Silverman: Optimistic and Skilled

Ana Cervantes

“Somehow Faye-Ellen Silverman, optimistic without being flip, skilled without being pretentious, always intent upon telling us the story she came to tell, brings us back to a place where we can experience and enjoy music.”

And so, pianist Ana Cervantes clearly explains why she’s presenting Silverman’s Fleeting Moments in its Mexican premiere in a series of July concerts in Guanajuato, MexicoFleeting Moments, an 11-minute solo work, was premiered by the composer in 2012 at Mannes College of Music in New York City. Silverman notes that the opening movement, “‘Contrasts’ was originally commissioned in 2011 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts [and included the requirement that] all composers perform their own works… ‘Contrasts’ eventually expanded into a short, four-movement piano work.”

Cervantes continues. “Silverman is a fine pianist and this is noted everywhere in this score… There is a unifying thread which joins Fleeting Moments as a Suite. It [features] pitch selection and interval relationships and their skilful use by the composer… Individually each [movement] has its own character and affekt (to use CPE Bach’s always-useful concept) and its own particular narrative…Some of the descriptive words that I noted in my score are: ‘majestic, playful, always with great dignity, luminous, voluble, always aloft’…[They indicate] the ample and generous brush with which Silverman paints. These pieces [are] of a high order of compositional skill, totally avoid taking themselves seriously, and communicate directly with the listener…[They are] a delight for the interpreter.”

Ana Cervantes

Silverman shares her composer’s perspective. “As in my other compositions, Fleeting Moments explores melody, color (the contrasting colors of the ranges of the piano), and structure based on its compositional materials. The title refers to the shortness of the movements, and the titles of the individual movements illustrate their content. The first movement, ‘Contrasts’ (which can be performed alone) refers to contrasting dynamics and range and is based on the opening pitches – E, F#, G, which appear throughout the movement, in solo harmonies as well as the melodic line for thick chords…The second movement, ‘The High Line’ (named for the world-famous high line park near my house), focuses on the piano’s higher range. Movement No. 3 ‘The Mysterious Stranger’ begins softly and in the lower range before expanding outward [using] intervals [of] a major second (right hand) followed by a minor second (left hand) as the piece [and] these intervals continue to shape the rest of the movement.  The final movement, ‘Afterthoughts.’ forms a brief, fast coda [which is also] based on a minor then major second [and] is the most contrapuntal of the movements.”

Upcoming: In September, Cervantes brings Fleeting Moments to New York City with a concert at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church on the 19th , followed by a short residency at Union College in Schenectady, NY where she’ll perform the work again on the 25th.