violin and strings
String Ensemble, Violin

Commissioned by Madeleine Mitchell with financial support from the Cohen Foundation

First Performance
6.10.12, Alwyn Festival, Holy Trinity Church, Blythburgh, UK: Madeleine Mitchell/Prometheus Orchestra/Edmond Fivet Piano Version: 1.11.12 Sound Festival, Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen: Madelein Mitchell/Nigel Clayton

Piano reduction on special sale from the Hire Library, full score and parts for hire


Programme Notes

When Madeleine Mitchell commissioned this piece, she asked if I could write a Romanza, with its implications of lyricism and emotional warmth, and I readily agreed. This is my second piece with that title; the first was for cello and small orchestra, composed in 1990 for the Queen Mother’s 90th birthday. Madeleine also suggested that I might write two versions, one with piano and one with strings. Again, this seemed a good idea: I composed the piece initially for string orchestra and then made a reduction for piano. The opening section is marked Andante appassionato. It contains two main ideas, the second more gentle and reflective. When I had brought this opening section to a natural close I was uncertain for some time what should come next. Then I read an essay by Bayan Northcott in which he points out how rare it is to find the 3/4 metre in contemporary music, whether serious or popular. He suggested that if composers want to do something fresh they should try reviving the waltz. I liked this idea and, as much of my opening section was already in triple time, it was easy to speed it up and for a waltz to emerge. This waltz forms a substantial middle section, after which the opening material returns, in a different form, before accelerating again to a distant reminiscence of the waltz (I imagined it played by a musical box). At the end, the waltz theme dissolves, leaving a final falling major second on the unaccompanied violin, the interval with which the piece begins.

© DM

Licensing Information

News & Reviews

Premiere of David Matthews' 'Romanza'

Violinist Madeleine Mitchell is to premiere David Matthews' 'Romanza' in festivals around England and Scotland, culminating in the London premiere in March 2013 for the composer's 70th birthday. Read more

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