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The last movement was the first to be composed. The vision I had was of the old Orthodox church in the Ukrainian village of Bartne, where my father was born: it was to this same church that the Nazis took him overnight before being taken to Germany as slave labour.
‘The bells call to you. The church is wooden and the doorway low, meaning you have to duck to enter. Inside you see the priest and the iconostasis. The smell of incense and the sound of the choir fill the air.’
This is the atmospheric setting of the music. My father’s free spirit is represented by the violin, whilst the traditional church order is in the brass chorales, and the congregation is represented by the string and wind.
Having completed this movement I knew I had to write more. I did not want to be too retrospective with the shape of the work in the traditional sense of a violin concerto. Rather, the violin should shine as soloist but also the orchestra would also have its moments. I dispensed with the traditional cadenza and gave the violin a quasi-cadenza to end the work: my father’s spirit rushing to heaven.
I – Largo
II – Moderato
III – Vivace
IV – Adagio