THE DEVIL'S TRILLMusic for Violin and Piano
Johannes Brahms, Alois Hába, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Giuseppe Tartini-Kreisler
JOSHUA PIERCE, piano
DAN AUERBACH, violin
"Auerbach and Pierce imbue their rendition [of the Paganini] with strong emotional content... Auerbach has a wonderful way of having a tear in the sound of his violin. His playing is extraordinary on this virtuosic piece... Although violinist Bruno Zwicker and pianist Rosel Molzer recorded it for Red Note in 2011, I find both the performances and the sound of the duo on the MSR recording to be superior.. Violinist Zina Schiff and pianist Cameron Grant recorded [the Brahms] for MSR in 2011, but I find the Auerbach-Pierce Duo plays with more passion and emotional involvement."
Fanfare [January/February 2021]
“Interesting programming imperatives at work here: four violin sonatas, one of which is for solo violin, covering the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and twentieth-century avant-garde. Eager eyes, however, may well flit across to what is stated to be the world premiere recording of Alois Hába’s Hudba, music in quarter-tones composed in 1922 and decide that this is the main focus of interest... [it's] excellent news that we can at last hear this solo sonata played with convincing confidence by Dan Auerbach. With his sonata partner Joshua Pierce, Auerbach plays the conventional quotient of the programme with a sure ear for ensemble virtues... The recording has been well judged as have the fine booklet notes by Philip Borg-Wheeler. Auerbach is an expert exponent of microtonal music, which makes his Hába valuable.”
Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International [January 2019]
“Anyone who enjoys violin and piano music should find the MSR album “The Devil’s Trill” a treat. Featuring superb violin playing by Dan Auerbach and the renowned pianism of Joshua Pierce, the album is thoroughly enjoyable from first note to last.... [the Tartini Sonata] brings out the best in Auerbach and Pierce. The album begins with a short sonata by Mozart, followed by a longer one by Brahms, which both reveal the particular beauty and originality these composers evoked from the piano and violin.”
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [November 2018]
"Auerbach and Pierce give scintillating performances throughout... This CD is indeed a mixed bag, albeit a very interesting one. The composers hail from four different periods of European music: Mozart; the classical era, Tartini; the baroque, Brahms; the romantic and Haba; the twentieth century, but all share a certain affinity, as all four wrote for the violin in a most extraordinary way... Auerbach and Pierce give scintillating performances throughout, and their natural grasp of these difficult scores allows them to let rip all of their expressive range and intensive approach with total abandon. A fine issue on all counts that should entertain even the most fastidious violin afficionado.
Gerald Fenech, Music & Vision [November 2018]
[ * * * * ] “Dan Auerbach and Joshua Pierce first present a moving but thankfully not overstated version of Mozart’s only minor-key violin sonata, No.21... Auerbach and Pierce successfully tread a delicate line between having the sonata seem straitlaced and blowing it out of proportion into something from the Romantic era; the poised performance fits the music very well... Pierce’s pianism [in the Brahms] is very fine here and clearly establishes the importance of the piano in the work... Auerbach’s playing is first-rate... [In The Devil’s Trill] Auerbach’s virtuosity and clarity of tone fit the music perfectly. He and Pierce neatly and effectively build up to the notorious trill itself through the snippets of it provided earlier in the work by Tartini, and when the trill finally does appear, it proceeds with masterful clarity”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [November 2018]
"Dan Auerbach and pianist Joshua Pierce are very accomplished... Auerbach seems fully in command of the [Haba]."
Magil, American Record Guide [November/December 2018]
“Violinist Dan Auerbach and pianist Joshua Pierce have been playing together as a duo since they met in the 1990’s. Here, they give us their best in a program ranging from Mozart to Hába, with side-trips to Brahms and Tartini. It is an intriguing lineup, to say the least... Mozart was discrete about revealing his emotions, so that his contemporaries might well have admired the gracious elements in this sonata without suspecting any underlying grief. Auerbach and Pierce are definitely in tune with the emotional ambiguity of this work... [In the Brahms] Auerbach applies his lean tone and demon precision throughout this work... Pierce supports and complements him with assurance in a work in which the piano is always more than mere accompaniment.”
Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Society [July 2018]
“Dan Auerbach is [a player] with quiet virtuosity”
The New York Times
“[Pierce has a] singing legato [and] a fluent and formidable technique”
PROGRAM NOTESDan Auerbach and Joshua Pierce met in the 1990s through their mutual involvement with the American Festival of Microtonal Music in New York City. With that institution and others, they performed extensively throughout the Metro New York region, and recorded numerous works together for the Pitch label. Projects included a broad range of works, from traditional and contemporary to collaborations with composers on highly experimental works incorporating avant-garde techniques. Auerbach and Pierce continued their partnership through the years, resulting in the creation of the Auerbach-Pierce Duo in 2014. Performances include Merkin Hall, Carnegie Hall, and comparable venues. The Auerbach-Pierce Duo is excited to release this recording debut, a testament to their long-standing and fruitful working relationship.
Dan Auerbach has appeared as concerto soloist with festival orchestras in the United States, Canada and Israel. As a chamber musician, Auerbach has collaborated with members of the Vermeer Quartet and Juilliard Quartet, the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, and other leading ensembles. A strong proponent of new music, he has performed and toured extensively with such ensembles as Continuum and the New Juilliard Ensemble, and has collaborated with leading composers, including Fred Lerdahl, Sebastian Currier, Bright Sheng and La Monte Young. A long-time specialist in microtonal music, Auerbach has toured Europe with the American Festival of Microtonal Music. His recordings on the Pitch Label include The American Festival of Microtonal Music: Classic, Chamber, Ideas & Early. Also a specialist in klezmer and World Music, he released a CD with the David Glukh Klezmer Ensemble, Live! from New York, that was described as “phenomenal”. Auerbach has taught at the Juilliard Pre-College, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and has worked with Roberta Guaspari and the Op.118 Harlem School of Music. During the summer he teaches at Blue Lake Summer Arts Festival. Auerbach currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York, where he teaches violin, viola, chamber music and conducts the CSI Orchestra. A fellowship recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Dr. Auerbach holds B.M. and M.M. Degrees in violin performance from The Juilliard School, and a D.M.A. from Rutgers University. His mentors include Dorothy DeLay, Felix Galimir, Harvey Shapiro, Lewis Kaplan and Arnold Steinhardt. Dan Auerbach performs on a violin made by renowned luthier, Vanna So.
Joshua Pierce has been heard in many of the world’s prestigious music venues, including Alice Tully Hall, Symphony Space, 92nd St. Y, Steinway Hall, Carnegie-Weill Hall and Merkin Hall. He has appeared internationally in the Czech Republic, England, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Slovakia and Switzerland, and with orchestras throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and South America. A prolific recording artist, Pierce has recorded more than 230 works for more than a dozen labels, including numerous premieres as a soloist and with orchestra. As a member of Pierce & Jonas Duo, he and Jonas have performed worldwide and premiered and recorded concertos by highly regarded American and European composers, including Creston, Gould, Harris, Malipiero, Piston, Rozsa, Starer and Tansman. A champion of contemporary music, Pierce maintained a 30-year association with John Cage, giving many premiere performances and releasing landmark recordings of his work. He studied with Persichetti at Dartmouth College on a scholarship, and later at Juilliard, where he collaborated with the composer on two major works, the 2-Piano Sonata, Op.13 and Piano Sonata, Op.101. Highly regarded as a chamber musician and collaborative pianist, Pierce studied with cellists Bernard Greenhouse of the Beaux Arts Trio and Jascha Silberstein, as well as with pianists Arthur Loesser and Artur Balsam. He has performed with numerous chamber musicians and ensembles, and at the Music Mountain Festival and Phillips Collection. Pierce has several Grammy nominations to his credit, as well as a Diapason Award, Fono Forum Award, German Music Critic’s Prize. He was a nominee for an International Franz Liszt Grand Prix du Disque for his recordings of music by the composer. Pierce was awarded the Grand Prize of the IBLA International Competition for Contemporary Music and an Aaron Copland Fund for Music grant. An experienced adjudicator of piano competitions, Pierce has also worked with the American Chamber Orchestra Violin Competition, New York International Center for Contemporary Opera, was a Jury Member of the 2018 7th International Respighi Prize Music Competition and served for years on the International Fulbright Commission. [ www.piercepiano.com ]
PROGRAMWOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791)
SONATA FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO IN E MINOR, K.304 (1778)
II. Tempo di Menuetto
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
SONATA FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO NO.1 IN G MAJOR, OP.78 “REGENSONATE”
I. Vivace ma non troppo
II. Adagio – Più andante – Adagio
III. Allegro molto moderato
WORLD PREMIERE RECORDING
ALOIS HÁBA (1893-1973)
HUDBA – MUSIC IN QUARTER-TONES FOR VIOLIN SOLO, OP.9B (1922)
I. Allegro non troppo – Allegro agitato
II. Andante cantabile
III. Scherzo, energico
IV. Moderato (risoluto)
GIUSEPPE TARTINI (1692-1770) | Arranged by Fritz Kreisler
VIOLIN SONATA IN G MINOR “THE DEVIL’S TRILL” (1713/1740?)