• 2(pic)2(ca)2(bcl)2/2200/perc/str
  • Piano
  • 26 min

Programme Note

Between the Skies, the River and the Hills takes its inspiration from three sources: Haydn's Keyboard Concerto No 11 in D major, the Sarajevan folk-tune 'Kad ja pođoh na Bentbaša (When I went to Bentbaša), and the Nobel Prize-winning historical novel The Bridge Over the Drina by Ivo Andrić.

All three movements take quotes from Andrić's book as their starting points. The central Scherzando plays with an altered version of a Bosnian Round Dance (also featured by Haydn in his concerto), and is based on a chapter in which the town drunk dances across the icy bridge after too many plum brandies (when slipping would mean certain death). On the face of it, it is a silly story, but in Andrić's hands the tale of Corkan the One-Eyed becomes a complex and poetic tale about courage and faith, human relationships and potential.

The closing movement repeats the Sarajevan folk tune (widely considered to be the unofficial anthem of the town) over and over, until a fortissimo climax and closing piano cadenza.

I. “..between the skies, the river and the hills, generation after generation learnt not to mourn overmuch what the troubled waters has borne away. They entered into the unconscious philosophy of the town; that life was an incomprehensible marvel, since it was incessantly wasted and spent, yet none the less it lasted and endured 'like the bridge on the Drina.'”

II. "...for the rest of their lives they would remember, together with the lines of their own bridge, the
picture of Corkan the One-Eyed, that man so well known to them who now, transfigured and light,
danced daringly and joyously as if transported by magic, walked where it was forbidden to walk
and where no one ever dares to go."

III. “Forgetfulness heals everything and song is the most beautiful manner of forgetting, for in song man feels only what he loves.”