for violin and chamber orchestra(2015)
|Commissioned by Patricia Kopatchinskaja and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
|November 5, 2015; Ordway Concert Hall, Saint Paul, MN; Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra • Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin • Tito Muñoz, conductor
The concerto was written for violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, who commissioned the work along with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. The piece is scored for solo violin and an ensemble of thirteen instruments (flute, oboe, clarinet in Bb, bass clarinet, bassoon, horn in F, trumpet in C, piano, two violins, viola, violoncello and double bass). Structured in four movements the concerto is approximately thirty-five minutes in duration: the first two movements at approximately seven minutes each, the third movement approximately seventeen minutes, and the final movement the shortest, at just about four minutes. Along with On the Threshold of Winter, I hope we get a chance to visit soon, and several other pieces, the concerto continues a series of works I've written in response to the death of a friend, whose passing occurred in 2009. While it is often noted that time heals, or at least calms the immediacy of grief's presence, it has not in this case. If anything, with the passage of time I miss her more, and the sensation of a void remains acute. While composing the concerto I thought often of a haunting bronze sculpture by the Pennsylvania sculptor Christopher Cairns, which he calls Stanchion. In addition to the sculpted figure, fragments from Thomas Hardy's poems A Commonplace Day and The Church and the Wedding provided inspiration:
The day is turning ghost ...
I part the fire-gnawed logs,
Rake forth the embers, spoil the busy flames, and lay the ends
Upon the shining dogs;
Further and further from the nooks the twilights's stride extends,
And beamless black impends ...
And when the nights moan like the wailings
Of souls sore-tried,
The folk say who pass the church-palings
They hear inside
Strange sounds of anger and sadness
That cut the heart's core,
And shaken words bitter to madness;
And then no more.
– Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)