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The Voice Inside

for violin, soprano and orchestra

Year:  2001   ·  Duration:  23m
Instrumentation:  222*2*; 3211; perc.; strings | (Perc: temple blocks)

Year:  2001
Duration:  23m
Instrumentation  222*2*; 3211; perc.; string...

Composer:   Lyell Cresswell


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The Voice Inside, a concerto for violin, soprano and orchestra, was commissioned by the BBC and comprises settings of seven poems by Ron Butlin relating to the violin.

The various movements of the concerto explore different relationships between the two soloists and the orchestra. The soprano is mostly unaccompanied in the first movement, but as life is breathed into the violin it refuses to be hushed by the voice. The first scherzo is a game of tag and catch between the two soloists, with the orchestra acting as a referee. As befits a concerto, confrontation between violinist and orchestra begins the third movement. This grows into a three-way conflict once the soprano enters. The slow movement is an intense cantilena for the two soloists, with, for the most part, light orchestral accompaniment. In the second scherzo flashy violin writing alternates with orchestral outbursts and the soprano's attempt to reel off the names of virtuoso violinists. The burlesque, with its reference to twelve equal tones, makes some misguided allusions to the Violin Concerto by Alban Berg, and the last movement is a desperate plea,simply asking to be heard.

Notes taken from Cresswell: The Voice Inside, NAXOS 8.570824

Commissioned note

Commissioned by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Contents note

I. Invocation
II. Scherzo I
III. Vigorous
IV. Slow Movement
V. Scherzo II
VI. Burlesque
VII. Plea

Text note

Poems by Ron Butlin

Performance history

22 Mar 2002: Performed by BBC Scottish Symphony ORchestra, Julie Moffat (soprano), Elizabeth Layton (violin), cond. Ivan Volknov; BBC Invitation Concert, Glasgow, Scotland

Performed by Madeleine Pierard (mezzo-soprano), Vesa-Matti Leppanen (violin) and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with conductor James Judd, recorded at the Wellington Town Hall in Wellington on 16th and 17th in August, 2007

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