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Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Concerto Grosso 1985 with the Walla Walla Symphony

Mar. 01, 2017

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's <em>Concerto Grosso 1985</em> with the Walla Walla Symphony

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s enduring Concerto Grosso 1985 receives a performance on March 7 with the Walla Walla Symphony, led by Yaacov Bergman. The performance takes place at the Cordiner Auditorium in Walla Walla, Washington.

Concerto Grosso 1985, one of Zwilich’s most widely performed works, was commissioned by the Washington Friends of Handel in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Georg Friedrich Handel’s birth. The work is based on the first movement of Handel’s D major sonata for violin and continuo. Writing for The New York Times following the New York Philharmonic’s 1988 performance of the work, Michael Kimmelman praised Zwilich’s homage to Handel as “clearly defined and intelligently-shaped.” He wrote:

[The five movements] form a musical arch, with the first and final sections marked maestoso and consisting of sections from Handel's D-major Violin Sonata that alternate with knottier passages of Ms. Zwilich's creation. The second and fourth sections include identically relentless, slightly manic material, and they frame a central largo: the work's climax, its dark grandeur, includes repeated notes that ring out like tolling bells.

Listen to a recording of Zwilich’s Concerto Grosso 1985, with Zubin Mehta leading the New York Philharmonic:

For more information on Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, visit

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich
Concerto Grosso 1985 (1985)
to Handel’s “Sonata in D for violin and continuo”, first movement
for chamber orchestra