Sinfonia per dieci strumenti : 1973-1975 / Rudolf Escher

Publisher: Amsterdam: Donemus, 1991
Publisher's number: 02392
Genre: Chamber music
Scoring: fl ob-am cl fg h 2vl vla vc cb
Remarks: Voor fluit, oboe d'amore, klarinet, fagot, hoorn, 2 violen, altviool, cello en contrabas. - In opdracht van het Bumafonds. - Met financiële steun van het Prins Bernhard Fonds. - Opgedragen aan Eduard Reeser. - Cop. 1976. - Tijdsduur: 36'
Duration: 36'00"
Number of players: 10
Year of composition: 1975
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Other authors:
Escher, Rudolf (Composer)
Ritmo teso in tempo moderato
Passaggio (Lento)
L'istesso tempo
Vivo e leggiero
Program note (English): (Première: 2-5-1976 - Concertgebouw, Amsterdam - Members Concertgebouworkest, Reinbert de Leeuw, conducting) -
In choosing the instrumentation the five-stringed double bass instead of the four-strings is, aside from oboe d'amore instead of the ordinary oboe, unusual. The usage of a five-stringed double bass is solely based on the need of producing three low tones which is just missed by the smaller and in general superior sounding in quality range of the four-string double bass.
The importance of the double bass part becomes clear from the fact that during approximately one sixth of the total duration of the work, it doubles with the violoncello, bassoon and horn. In the remaining part the double bass represents a completely independent voice in the musical testimony.
This independence becomes more apparent in the position of the double bass in the sound picture, it is not banished to cellar and basement, but may also move through to higher levels. In the form of the Sinfonia, the third slow movement is central.
The work becomes completed formed by a structure of melodic dialogues, a game of calls, questions and answers. Melismas, varying from very short two tone signals to long melodic arabesques, recall each other, change and disappear. A melodic drifting away into desolate, very desolate musical silence. The eventful first movement ('ritmo teso in tempo moderato': strained rhythmicality in moderate tempo) accentuates, after it is sounds, silence. As to form, this movement refers to the sonata form, but since there is an ongoing principle of variation and absolutely no period is either literally, the so-called reprise is therefore no (unaltered) recurrence of a exposition, but in all components an alteration.
A short second movement of just two minutes ('Passagio': transition) is a slow, metric-fixed five voiced canon for string quartet alone; this strays from the melodic rhythmic and polyrhythmic disorder of movement I and leads to the silence and the loose rhythmicality of movement III.
The fourth movement ('vivo e leggiero': lively and light) arises from the silence and in the last minutes also ends entirely in silence. Although there are no eligible musical dance-like structures, this movement suggests much dancing. Even a distant, low drum is heard. The term 'Sinfonia' was chosen on the one hand to indicate the entity of the total conception, on the other hand to protect the character of the piece against associations which inevitable rise from the term 'symphony'.
The short score of this work, which materialized mainly during vacations, was completed in May of 1975; the score was ready in March 1976. - RUDOLF ESCHER

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