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for violin and orchestra
solo vln – – – timp – hp – str( min)

This commission for violin solo and orchestra came about as a result of a project undertaken during my residency as BBC Radio’s 3 Embedded Composer in the autumn of 2016. Benjamin Baker and I collaborated together on a short work for violin and piano entitled Snowbells (now the third movement of Five Highland Scenes) early on in the residency, and I was completely struck by the incredible warmth and elegance of Ben’s tone, and his ability to project long singing lines with great ease.

Coming to this new work, I wanted to make as much as possible of these wonderful features of Benjamin’s playing. So the central point of the work is a lyrical aria, in which the soloist leads as the main melodic voice, and the orchestra plays a traditionally accompanying role. However, later on in the work, this relationship between soloist and ensemble crumbles. When the clarinets announce an energetic Tarantella (a fast dance originating in Southern Italy), the soloist, after toying with some of these dance rhythms, drifts away from the orchestra (both musically and literally), returning to its aria themes and moving away from the centre of the stage. At this point, the orchestral violins begin to take up the Tarantella instead, leaving the soloist completely stranded on its own musical 'island’, clinging insistently to its earlier material and ultimately exiting the stage altogether.


9 May 2017 Benjamin Baker (vln), Northern Chords Orchestra, Jonathan Bloxham (cond.), St John's Smith Square, London

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