Concerto for Violin and Orchestra

Stephen Jaffe

Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

Words are useful for performers and composers and I?ve used them here ("like a boogie woogie" or "quasi doppler effect"), but titles are always vexing for me, and naming this work was no exception: it?s difficult to encapsulate in a name this special piece which I?ve lived with for two years. My work is very definitely a violin concerto, with all the moniker implies in musical and poetic conception: three main parts, virtuoso violin writing, and a special sound world. In addition, hopefully a piece of music imaginatively embodies a composer?s particular vision or expressive message, and so the words loosely attached to the three individual movements may also be suggestive: "Passage", the first movement, might refer to the little theme with which the violin opens the concerto (as in a musical passage); or to the many cadenza passages; or metaphorically to the progression from singing to soaring to leaping, a narrow passage as something we might choose to go through, involving risk and dependent on the grace of others, living or ancestors. Similarly, the second movement, "Variations", may be described in purely musical terms: introduction, theme and ten variations, a sectional composition midway between slow movement and scherzo. But I was also thinking about the beauty of ascent? (and nearly called the movement variations on a song of ascent). The concluding "Allegro vivo" is a joyful, rhythmic and singing enterprise, the most continuous of the three main parts. While related to the previous two movements thematically, the emphasis here is on rhythms which talk and dance, and, of course, on the violin.

The Violin Concerto takes about 35 minutes to play. In addition to the violin part, on which I have worked most closely with Nicholas Kitchen, the work calls for an orchestra of nine woodwinds (including piccolo, bass clarinet and English horn), eight brass, harp, keyboard, timpani, and percussion parts (some thirty instruments including the Chinese lujan and Jamaican steel drums distributed among three players). The language of the concerto ranges from the most simple and direct melodies to very dense clouds of sound in which the violin soloist is temporarily enveloped.

I?m grateful to Stuart Malina and the Greensboro Symphony for presenting the Violin Concerto?s first performance and am delighted that it is taking place in North Carolina, where I?ve made my home for nearly twenty years.

Available on Rental

Additional Information

Composition Date 2000
Duration 00:35:00
Orchestration Solo Vln.; 3(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 2 - 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 0; 3Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str.
Premiere 11th, 13th March, 2000. Nicholas Kitchen, Violin, Greensboro Symphony, conducted by Stuart Malina.


I. Passage
II. Variations
III. Allegro vivo

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