For Solo Violin
(2007) 7 minutes
Commissioned by Natalia Lomeiko and premiered at the Orangery, Holland Park, April 2008.
Shamanism provides the imaginative spur for the solo violin piece The Snow Woman (2007), which was composed as an encore piece for Natalia Lomeiko to play after concerto performances. The inspiration here was a Siberian folk-tale, Tynagirgin and Gitgilin, about two giants and a young shaman in search of a wife. The giants make repeated attempts to kill the young man, but twice he outwits them through his ability to change shape - into a mosquito, or a hawk - and eventually he is able to summon up the sea itself to drive them away and take the giants' wife for his own.
The three short movements, played without a break, correspond to these three stages of the story, but even without any knowledge of the programme, any listener can hear that this is a marvellously assured display of bravura writing for the violin, testing the player's technique and musicality to the limit in vivid and pugnacious musical imagery in the outer movements, and in the desolately ecstatic arioso of the central Adagietto.
© Malcolm MacDonald
"Natalia Lomeiko’s dazzling violin playing comes to the fore in The Snow Woman, a 2007 work which is based on a Shaman story. The three movements are played without a pause, and the demands on the violinist are considerable."
Carla Rees, MusicWeb International
Performance history (post-premiere)
8th April 2017 - Natalia Lomeiko at St. George's Bristol, UK
6th February 2017 - Sophie Mather at The Library Theatre, Luton, UK