“Medea for Solo Violin”
Medea for Solo Violin is a musical interpretation of Euripides’ play Medea. The music dramatizes Medea’s emotional state as she copes with her situation as a powerless foreign women and struggles with her decision to take revenge on Jason by murdering her own children. The piece develops a four note motif, first heard at the beginning of the work, which represents Medea’s helplessness. Though scored for a single violin, much of the piece is polyphonic with harmonic and rhythmic tension between the voices depicting her inner turmoil and boiling anger. As Medea’s rage consumes her, the music becomes monophonic, taking on a ravishing pace, accompanied by explosive vertical attacks and abrupt changes from high pitches to low pitches. An altered, childlike version of the four note motif makes an appearance in the midst of the fury, invoking the voices of her children, but it is quickly silenced by the most violent outburst of the piece. The anger subsides and is followed by a grief-stricken melody, depicting Medea at her weakest point. This melodic episode is highly consonant, forgoing the dissonance found in the rest of the work as though presenting Medea’s pure voice as she self-reflects. The piece concludes with appearances of the four note motif. The motif tries to develop, but it is interrupted with a sinister rumbling. Once more, the motif reaches out, but it is attacked by a violent outburst. The motif appears one last time, as unresolved as it was at the beginning of the piece. The ending serves as a reminder that, despite the actions she will take by the end of the play, Medea truly remains the same helpless victim she was when the play began.
Amir Safavi (CC '14) has won Columbia University's Dolan Prize and the Rapaport Summer Music Performance Fellowship. Amir studies violin privately with renowned pedagogue Paul Kantor and he is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT) with the Gold Medal for the highest mark on the Violin Performance Diploma in Canada.