Duration: c. 15 minutes
Commissioned by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra
Preview by the Manitoban
World Premiere performance: March 19th, 2019 with Karl Stobbe and Rachel Kristenson, violins, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra
Vivian Fung’s Concerto for Two Violins and String Orchestra continues Fung’s deep interest in writing for strings, which has yielded two previous violin concertos and four string quartets, the most recent of which is to be premiered in May 2019. The double concerto concentrates its attention on the interaction between the two solo violinists as well as with the orchestra. Very often the two violins play off each other and form interlocking patterns, so that the two composite patterns form a unified whole. This idea of interlocking patterns is a concept that Fung absorbed when she was part of a Balinese gamelan, and that concept resonated with her when composing the concerto.
The work starts ruminatively, with Baroque-like suspensions between the violins, but steadily builds into fast-paced virtuosic music that dances and moves at a fast clip. Throughout, the two violins trade material with other, and interlocking rhythms form a big part of the material. A neo-Baroque-like melodic line provides some contrast to the rhythmic activity and at the crux of the piece builds into a cathartic chorale and climax. Material from the melodic line is then transformed into a final chaconne and builds into a tragic full apotheosis. The piece ends with all strings sliding upward, and the music ends softly as it began, disappearing into the ether.
Two solo violins, Strings
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