Life sometimes seems illogical. Individuals do strange things: take drugs, have unprotected sex, mug each other. Love seems irrational and so does divorce. On a larger scale, life seems no fairer or easier to fathom - why do some neighborhoods thrive and others become ghettos? Why is racism so persistent? Why is your idiot boss paid a fortune for sitting behind a mahogany altar? Thorny questions, and you might be surprised to hear the answers coming from an economist.
Violinist Tim Fain has worked extensively with minimalist composer Philip Glass in performances and in the preparation of new pieces, and the most impressive result of their collaboration may be the Partita for solo violin (2010), a seven-movement suite written especially for Fain. Associations with Johann Sebastian Bach's violin partitas are inevitable, and it's clear that Glass has had them in mind while composing in what can be described as an aspirational, rather than a merely imitative, manner. Glass has for the most part avoided his customary ostinatos and static sections, and his use of broken chords only suggests counterpoint, rather than propulsive rhythmic patterns. He has also eschewed any direct references to Bach or Baroque style, yet the Partita's kinship with the older models is certainly felt, and Fain's playing has a lot to do with it. The ebb and flow of tempos and the expressive use of rubato give the Partita an introspective feeling, and the freedom of individual expression is quite removed from the locked-in, high-energy ensemble playing that was Glass' early trademark style.