The Salon Advent Calendar: Day Fourteen

Victoria Crowe is known for both portraits and landscapes. In all her works, there is a very particular use of light that marks her work as hers. Perhaps this in part comes from her adopted country of Scotland; but it is in part something much more abstract. As she herself says, ‘I think I've always been interested in music and poetry and philosophy and religion and ideologies and symbolism; all of these things seem equally weighted for me as a painter.’ Crowe spent time in Russia, with Russian icon painting; there is certainly always a sense that even the blue behind the trees in a painting such as this one, Blue Snow and Fiery Trees, has a meaning above and beyond itself. The painting is one of a continuing series on trees in different seasons. The reflecting light makes one aware of what is behind the observer as much as of what is on the canvas.

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Judith Weir writes from opera to solo voice, from full orchestra to single cello, for the virtuoso to the beginner. As Master of the Queen’s Music, she has an interest in ensuring high quality music education in schools, alongside her many workshops and projects with young composers. Opera is a particular pillar of her output; the piece here is at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Atlantic Drift is the middle of 3 pieces for two violins, the whole of which takes its name from this middle movement. In the words of the composer:

The music of these violin duos has been influenced by the centuries-long flow of traditional music from the British Isles to North America and back again. The compositions are dedicated to several people who are keeping that transatlantic musical flow in motion today.

An earlier, even shorter version of Atlantic Drift, written for violin and piano, was first performed by Peter Sheppard Skaerved and Aaron Schorr at the Royal Academy of Music, London on 9th May 2006, in a concert to celebrate the 70th birthday of the American composer and transatlantic communicator, Elliott Schwartz. The melody is original, though clearly influenced by the music and perpetual tides of the Hebrides