical playing," Rutledge said. "Having been a professional violist before he became a successful composer, Dvorak would likely approve of this transcription."
Shostakovich's Sonata for Viola and Piano, the composer's last work before he died of lung cancer, was written for Fjordor Drushinin. Surviving correspondence shows that Shostakovich finished the work in the hospital and Drushinin wrote back saying that he would work through the night and play it for the composer the next day. Unfortunately, the composer died the next day and never heard Drushinin play the sonata.
The sonata is as dark and brooding as Shostakovich's music can be. He uses a sparse theme of consecutive open fifths (C, G, C, and A) in the first movement, which is followed by a wry and haunting scherzo. The finale, more of an epilog, brings together previously stated thematic material and quotations from Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata for piano.
Rutledge joined the UI faculty in 1998. She is a graduate of the UI School of Music, where she studied with William Preucil. She has appeared as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player throughout the United States and abroad. For more information, see www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/STRGrutledge.htm
Michaelson received both bachelor's and master's degrees from the UI. She has won many competitions, including the Iowa Music Teacher Association Collegiate Piano Competition, the state level of the National Society of Arts and Letters Piano Competition, and the Wartburg College Concerto Competition. She is featured as the pianist on the CD recordings by William Preucil for "Suzuki Viola Book 7," and flutist Claudia Anderson's "American Flute." She is on the faculty of the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
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