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BluesKonzert

BluesKonzert

for piano and orchestra


  • Instrumentation: piano and orchestra
  • Edition: performance material

Description
Alvin Singleton's BluesKonzert was a triple commission by the Detroit, Houston and Kansas City symphony orchestras, made possible by a grant from the Meet the Composer/Reader's Digest Commissioning Program, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.

Vernacular and classical traditions have often cross-pollinated in American music, both in performance and composition. A case in point is BluesKonzert, which mixes musical bloodlines as neatly as its title does language. Konzert is a German term that can mean either "concert," as in a musical program, or "concerto," as in a work for solo instrument and orchestra. Singleton, who trained in both classical music and jazz, is perfectly positioned to exploit such ambiguities and crossovers.

The first feature that strikes the listener in BluesKonzert is the piece's extraordinary delicacy and precision. The piano begins alone, lining out the crucial interval of a minor third, with delicate tracery below. The soloist muses on this idea, as if remembering some deep hidden secret. Lower strings and winds enter almost imperceptibly, joining in the piano's reveries and expanding on its musical ideas. Once or twice, the orchestra raises its voice, then falls into a hush, the piano remaining at the center of attention. With great leisure and subtlety, the soloist takes up other ideas – a high, gentle trill, some bits of counterpoint – and without reaching a grand climax, the piece wanes until only the strings remain, fading at last to a point where, as the composer indicates, they are "barely audible."

Liner Notes by Michael Fleming
Details
Auftragswerk : Commissioned by a consortium of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Kansas City Symphony for pianist Ursula Oppens
Performance duration: 17'0"
Publisher: Schott Music Corporation
Uraufführung : 30. September 1995 Houston, TX, Jones Hall (USA) · Ursula Oppens, piano · Dirigent: Stephen Stein · Houston Symphony
Year of composition: 1995
instrumentation: 2.2.2.2-2.2.2.0-str
Delivery rights: worldwide
Performances
Conductor: George Manahan
Orchestra: American Composers Orchestra
2010-10-15 | New York, NY (United States of America), Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall | national Premiere
Conductor: Stephen Stein
Orchestra: Houston Symphony
1995-09-30 | Houston, TX (United States of America), Jones Hall | World Premiere
Alvin Singleton's BluesKonzert was a triple commission by the Detroit, Houston and Kansas City symphony orchestras, made possible by a grant from the Meet the Composer/Reader's Digest Commissioning Program, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.

Vernacular and classical traditions have often cross-pollinated in American music, both in performance and composition. A case in point is BluesKonzert, which mixes musical bloodlines as neatly as its title does language. Konzert is a German term that can mean either "concert," as in a musical program, or "concerto," as in a work for solo instrument and orchestra. Singleton, who trained in both classical music and jazz, is perfectly positioned to exploit such ambiguities and crossovers.

The first feature that strikes the listener in BluesKonzert is the piece's extraordinary delicacy and precision. The piano begins alone, lining out the crucial interval of a minor third, with delicate tracery below. The soloist muses on this idea, as if remembering some deep hidden secret. Lower strings and winds enter almost imperceptibly, joining in the piano's reveries and expanding on its musical ideas. Once or twice, the orchestra raises its voice, then falls into a hush, the piano remaining at the center of attention. With great leisure and subtlety, the soloist takes up other ideas – a high, gentle trill, some bits of counterpoint – and without reaching a grand climax, the piece wanes until only the strings remain, fading at last to a point where, as the composer indicates, they are "barely audible."

Liner Notes by Michael Fleming
Auftragswerk : Commissioned by a consortium of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Kansas City Symphony for pianist Ursula Oppens
Performance duration: 17'0"
Publisher: Schott Music Corporation
Uraufführung : 30. September 1995 Houston, TX, Jones Hall (USA) · Ursula Oppens, piano · Dirigent: Stephen Stein · Houston Symphony
Year of composition: 1995
instrumentation: 2.2.2.2-2.2.2.0-str
Delivery rights: worldwide
Conductor: George Manahan
Orchestra: American Composers Orchestra
2010-10-15 | New York, NY (United States of America), Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall | national Premiere
Conductor: Stephen Stein
Orchestra: Houston Symphony
1995-09-30 | Houston, TX (United States of America), Jones Hall | World Premiere