• John McCabe
  • Violin Concerto No. 1 'Sinfonia Concertante' (1959)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Also available for violin and piano

  • 2(pic)222/4.2.2+btbn.1/timp.3perc/hp/str
  • violin
  • 30 min

Programme Note

This Violin Concerto (subtitled Sinfonia Concertante to indicate that although the violin solo part is truly virtuosic, the orchestra has an equally important part to play in the musical development) was my first orchestral work, sketched during a holiday in the Lake District at the age of 20. It was first performed by Martin Milner with the Hallé Orchestra conducted by Maurice Handford in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, in March 1963, being broadcast some months later. The work and its general shape were suggested by T. S. Eliot's poem The Hollow Men, and the scoring includes a large percussion section.

Of the four movements, only the short Capriccio has no reference to variation form, for the Fantasia is mainly variations on a slow introduction (combined with a degree of sonata-form developmental technique), the Chaconne is of course a set of variations on a ground bass (changing key for each variation), and the Finale is a mixture of rondo and variation forms. The third and fourth movements are connected by a percussion roll, and represent, as it were, the reverse side of the musical coin.

© 1991 John McCabe


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