LA Philharmonic commission with generous support from Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting

  • 3(pic)+pic.3+ca.3(bcl)+cbcl.3+cbn/4331/2timp.5perc[4perc]/
  • 12 min

Programme Note

Castor is the mortal twin brother of Pollux. They share their musical DNA, but Castor introduces some completely independent material.

Castor is mostly hyperactive, noisy and extroverted. The music gesticulates wildly, often in extreme registers. Two pairs of timpani and two bass drums are the rhythmic fundament upon which freer, ornamental lines build. A light, dance-like episode develops into a manic episode dominated by a trochee figure. It burns itself out and sinks onto a low B-flat (the second lowest note on the piano). A massive canon, fortissimo, starts in the strings and the horns, rises to the orchestra’s highest range and sinks into an abyss.

Castor can be played separately as an independent short orchestral work, or following Pollux without pause, attacca. The two pieces performed together are called Gemini, not surprisingly.

Esa-Pekka Salonen, October 2019