Program notes

Night Flight for violin and piano, opus 41a (2003)

Night Flight was originally written as the fourth movement from a larger sextet, called “Mephisto”, in 1990. The Ukrainian virtuoso Dmitiri Tkachenko, who had played the violin part in that work on several occasions, commissioned this transcription for violin and piano for concerts with Kristian Cheong in London in November 2003.

The piece is a danse macabre for the modern age. The idea for its frenetic energy came whilst taking off at night in an airplane and the work makes reference to the frantic and fantastic horse rides of Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 2 and Schubert’s song, Erlkönig.

Who rides so late through the night and the wind?

It is the father with his child;

He folds the boy close in his arms,

He clasps him securely, he holds him warmly.

[Johann Goethe, Erlkönig, trans. Phillip Miller]

Night Flight has a demonic and virtuosic part for the violin especially. The work was premiered at Australia House in London on 11 November 2003 at a special Remembrance Day commemorative concert.

© Andrew Schultz, 2003.