Concerto for Theremin and orchestra:
The concerto for Theremin and orchestra,
The Royal Crown (Keter Malkhut) is inspired by the series of poems by
Solomon ibn Gabirol, an 11th-century Andalusian poet and Jewish
philosopher with a Neo-Platonic tendency. The work does not follow
specifically any poem or “programme” but it is strongly
reflective of the poet's mystical, Kabbalistic and introspective style.
The Royal Crown (Keter Malkhut)
And by the glory of this Thy name, every creature is bound to Thy service.
Thou art God, and all things formed are Thy servants and worshipers.
Yet is not Thy glory diminished by reason of those that worship aught beside Thee,
For the yearning of them all is to draw nigh Thee,
But they are like the blind,
Setting their faces forward on the King’s highway,
Yet still wandering from the path.
The concerto begins with the solo Theremin playing slowly an extended
disclosure of the main note series. This series will be elaborated as
the main motive of the entire work.
Bowed cymbal and timpani abruptly strike in and both first and second
violins divisi by 4 hold (without vibrato) a pianissimo "mother" chord
of the main series while a solo violin spells out a shortened variant
of it. After a short transition a smooth strings section development
begins with mostly homophonic écriture.
All throughout the concerto very long held notes at the Theremin part
(i.e. pedal tones in both and high ranges), not possible to sustain on
any acoustic instrument, are used widely.
An animated section starts with the trumpet, almost heroic but it
dissolves very fast into introspective. Small sections of the main
series are used in a klangfarben type of melodic lines.
Long cadenzas, with short orchestral inserts gradually dissolve the musical texture into contemplative mood.
Short melodic fragments on woodwinds, often accompanied with held notes
on the Theremin lead to a viola solo which closes the introspective
sections of the first movement.
Powerful tutti based on a leitmotive: C-D-F, which will be used later
as C-E-flat-F it brings the high pitched solo accompanied by the entire
orchestra which will close the movement. The staccato parts will also
reappear at the end of the second movement. The first movement ends
with an abrupt "precipitato" and similar cymbal sound at it started it
connects to the following one.
The second movement starts with soft string section polyphonies. The
Theremin either hold pedal (drone) notes or sings at the high range.
This quasi wandering section, mainly orchestrated with strings with
short inserts of woodwinds will bring a dramatic climax and lend itself
to a "Andalusian" type of texture with solo trumpet accompanied by soft
timpani and harp.
Often present is the staccato attacks of the bassoon. A real solo
cadenza will lead to the movement's strongest tutti. This texture
alternating between harsh held chords and strong staccatos features the
staccato element which is ever present throughout the work.
Soft strings polyphony of the beginning is jagged with the staccato
attacks on harp, bassoon and xylophone. The movement ends without held
notes and connects to the third movement.
The regular chromatic series constitutes the basis of the third movement. It is elaborated as a scherzo, almost sarcastic.
Extremely jagged structure which starts the last movement gradually
dissolves into a more contemplative texture. The mid-range pedal note
[C-sharp] at the Theremin is worth noting. This section leads to a key
part of the movement based on the three notes motive [C - F - E-flat]
which is the key element of the entire work.
The cadenza of this movement is the most extended one in the Concerto.
It uses many orchestral tone-colors like the Flute with flatterzunge,
Trombone solo glissando melody, Double-bass solo flageolets.
The Theremin launches the last animato section which recalls the
beginning of the movement and brings the Timpani solo on those three
notes motive. A short stretto in Prestissimo concludes the concerto.
direct links at the recording page...
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