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Wie der alte Leiermann : for violin solo and string orchestra / Leonid Desyatnikov

Publisher's number: 22575
Genre: Orchestra
Subgenre: Violin and string orchestra
Scoring: vn-solo str
Remarks: Written for Gidon Kremer.
Duration: 14'00"
Year of composition: 1997/2004 (rev. 2023)
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Other authors:
Desyatnikov, Leonid (Composer)
Work on Wie der alte Leiermann was difficult: the very thought of the need to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Schubert’s birth “together with all progressive humanity” depressed me, because Schubert’s music always seemed to me the most perfect embodiment of "Gemütlichkeit". At first glance, the modern piece, based on the material of "Wie der alte Leiermann" from the vocal cycle "Winterreise" – that masterpiece of 19th-century minimalism – required a minimalist solution. But this path would be the easiest.
I've been thinking a lot about Schubert's variations on the themes of his own songs, such as the "Variations for flute and piano" on the theme of the song Trockne Blumen, or the slow movement of the "Fantasia in C major" for violin, which is also variations (on the theme of the song Sei mir gegrüßt). In them, the composer not only goes quite far from the meaning and mood of the poems set to music, but also neglects the traditional song form, which is nothing more than the initial impulse.
But “Like an old organ grinder...” is not a variation, not a fantasy, not a paraphrase. This is a commentary, something like criticism (in the most positive sense of the word!), although what is said by no means exhausts the meaning of this thing.
The play was written for Gidon Kremer and, in a sense, is his portrait. In it you can even hear some reminiscences from his exclusive repertoire, but let the sophisticated listener solve this charade on his own. One fine day, alien elements organically combined with Schubert’s, and the puzzle came together.
Leonid Desyatnikov

Sheet Music
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