Commedia dell'Arte

for Solo Violin and String Orchestra

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

Performing Ensemble: Violin with Orchestra
Duration: 17:00
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

Commedia dell'Arte for solo violin and string orchestra is inspired by the Italian tradition that began in the 16th Century but, for many of us, still retains its charm. Essentially a bravura violin concerto, the first three movements reflect the title characters: I. Arlecchino (acrobatic, funne, childlike and amorous), II. Columbina (attractive, clever and a bit complicated), and III. Captiano (a caricature of a professional soldier: bold, swaggering and cowardly). The fourth movement brings them together for a Cadenza and Finale.

I have long been an admirer of Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's musically insightful and dramatically fiery performances so it was a great pleasure to craft this work for her. I also took advantage of the spirit of ten New Century Chamber Orchestra by calling for some of the string players to play percussion instruments traditionally associated with the characters (for example, a slapstick for Arlecchino, a tambourine for Columbina, a toy drum for Capitano).

Scores & Parts

Commedia dell'Arte - Full Score - Study
Commedia dell'Arte - Full Score - Large

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned for Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra
Composition Date 2012
Orchestration Solo Vln.; Str.orch.(dbl. Perc.)
Premiere 10 - 13 May 2012. Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Violin, New Century Chamber Orchestra; First Congregational Church, Berkeley; Menlo-Atherton Center for the Perf. Arts, Atherton; Herbst Theatre, San Francisco; Osher Marin JCC, San Rafael


I. Arlechinno
II. Columbina
III. Il Capitano
IV. Cadenza and Finale

Score Preview