Prokofiev’s solo violin sonata was originally written for a group of violinists to play together in unison. Xu said this leads to a lot of different ideas about how it should be performed. She said it is a piece with dark, heavy aspects along with sweet and lyrical moments.
Bright Sheng’s piece “The Stream Flows” is a love song sung from the streams below to a lover up in the mountains. Xu said it basically depicts the scenery of the countryside, reminiscent of an ancient, primitive lifestyle. The first movement is based on a folk song very familiar in China. “I heard it a lot when I was little,” said Xu, who grew up there.
Though she doesn’t get the chance to play music by composers from her home country very often, she loves to do it. She said the music often uses sounds from Chinese folk music and culture. “Whenever I hear the Chinese elements, it’s kind of nostalgic to me,” said Xu.
For the third week in a row, the program for A Little Lunch Music will include chamber music by Johannes Brahms. Listeners will hear Xu and Lin’s version of Brahms’s Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Major performed in January by Guy Harrison and Jeremy Samolesky.
In writing the work, Brahms was inspired by a relationship that could never be, said Xu. She said when she first starts to learn a piece of music, she tries to be inspired by its story. “It’s a love song,” said Xu, “I would think of how he would feel.” Later, the more technical aspects enter in, such as phrasing and trading melodies with the piano.
But Xu said she holds on to the feelings throughout the process. “Love has its own sound, its voice,” she said. “You won’t forget about it.”
The duo will also perform Brahms’s “Scherzo” movement from the F-A-E Sonata. In 1853, Brahms, Robert Schumann, and Schumann’s pupil Albert Dietrich wrote the piece as a gift for violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim.
Xu said playing the music of Brahms makes her want to play it again and again. “In general, he always has a very warm sound, and he is very good at writing beautiful melodies,” she said.
Having won top prizes in national competitions in China, and high honors in others, Xu is a member of The Columbus Symphony Orchestra. She recently joined the violin faculty of The William Pu Academy in Atlanta, The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra’s Educational Initiative, and The Schwob School of Music Preparatory Division as an instructor of violin. She is a graduate of The Eastman School of Music.
On Thursday, Lin will open the program with two movements from Maurice Ravel’s solo piano suite titled “Miroirs.” Also born in China, Lin debuted as a soloist with the MasterWorks Festival Orchestra at age seventeen. She recently appeared as a guest artist soloist in Florida, Virginia, and Kansas and in 2016 served as collaborative pianist for the International Double Reed Society Conference. A doctoral candidate at Florida State University, she has been appointed Lecturer of Keyboard at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University and Instructor of Piano for the school’s Preparatory Division.