Violin Concerto (3 movements) (composed April 2013) is a strikingly dramatic three separate movement concerto that is at once, engaging and gripping. With a sustained rhapsodic mood in the form of traditional 19th-century concerti, this piece is organized in technical structures that are antithetical to the language. Particularly in the final movement, there are overlapping rhythms and ostinati that are assembled in bold, strongly articulated brilliant figurations, artpeggios that wing their way up the instrument, and full of orchestral sweep to grand, lyrical and unflinching climaxes.
The virtuosity of the piece is in complete display. With a consistent and coherent intelligible structure for the work – one that reinvents traditional form with considerable ingenuity – finds its heart in a tense, titanic cadenza for the soloist beginning in the first movement and heavily extended in the third and final movement. The violin writing is idiomatic and the melodies are derived from thematic relations that evolve with a Bergian warmth and shapeliness. It is a compelling, fresh, individual creation – demanding to be heard again.
This movement begins immediately with the statement of the piece that transforms into a brief cadenza showcasing the dexterity of the soloist in somber, dark tones that culminate into a full orchestra tutti of grandeur and large-scale force. The language is biting dissonant, yet tonal in emotion and emotional charge. Dissonance is more of a theatrical rather than musical tool in this work. Moments of personal introspection are confronted with measured breaks of hectic motion, textural density and exhilarating spiritual flavor.
The middle movement is expectantly slow and introspective, a pleasurable wading through materials that are paired down and especially worthwhile. The substance of the piece is defined and driven by an emotional tone that fused shapely lyrical phrases to portray a moody buoyant and slightly joyful tone, unlike the outer movements. Its voice is flexibility contoured, expressive and exploratory in its disjointed and jagged melodic fragments. It contains heart-wrenching power and beauty, in a softening of manner in the soloist’s voice. Contrasting from its tough, angular, distressed role, it is almost an elegy – influences of Barber and Stravinsky can be felt in its conservatively styled references, but with an elegance and sophistication that take the hard edges from the particularly relentless surrounding movements.
The final movement is a powerhouse of energy and vigorous motion. The movement’s piquant instrumental color, harmonic lushness and eagerness to communicate in its confident, visceral tone, fits neatly into its two preceding movements, building character and drama through varied styles. The orchestration is melodic and full of crashing rhythms, jagged soloistic lines that avoid obvious structures and show a mastery of the Violin through clarity and color in the orchestra’s supportive role. It boasts streamlined, dramatic pacing, vivid luminosity and a sensational, affecting and alternately grave and lyric portrait of the depthful power of the violin’s voice. The orchestra is both brilliant and transparent and employs post-minimalist chuggin and sharp dramatic tension – utterly postmodern in its style. It sets a seductive but disquienting mood and is an impressive, ubabashedly acerbic showpiece blessed with music that unerringly illuminates character and highented, possessed passions.