for cello and piano (2014)
Premiere: 27 March 2015 / Church of St. Matthew and St. Timothy, New York, NY / Adrian Daurov, cello / Di Wu, piano
"For Di Wu and Adrian Daurov."
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Ever since my first visit to the Palm Court in 1982 I have longed to craft a pair of fairly short, virtuosic character-pieces replete with sentimental expression and admiring nods to the masters of the salon genre: composers like Gottschalk, and Boulanger, and performers like Serkin and Kreisler. The result is a diptych comprising Valse Blanche for violin and piano, and Valse Noire, for cello and piano.
Subtitled Assignation at the Palm Court, 28 June 1914, Valse Noire tells the following story: a young soldier and his bride on their honeymoon enjoy their first high tea together at the Palm Court of the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
Holding hands, they listen to the court's cellist and pianist. News arrives that that Archduke Ferdinand and his wife have been assassinated in Sarajevo. Action.
This meaty morsel was was confected in 2014 especially for pianist Di Wu and cellist Adrian Daurov and is dedicated to them.
-- Daron Hagen, 2015
(Banner photo: (l. to r.) Adrian Daurov and Daron Hagen.)