Violin Concerto

(2002)

by Oliver Knussen

Description
violin and orchestra
Duration
17
Genres
Solo Instruments with Orchestra
Instrumentation
3.1.ca.2.1.cbsn - 3220 - timp(=ratchet) - perc(2): glsp/vib/t.bells/tgl 2 susp.cym/SD/TD/tam-t - pno(=cel) - harp - strings
Commission
Commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony, Mariss Jansons, Music Director, and The Philadelphia Orchestra, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Music Director, for Pinchas Zukerman.
First Performance
5.4.02, Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh, PA, USA: Pinchas Zukerman/Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Oliver Knussen
Availability

Study score 0-571-52360-9 for sale, score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

Commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony, Mariss Jansons, Music Director, and The Philadelphia Orchestra, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Music Director, for Pinchas Zukerman. This Concerto, written during the winter of 2001 and spring of 2002, is in three movements played without pause – Recitative, Aria, Gigue. It is quite unnerving to try to usefully characterise for others something which is still being composed at the time of writing! Nevertheless one possible clue to the nature of the piece is that I was tempted above to write “in three scenes”, and to mention that despite the classical associations with the movement titles, the expressive world is sometimes wildly at odds with expectations thus suggested, or so it seems to me. At times the violinist resembles a tightrope walker progressing along a (decidedly unstable) high wire strung across the span that separates the opening and closing sounds of the piece. Pinchas Zukerman has long been a much-appreciated (by me) supporter of my work – he conducted the US premiere of my opera Where the Wild Things Are in 1985, and asked me to write him something longer ago than either of us probably care to remember. I am particularly happy that this joint commission from the Pittsburgh Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestras has resulted in fulfilling that request at last. Oliver Knussen

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