In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the custom for great virtuoso instrumentalists to take a popular piece of music of their time and put their own unique “spin” on it. Mozart, Beethoven and Paganini were specialists at this.
Henryk Wieniawski was a great 19th-century Polish violin virtuoso who also did this with many pieces. Here, Bruce Dukov has imagined what Wieniawski might have created with ”Stars & Stripes”. The result will put a big smile on your face.
As Concertmaster of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Dukov performed on the July 4th holiday many times. Of course, “Stars & Stripes” was always played to fireworks. He loved playing the piece and began to imagine what it would sound like on the violin as a virtuoso piece.
He decided to apply the same approach he did some years earlier in the “Variations On A Birthday Theme”, and arrange it for 2 violins, with both parts equally as challenging; no more 2nd violin diminished status!
However, as another violinist on the high virtuoso level is not always available, he decided to arrange it for Violin Solo & Piano Accompaniment!
The result is witty, virtuosic and a lot of fun to perform!
The virtuoso version was an enormous success and has been played all over the world. Here is what Itzhak Perlman has to say about Bruce Dukov and his arrangement:
“I enjoy a lot of your videos that you send me; not only the arrangement but your playing of those arrangements! Terrific playing, bravo! And one of those arrangements is “Stars & Stripes” which you sent me a while back. Some of my students play them for certain events, especially for fundraising for the Perlman music program, and they are always an amazing success! People just love them, so thank you for that!”
Because of this popularity, Dukov was asked by the late celebrated cellist, Lynn Harrell, to arrange it for Violin & Cello. Then the Eroica Trio asked for it in a Piano Trio version. It finally took on a new life, as he arranged it for Violin & Viola, Violin Solo & Piano, String Trio and String Quartet.
Then, as he realized it was unfair to many that the technical demands were excluding them from the joy of playing this terrific piece, he arranged other versions for Intermediate/Advanced level players.