Bounce (2016) for French horn, violin, and piano, by Vivian Fung // Duration: 12 minutes
Commissioned by the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto
Premiered by James Sommerville, horn, Scott. St. John, violin, and Peter Longworth, piano, on November 24, 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Bounce is inspired by my son Julian, who was about 9 months old when I started to work on this piece. Ever since he was a newborn, Julian has had the habit of banging his head against his mattress to soothe himself to sleep. Even though his pediatrician reassured us that this is perfectly normal, and that about a third of all boys do it, Julian’s nightly ritual has had a profound effect on my psyche—so much so that I would routinely hear him pounding away even when he was sleeping quietly or not even around.
The piece is a compact 12 minutes, but swings through many different moods, from the leisurely ebb and flow of harmonies in the beginning, through the playfulness of the bouncy scherzo-like middle sections and the bell-like tolling of the interlude, to the schizophrenic culmination at the end. Throughout the piece, the idea of a constant drone or thump remains constant, with a deep ostinato that permeates the beginning; playful, rhythmic, repeated notes in the faster sections, and fast, muted sounds in the virtuosic final section.
A few notable moments include some inside-the-piano sounds in the beginning and final sections; use of harmonics in the violin; and a final horn call, before the fiery ending, that involves the performer singing into his instrument while playing.
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