• Tristan Keuris
  • Canzone (1990)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Dr. Jr. Th. P Tromp Foundation as a test piece for the Tromp Benelux Music Competition 1990

  • clarinet
  • asx
  • 7 min

Programme Note

Writing test-pieces for musical competitions has long been a respectable discipline for established composers. The only danger is that the results are often anonymous arid as a consequence disappear into obscurity.

There are exceptions. Britten's Nottumo for the Leeds Piano Competition is a fascinating morceau from that composer's workbench, all the more fascinating because Britten wrote so little for his own instrument alone. In the Springboard series we have already experienced Sallinen's unique approach - very much in the Britten mould - in From a Swan Song. Clearly a test of musicianship rather than flashy cello technique.

Keuris' Canzone - written for the Tromp Benelux Music Competition in October 1990 - provides a more rigorous technical challenge. Yet, as always with this composer, the demands on the performer are as much intellectual as mechanical. Keuris never forgets that someone has to listen and the performer is merely a medium of communication between the composer and his audience. Listen to how the final pages mirror the opening, and how, even in the most pyrotechnical passages, Keuris demands colour and articulation that will project the work to an audience. Anonymous and obscure it is not. As the title suggests, this Canzone 'sings' with the strong personality of its composer.

@ Leslie East 1992