Solar Rays for Piano, Violin and 'Cello
Solar Rays for Piano, Violin and ‘Cello originally was conceived as a Jazz song, but later re-imagined as a classical Piano Trio with the violin part taking the role of the singer. The title “Solar Rays” came from an idea of two people in love, lying down in a vast green field, looking up at the sun in the clear sky, feeling the heat and seeing the clear light of the sun, which reinforced the love that they had for each other.
The work retains the structure of a Jazz song, where after the theme is heard, you hear solos from each instrument one after the other. Each solo has a personality all its own. The Violin solo is virtuosic, the 'Cello solo is passionate and the Piano solo is monumental. Even though all the notes of the solos are written-out, they have an improvisational feel to them. After the solos, violin “singer” returns to the stage with a variation of the song theme, and then we hear a short coda to bring the work to a resounding finale.
Solar Rays is a true crossover or "genre-busting" work, with classical Piano Trio and Jazz Big Band versions (click here to jump to the Jazz Big Band version of Solar Rays.) Both versions bring out different aspects of the music. Both versions also received Silver Medals (Outstanding Achievement) at the Global Music Awards. Solar Rays also was a Finalist in the 2019-2020 American Prize in the Instrumental Chamber Music category.
Below is the video of the US Premiere of Solar Rays in 2017 in Chicago, performed by the pianist and Steinway Artist, Susan Merdinger, the violinist Michaela Paetsch and the 'cellist Thor S. Sigurdson.