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David Yeagley

New Solo Violin Music

March 25, 2009 at 8:25 PM

My name is Dr. David A. Yeagley.  This is my first post on, and I am very happy to have the privilege, for which I duly thank Ms. Niles, editor.  I can think of few experiences in life more touching than the sound of the violin.   I was originally captivated by the Bach solo violin works, but that was years ago.  As a composer, I have only now begun to explore solo violin for myself. 

I have recently complete a collection of five solo violin works, Meditations & Rhapsodies.  Two of these have already been performed, publicly, and I include here links to both.  

Meditation and Rhapsody No. 1  (Lina Bahn, violinist)

Meditation and Rhapsody No. 2  (James Stern, violinist)

There are three more which have not been peformed, or even studied.  (They are all in print, however.)  I'm sure there will be more.  I should be most interested in the general opinion of violinists in regard to these pieces.  I have written orchestral works, but these are my first violin solo works. 

Before I say anything further about the nature of these compositions, from the aspect of musical evalution, I would be most appreciative of any reactions of performers to the two examples linked above.   Please comment.

From Royce Faina
Posted on March 26, 2009 at 2:36 PM

I enjoyed your works immensely!  I have been playing for a year and a half coming off a 23 year hiatus.  So my input is very limited as to what I can offer.  What kept coming too me durring the first two pieces, Meditation & Rhapsody, were mental pictures being painted but with sound. Lots of colours and textures complamenting one another but with just enough diametric oposition as to add ballance.  I some ways George Rochberg came to mind durring the Rhapsody #1 and wondered if you have listened to any of his works.  Daniel Pinkum also came to mind.  As I said, I'm limited as to input, but as a listener and lover of the violin this is my best.

And Welcome to Violinist-dot-com!  I look forwards to your posts.


From David Yeagley
Posted on March 26, 2009 at 6:18 PM

I have to say, I am not actually a fan of much contemporary music, and I am not familiar with modern, contemporary violin work.  I studied with Kristoff Penderecki, when he was still at Yale, but, I did not pick up on the craze of exploring new sound production on classical instruments. 

What I AM experimenting with is a new tonal system.  A new harmonic organization.  Obviously, my actual musica shapes and gestures are Romantic; however, I hope the harmonic procedures were of interest.  I'm sure, too, that you were not surprised by any particularly new technique on the old violin.  Pretty conventional all the way around--except for the harmonic successions.

A capella.  Violin.  This it the perfect venue for my explorations right now, though I have written symphonic works, vocal works, and even an opera.  Violin is what keeps me focused.  I'm so happy you didn't say, "Man!  What hackneyed, boring violin music!"  

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on March 26, 2009 at 11:03 PM

For a person who didn't compose much "modern" music, it's really in the style and well composed!   You really seem to know much about the violin and the violinists were excellent too:)

Good luck!


From David Yeagley
Posted on March 27, 2009 at 2:02 AM

Well!  This is encouraging!   Thank you!

It is love of the violin, the sound, the expression--this guides me, more than anything else.  It is inimitable.   I've never held a violin, or studied it, or had any lessons about it.  Its own beauty guides my ear. 

From Bill Busen
Posted on March 27, 2009 at 3:09 AM

I got a chance to sing your teacher's Credo here at Illinois, and it really grew on me.  Welcome to!

From David Yeagley
Posted on March 27, 2009 at 3:02 PM

Pederecki was a trip.  He didn't like me, but, to this day, he remembers me, or so I'm told.  (He endorse my opera score back in 2002 or shortly there after, as did Zubin Mehta.)   

At the beginning of the composers seminar, he said, of my music, "You are wronk!  Jest wronk!"  Later on, mid-semester, he said, "I don't know that you are right..."    At the end of the semester, he said, "I don't like your kind of music!"    

Well, that's when I was still using tertian harmony in a pretty conventional way.  The true contemporary composer eschews past organization.  I didn't break into new harmonic concepts until I studied with Dan Asia, at the University of Arizona (for my doctorate).   Any semblance of true modernity in my music I owe very much to Dan Asia.  

What I love about violin is, not only the melodic beauty, but, you can assimilate harmonic suggestion, even though it is basically a melodic phenomenon.  It is the perfect instrument for me, at least at this time in my development as a composer.

The beauty of violin is deep and strong.  Modernity cannot destroy it.  Beauty is a natural phenomenon.  Intellectual concepts to the contrary will never survive except in artificial environments--like the university!  Ha, ha!   

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