Diferencias for harpsichord or piano by Nicholas Van Slyck (1922-1983)





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Published on Jun 23, 2013

Diferencias, variations on 'la Folia' for harpsichord or piano (1966)
by Nicholas Van Slyck (1922-1983) dedicated to Irma Rogell
Irma Rogell harpsichord
Released by Mnemosyne Records vinyl Mn-6 as vinyl La tomba di Scarlatti
Recording date: December 1982 in Newton, Massachusetts, USA
The music is published by the Willis Music Company (part of Hal Leonard at this time)
Irma Rogell performs on the Pleyel harpsichord built for her according to the specifications of her teacher Wanda Landowska.

Irma Rogell wrote as an introduction to the piece for the vinyl recording:
It is this same tune, 'La Folia' which becomes the theme for Van Slyck's 'Diferencias', or Variations. Striking the same tonality of D, the theme sounds forth from the lowest depths of the keyboard, mysteriously altered by chromatic ambiguities and dissonances which imbue it with a sombre chilling intensity.
There is a startling transition of color as the theme sounds out in both hands high in the treble, but muted by the lute stop, as though rigid and still numb from its encounter with Death. In a miraculous moment. the theme frees itself from its static imprisonment and with a sudden flow of eighth notes moves into a singing sweetness, a return to life. There follow variations of dramatic contrast: exuberance, serenity, agitation, tenderness. With gathering energy, the music moves demonically to an impassioned climax before sinking again into dissonant depths of darkness. A theme from an eighteenth century dance, seen in a glass darkly

Trudi Van Slyck wrote in an e-mail June 23, 2013 about the piece:
"As to the form, there is an introduction before the statement of the theme. The Allegro is the first variation, Vivace the second, then Moderato which is the theme in canon. Ritmico is the instruction for the next section followed by Parlando, "senza misura". Leading into the last section is an Allegro theme in big chords with decorative scale figures between the phrases.
It is a sizable piece of twelve printed pages. I played the piece on the piano in concert (not recorded) and I know it was played on the organ many times in Europe by David Pizarro in 1967-1970, and also by some of his organ students.
Diferencias was composed in 1966 and edited by Irma Rogell in 1982 for publication in 1984. I have looked at the original 1966 manuscript of Diferencias and there is some difference though the basic piece is the same. In the early version the variations are numbered without tempo marks and in the printed edition several arpeggios have been added to the last variation. Also there are sections which have been moved down an octave and places where an octave passage has been expanded. Irma recorded the printed (revised)edition with the added arpeggios. The original 1966 version was never recorded as far as I know."

More about the composer Nicholas Van Slyck you can find at the website: http://vanslyckmusic.com/


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