During the summer and fall of 2004, I was offered the sort of opportunity that, especially for a college professor with a busy teaching schedule, comes all too rarely. Granted a sabbatical by Lebanon Valley College, and given a monumental new solo violin work, written by my friend and colleague, Scott Eggert, I finally had the chance not only to learn an amazing program of solo violin music, but also to perform that program on an extended tour that took me from Annville, PA, to concert halls in the Midwest and Seattle, to my home state of Montana, and finally to Salzburg, Austria, the city where my musical training began in earnest. This tour program included three works - J.S. Bach's epic Partita in d minor, Scott Eggert's newly-composed 'Adagia,' and Eugène Ysaÿe's Sonata No. 2, a piece that I had long dreamed of playing. What a treat and what an adventure it was, spending six months immersed in this extraordinary music. This CD represents the culmination of this amazing, musical journey. Adagia is a three-part virtuoso work for solo violin composed in 2003. It was written for and premiered by Johannes Dietrich. Adagia (or 'adages') is the title of a massive compendium of common words and idioms by the Renaissance humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536). The book became a resource for thinkers, writers and speakers for centuries to come. If one was in need of just the right image or simile, one simply consulted Erasmus for just the right turn of phrase, many of which are still in common use today. The Eggert work is built out of two bits of thematic material. The first is five notes long, and is based on the note names in the word 'adage.' The 'adage' theme yields a melodic fragment that is clearly in the key of D Major. It is most often heard beginning with 'A', descending to 'D,' rising back up to 'A,' and then descending to 'G' and 'E.' The second theme is ten notes long and derives from the name Desiderius Erasmus. Here a combination of note names and solfege syllables from the 'moveable Do' singing system are used to construct the theme - D E G sharp (si) D E D sharp (ri) C (ut for 'us') E D flat (ra) C (ut for 'smus'). Both themes can be heard most clearly and simply at the beginning of the Secunda Pars. The complete version of Adagia includes twenty-one adages, seven in each section, with a performance time of over forty minutes. The Prologus begins with a forceful, declarative statement of the adage theme, followed by an energetic prelude built on this theme. In Scindere glaciem ('To break the ice.'), the Erasmus theme is heard for the first time, played softly and rather gingerly in a very high register. A violent outburst and a series of hammering chords 'breaks the ice.' With Principium dimidium totius ('Well begun is half done.') the piece gets properly underway with a transformation of the Erasmus theme into a rather pleasant, if sometimes angular, 'walking' gesture. The adage theme announces Simile gaudet simili ('Like rejoices in like.'), with the material then being quickly inverted, producing an effect somewhat like the music looking at itself in the mirror and rejoicing in what it sees. Labyrinthus (Labyrinth.') begins with a loud striding gesture as the 'captive' enters the maze. Anxiety makes the captive rush ahead ever more rapidly until a sharp chord abruptly blocks his movement. Retracing his steps, literally, he stops and then begins a different route, only to meet another dead end. The third time, though, he is successful, and exalts at his freedom. Festina lente ('Hurry slowly.') is an extended lyrical meditation on the concept of a lifestyle in which all things are done, even those demanding expedition, in a leisurely, mellow fashion. It employs the adage theme throughout. Crambe bis posita mors est ('Twice-served cabbage is death.') brings back the music of the prelude, nearly unchanged, except for the nauseated groan at the end. The second section begins with Proteo mutabilior ('As many shapes as Proteus.'). Here the adage theme announces the metaphor of the Greek sea god who could change himself into any physical form. In his essence a writhing serpent, Proteus curls fiercely and angrily, in variations of the Erasmus theme. He is 'transformed' musically, first into a momentary minuet, then a waltz, a tango, and finally a ragtime, each with fierce writhing in between. Citius quam aspargi coquuntur ('As quickly as asparagus is cooked.') concludes this section with a spinning, exuberant, jazzy dance. The third section of Adagia begins rather darkly. In Tempus omnia revelat ('Time reveals all.') the muted violin plays an undulating passage, like waves gently lapping a shoreline, using notes from the adage theme. In aqua scribes ('You write in water.') begins aggressively and discordantly, with the violin demanding attention for itself, imposing it's personal will on the world, writing boldly in the sand. And each time the steady, lapping waves return to wipe away the gestures utterly. Homo bulla ('Man is but a bubble.' is a rollicking dance, played entirely pizzicato (plucked strings). The dance continues with In vino veritas ('In wine is truth.'), growing increasingly elaborate and abandoned, and dangerously tipsy, too - a celebration of the triumph, and the vanity, of life. After a complete stop, the adage theme enters, transformed one last time into a warm and affectionate testament to the rewards of friendship in a harsh world full of fleeting joys, aptly fitting the adage Amicorum communia omnia ('Between friends all is common.'). In Cygnea cantio ('Swan song.') the previous music continues, dropping a half step, and with each phrase interrupted now by the sorrowing call of the swan. Summam manum addere ('To add the final touch.') concludes Adagia, with one final statement of the Erasmus them - reharmonized and gently valedictory. The swan's lonely song is heard above the final cadence. Johann Sebastian Bach completed his six sonatas and partitas for solo violin in 1720. They were written during the time when he was employed as Kapellmeister to the court of Prince Leopold of Köthen, a period in which Bach composed almost exclusively instrumental music. The partita begins rather traditionally, with four dance movements from the standard, 'Italian' style suite that was so prevalent at the time. With the Ciaconna, however, Bach composed what is likely the longest single movement for a solo instrument from the Baroque Period. This epic set of variations of an eight-measure theme (or perhaps more aptly put, an eight-measure harmonic progression) represents one of the cornerstones of the violin repertoire. Note from the performer: the Bach Partita on this CD was recorded complete, on one 'take,' with no editing.