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Duration: 8 minutes

CAOINE (1980)
for Solo Violin

"Caoine" (pronounced keen) is the Gaelic word for the wail or dirge sung by professional mourners in old Ireland. This traditional form (and Hartke's piece) consists of a repeated refrain and verses derived from it. The composer drew his inspiration from two aspects of old Irish folk music: from its modes and from the articulation of traditional fiddling. The speech-like texture of the music is striking. Its lugubrious rhetoric moves from heightened expression to expanded and compressed lamentation. Certain passages of this piece, concentrated despite its extreme range and astringent intervals, recall the devil's jagged violin passages in Stravinsky's Histoire du soldat, as if the mourners were dispatching the deceased with a touch of schadenfreude: "We are still alive!"




Recorded by Michelle Makarski, on
ECM New Series
1587

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