Films, Audio & Samples
Anthony Ritchie: Violin Con...Embedded video
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Upbeat interview with Bella...Embedded audio
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The first movement of the concerto is lyrical in nature, the violin maintaining an expressive line most of the way through. At the start, the violin is like a voice singing in a dim-lit room, surrounded by shadows that rise and fall. A short violin solo follows, featuring anguished chords, before the shadows return. This leads to a new theme underpinned by marimba and harp, reminiscent of the sounds of the gamelan. Emotion is controlled here, before being released in a short climax that follows. In the middle section of the movement the shadows reappear but distorted, and transform into a bizarre dance-like idea. The violin is forced to dance along, before the music morphs back into the gamelan-like theme and the movement sprawls to an end.
Counter-balancing the long, somber first movement is a short and impish second movement that links directly into a fast finale. A dialogue between timpani and solo violin is set up at the start and becomes a feature of these two movements. The violin is bird-like in its gestures, flickering from one idea to another, while the timpani and strings are initially earth-bound and crude. This leads to a trumpet theme based on a 5-note scale, simple and joyful in character. The violin continues to lead the orchestra on a merry dance until the climax, where the trumpet theme is undercut by a bass-line in the wrong key. A cadenza for violin and timpani links the music directly into the third movement, a fast dance-like piece featuring themes that have an ethnic quality. The main melody is based on the mixolydian scale and uses cross-rhythm to break up regular patterns. After the orchestra has joined in with its own variation, the brass announces a rollicking second theme, followed by a spiky melody on violin, accompanied by strings. A developmental section follows where all three melodies are discussed, climaxing in another cadenza. Finally the soloist shakes off the rumblings from the timpani, and diverts into a quirky triple-time passage. Just as the strings join in the soloist suddenly goes back to the main theme, and the concerto is brought to a speedy conclusion.
31 May 2014: Southern Sinfonia presents Bella Hristova