First recording reserved.

  • 2(pic).2.2.2/4.2.2+btbn.1/timp.2perc/str
  • 7 min

Programme Note

Composer note:

STOMP began as a solo (unaccompanied) violin piece written for the semi-finalists of the Tchaikovsky Competition several years ago. In order to test the performers' ability to do new things, I included in this piece special difficulties that the standard repertoire they were playing did not pose.

For one thing, I changed the tuning of the violin so that the lowest open string (G) now sounded a third lower, on E: I also tuned the highest string (E) down a half-step, to E-flat. For the players, this meant they had to relearn where their fingers had to be placed to get their pitches. It enabled me to write a crunchy low E as the bass note of the violin, which alternated with the open two top strings sounding A and E-flat – making possible some pungently dissonant intervals.

If this weren’t enough, I asked the players to tap or stomp on certain beats. This was because Stomp is actually “fiddle music” – country music, bluegrass and jazz combined, and the original players of this music often stomp to the rhythm (and mis-tune their instruments).

In adapting STOMP for orchestra, I was beset with problems. How was I to take a mostly single line instrument like a violin and fill it out so a whole orchestra could play it?

Very often the melodies of the solo violin implied harmonies, and sometimes the violin played chords with its four strings. I took both ideas to beef up the texture of the piece, and did away with the changed tuning (after all, I had violas to play my low E now!). But I could not give up the tapping and stomping – so you will hear sections of the orchestra, and finally the full orchestra stomping away. I hope they don’t drown out their playing – but I will find that out when we play it.

The piece is only 7 minutes long – shorter than it takes to read this program note, so I will end by saying that this should be fun for everyone, and I hope it is.

— John Corigliano

Related works:
   STOMP (for violin)
   STOMP (for orchestra)
   STOMP (for wind ensemble)


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