Three Images of Los Angeles
for Violin and Piano
Composed in November, 2012, this three-movement work is a tribute to the city where the composer has been a resident since adulthood. It portrays Manukyan's fondness for the landscapes of Southern California and attempts to tell stories of love and passion imbued with dramatic emotional intensity.
A Morning In Northridge is essentially a nostalgic love song, sorrowful and contemplative in nature. Its expressive quality is partly derived from how well it fits the technical purview of the violin, bringing out all the emotional colors of the instrument. For a tuneful short piece, the harmonic architecture is rather complex, and yet there is an illusion of harmonic simplicity.
Palm-lined Boulevards features driving rhythms and quick thematic developments, growing out of the bass line from the last five bars of the previous movement. It continues to rework and reshape the same motif, swiftly recycling it in its melodic, rhythmic and textural capacity throughout the rest of the movement.
Twilight Over the Valley sits comfortably on the tear-jerking theme of the first movement as it displays the composer's minimalist technique to dramatize the heartache already present in the emotionally charged theme. The hypnotic ostinato in the piano accompaniment intensifies the distress as the music dies down in a long, dismal diminuendo.
Duration: 7 minutes and 30 seconds.
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The beginning of the piece is built around the following theme.
In the third movement, the same theme is dramatized with uneasy ostinato in the piano part and by the absence of a downward resolution at the end of the four-bar idea.
The traditional fast-slow-fast layout, commonly given to similar instrumental duets, is discarded in favor of a fast and busy second movement, where both the violin and piano showcase flashy technique and rhythmic energy.