Late Shadow (2017) by Gilad Cohen
for violin and piano
2019 Earplay Donald Aird Composers Competition winner

The seed for Late Shadow was a melody that came to my mind while I was waiting to be seen at a doctor's office (thank God for late doctors!). While developing this melody, I decided to experiment with two ideas that have long fascinated me. The first was to write an entire piece as a canon. Save for an introduction that foreshadows themes and textures to come, the piece is structured as a large-scale canon, in which every 8- or 4-bar phrase that is played by the violin is then imitated by the piano, like an object whose shadow mysteriously follows it too slowly. This slow echo, coupled with the piece's overall dark tone, resembles shadows in the evening, which get longer and longer as the sun sets. The second idea was to use a symmetric form. After the introduction, the violin introduces a slow, mournful chromatic phrase. Gradually the music gets more and more dense, fast, and loud until it reaches a dramatic peak. Then, the piece starts going backwards: the same phrases are introduced again, but now in reverse order, as the music sinks back in intensity, folds into itself, and ends with the same initial phrase, this time played on the lowest end of the piano. The piece was commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University.

— G. C.