BILL ROBINSON: ANANDA DANCESAnanda Dances for Violin & Piano
Govinda Sonata for Violin & Piano
3 Sonatas for Solo Violin
ERIC ANANDA PRITCHARD, violin
Randall Love, Piano
World Premiere Recordings
"[Pritchard] and pianist Love play magnificently, and the recording, made in October 2009, in Duke University’s Baldwin Auditorium, is excellent. This is definitely recommended and well worth your consideration."
Jerry Dubins, Fanfare [September/October 2011]
"The sound is close and even, nicely balanced, and quite warm, while the playing is as good as one could wish for."
Steven Ritter, Fanfare [September /October 2011]
"Bill Robinson writes melodic, skillfully crafted music for violin, both accompanied and unaccompanied. These world premiere recordings of pieces from the mid 70s to the present offer everything from Sanskrit-inspired ruminations to folksy waltzes and a Texas Two-Step. The Largo from the Govinda Sonata and the Slowest Waltz from Ananda Dances are haunting and lovely. The faster movements are lively and colorful. Eric Pritchard, with whom Robinson has a close working relationship, plays with grace and an appealing restraint. His tone has a pastel quality that suits the music. Randall Love plays the piano part with a similar non-grandstanding musicality."
Sullivan, American Record Guide [January / February 2011]
PROGRAM NOTESI first became acquainted with Bill Robinson when he sent me a copy of his Eleven Sonatas for Solo Violin in the fall of 2005. For whatever reason I looked at the score a bit more carefully than I often do when I’m presented with an unsolicited manuscript and I quickly started to become interested in the music. I was first struck by the skill he displayed in writing for the instrument. Here was someone who clearly understood how to overcome many of the technical obstacles to writing for solo violin, especially the art of writing polyphonic music for what normally is a homophonic instrument. I was next struck by the keenness of wit that had gone into the collection. Clever titles, like “Tangled,” for a mangled tango, “Sousiana” for a distorted march and “Ho Dao” for an odd country fiddle tune were sprinkled through the book, which incidentally was released by the “Publisher Parrish Press”. Looking deeper, I found movements that conveyed to me a wide and beautifully nuanced range of emotions extending from a deeply felt sense of sadness and yearning to expressions of sheer exuberance and joy.
My next level of introduction to Bill came by perusing his extensive website. This was the most candid and encyclopedic website I had ever encountered for an individual. It seemed to chronicle his entire life, both personal and professional, describing his history as a musician, his long and difficult experience with arthritis, his foray into physics which is now leading to a PhD at North Carolina State University and his wide ranging intellectual and spiritual interests. It also provided links to all of his compositions, both in scores and in synthesized MP3 files. The only piece that seemed to have been performed or recorded by live musicians was a song (recorded in Bill’s own rather shaky voice) entitled “I’m a Physicist and That’s Just Fine”. Although Bill had written dozens of other pieces for a wide variety of instrumental forces, nobody was playing his music and the only way the music could be heard was in a format that did it little justice.
I’m happy to say that this is no longer the case. Over the past several years since the first concert of Bill’s solo violin music I organized and performed with my students in 2006, more and more of Bill’s pieces have been performed, often by some of the most prominent performers in North Carolina. His music has gained a real following here and it is my hope and intention that this recording will continue to build awareness and appreciation of Bill’s music in the broader musical community. I am truly grateful to Bill Robinson for the tremendous outpouring of music that he has written for me since we began working together in 2006. I am very proud to have my spiritual name associated with an entire cycle of works (Ananda Dances, Ananda Concerto, Ananda Sonata, Ananda Songs and Ananda Duet) and it is an honor for me to dedicate this recording to my friend and colleague.
Eric Ananda Pritchard
Bill Robinson was born to a musical family in Denton, Texas in 1955. He started piano lessons at age three and violin at ten, and moved to Massachusetts in 1961. Composition started in 1972 while a student at Phillips Academy Andover. After that came a year at Eastman School of Music, then many years at NTSU in Denton (now UNT). He earned a BM in composition there in 1984. After the Rainbow Gathering in the North Carolina mountains in 1987, Bill moved to the Charlotte area and has been in North Carolina ever since, except for two years on the road in the Southwest. Bill came to Raleigh in 2001 to study physics at NCSU, and earned a BS in 2004. He is now in the sixth year of graduate school there and has constructed a novel plasma confinement experiment. He is active in the study and practice of yoga, Hinduism, Dances of Universal Peace, and mystical practices of many kinds, and is a devotee of Neem Karoli Baba. His compositions include woodwind, brass, string, piano, and synthesizer quintets; a recorder and a string quartet; songs, sacred and satirical; Mantra Cantata for chorus and orchestra; eleven sonatas for solo violin or viola; two pieces for jazz band; a piano sonata; sonatas for cello, flute, and violin with piano accompaniment; a duet for violin and cello; a trio for violin, oboe and piano, another for clarinet, cello and piano, and another for soprano, violin and piano; a quartet for violin, clarinet, cello and piano; concertos for violin, piano, and string quartet with orchestra; and a song for nonet or chamber orchestra and baritone.
Eric Ananda Pritchard enjoys an active career as a soloist, chamber player and teacher. Since 1995 Mr. Pritchard has been first violinist of the Ciompi String Quartet, and was previously first violinist of the Alexander and Oxford String Quartets. He has performed chamber music with such distinguished musicians as Menahem Pressler, Richard Stoltzman and the Tokyo String Quartet, and has premiered new quartets by many composers, including Aaron Copland and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Mr. Pritchard has performed as concerto soloist with orchestras such as the Boston Pops and the Orchestra of New England and has served as Concertmaster of the Columbus Symphony, the Opera Company of North Carolina and the Spoleto Festival. He is also active as a recitalist, having performed in numerous festivals, chamber music series. Recent engagements have included the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Monadnock Music Festival, the American Music Festival, Chamber Music Wilmington, Mallarme Chamber Players and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Mr. Pritchard’s major awards include first prizes at the London International String Quartet Competition and at the Coleman and Fischoff national chamber music competitions and he was the winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs Award in violin performance. Solo and chamber music recordings are available on the Albany, Amplitude, Arabesque, Carlton, CRI, Gallo, Gasparo, Mastersound, Naxos, Pro Organo, VAC and Verdi labels. Mr. Pritchard has a distinguished teaching career. He is currently Associate Professor of Music at Duke University and has served on the faculties of Miami University (Ohio) and San Francisco State University. In addition, he has served as Artist in Residence at a number of universities and festivals, performing, lecturing and conducting master classes. A native of New Hampshire, Mr. Pritchard studied at the New England Conservatory, the Indiana University School of Music, and The Juilliard School, where he received a Master of Music in 1985. His principal teachers were Joseph Gingold, Ivan Galamian, Eric Rosenblith and Giorgio Ciompi. Eric Pritchard is a practitioner of Sufism who was given the spiritual name Ananda by his Sufi guide in 2004.
PROGRAMBILL ROBINSON (b.1955)
SONATA NO.1 FOR UNACCOMPANIED VIOLIN (1979-2003)
Jig - Moderato - Allegro vivo
SONATA NO.10 FOR UNACCOMPANIED VIOLIN (1979-2003)
Moderato espressivo - Scherzo - Mesto
SONATA NO.11 FOR UNACCOMPANIED VIOLIN (1979-2003)
Moderato - Sprightly - Slow - Ho Dao
GOVINDA SONATA FOR VIOLIN & PIANO (2006)
Flavors of Devotion: Allegro bhagavata - Largo Govinda: Dark and Lovely - Power and Light: Vivace shivaratri
ANANDA DANCES FOR VIOLIN & PIANO (2008-2009)
Waltz: Allegro - Texas Two Step: Amarillo ma non troppo - Slowest Waltz: Where Wings Take Dream - Wild Gypsy Fling: Romayana