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Concerto for Harpsichord and Eight Wind Instruments

Concerto for Harpsichord and Eight Wind Instruments


  • Instrumentation: clavecin et 8 instruments à vent
  • Édition: matériel d'exécution

 
Description
The Harpsichord Concerto was written in the winter of 1954-55, my last year of study with John Weinzweig. I was also studying harpsichord at the time and had become fascinated with the contrapuntal and rhythmic possibilities of the instrument. Wind instruments were chosen for the accompaniment rather than the more traditional strings because of their incisive clarity in contrapuntal textures. My aim was to compose a two-dimensional study. Depth was not so much a concern as surface etching. I had developed an enthusiasm for the early etchings of Paul Klee at the time, and dedicated the second movement to his memory.

The style of the work reflects my sustained interest in 'Les Six' and the neo-classicism of Stravinsky (with a couple of conspicuous thefts from De Falla and Janacek). The generosity of John Weinzweig’s teaching shows in that the piece does not mimic his style. He never expected his students to copy him, unlike many other notable teachers. John was also instrumental in arranging the first performance-recording of the work by recommending it to the International Service of the CBC in Montreal.

The first movement begins as a toccata, which is interrupted, first by a march-like section and then by a chorale. The second movement consists of a series of free variations on the chorale theme. Beginning in a subdued manner, it rises to an astringent climax in which the theme is stated in biting staccato chords separated by long rests. From this point the movement moves backward to the peaceful material of the opening. The final movement is bright and transparent, a sort of Mediterranean baroque, with snatches of Scarlatti woven into a lively polytonal and polyrhythmic counterpoint.

The Harpsichord Concerto was my first attempt to write a long piece and, of course, suffers from the same deficiencies as countless other attempts by young composers. The principal problem in extending music into longer forms is in the bridging of ideas. This is particularly conspicuous in the first movement, where the toccata is interrupted without warning by the march and then the chorale, neither of which bears relationship to the opening material and merely detracts from the momentum of the movement. Some years after it was written I abbreviated the first movement, which was too long, though the faults I mentioned are still evident. R. Murray Schafer
Détails
Année de composition: 1954
Durée de la performance: 17'0"
Maison d'édition: Arcana Editions
instrumentation: 2(2.pic).1.1.bcl.2-1.0.0.0
The Harpsichord Concerto was written in the winter of 1954-55, my last year of study with John Weinzweig. I was also studying harpsichord at the time and had become fascinated with the contrapuntal and rhythmic possibilities of the instrument. Wind instruments were chosen for the accompaniment rather than the more traditional strings because of their incisive clarity in contrapuntal textures. My aim was to compose a two-dimensional study. Depth was not so much a concern as surface etching. I had developed an enthusiasm for the early etchings of Paul Klee at the time, and dedicated the second movement to his memory.

The style of the work reflects my sustained interest in 'Les Six' and the neo-classicism of Stravinsky (with a couple of conspicuous thefts from De Falla and Janacek). The generosity of John Weinzweig’s teaching shows in that the piece does not mimic his style. He never expected his students to copy him, unlike many other notable teachers. John was also instrumental in arranging the first performance-recording of the work by recommending it to the International Service of the CBC in Montreal.

The first movement begins as a toccata, which is interrupted, first by a march-like section and then by a chorale. The second movement consists of a series of free variations on the chorale theme. Beginning in a subdued manner, it rises to an astringent climax in which the theme is stated in biting staccato chords separated by long rests. From this point the movement moves backward to the peaceful material of the opening. The final movement is bright and transparent, a sort of Mediterranean baroque, with snatches of Scarlatti woven into a lively polytonal and polyrhythmic counterpoint.

The Harpsichord Concerto was my first attempt to write a long piece and, of course, suffers from the same deficiencies as countless other attempts by young composers. The principal problem in extending music into longer forms is in the bridging of ideas. This is particularly conspicuous in the first movement, where the toccata is interrupted without warning by the march and then the chorale, neither of which bears relationship to the opening material and merely detracts from the momentum of the movement. Some years after it was written I abbreviated the first movement, which was too long, though the faults I mentioned are still evident. R. Murray Schafer
Année de composition: 1954
Durée de la performance: 17'0"
Maison d'édition: Arcana Editions
instrumentation: 2(2.pic).1.1.bcl.2-1.0.0.0