Concertino for Violin and Orchestra (2005) - 12'
solo vln + 0202 2200 Timp Strings
Commissioned by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra
Premiered October 2005 by Jaime Laredo, violin and David Ludwig, conductor
Top 10 most performed orchestral works by a living composer in 2005 (League of American Orchestras)
I wrote Concertino as the second piece of my happy and fruitful collaboration with Jaime Laredo and the Vermont Symphony during my time as their Meet the Composer Composer in Residence. Concertino is a word with many meanings, referring to the tradition of the “Konzertstück” (a short piece for solo instrument and orchestra) and the genre of the Baroque dance suite. I also explored a third musical definition describing a core group of soloists set against the backdrop of the orchestra.
Concertino is divided into three short movements linked by themes and similar harmonies. The very opening of the piece features the first statement of the leaping theme that repeats in various ways throughout the whole work. Two chords define the harmony of the piece — and all through the aria of the second movement these chords get unraveled into a long scale and repeated.
The first movement opens the piece with a forward moving and bright “overture.” The second, first with the feeling of spoken words and then singing, is a recitative and aria. The last movement, a mostly brisk and light “gigue,” ends as suddenly as the piece begins. In staying true to the idea of the “Konzertstück,” Concertino is intended to be a concert opener or short accompaniment to a concerto.
Concertino was commissioned by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Jaime Laredo, music director, for the 2005 “Made in Vermont Music Festival” statewide concert tour. That year it was listed as one of the top 10 most frequently performed orchestra pieces, as noted by the League of American Orchestras.
“Standing at the helm of the orchestra as Laredo played his Stradivarius, Ludwig guided the orchestra through a captivating first movement where a single melodic theme introduced by the soloist was repeated in overlap by the principals. A tremolo in the lower strings made the second movement sound as if submerged under water until Laredo made his way through the texture embarking on a long but reserved solo passage that showed clearly what remarkable talent lay in waiting behind this stunning simplicity. The third movement of Ludwig’s Concertino dazzled with more challenging composition for the soloist.” –The Middlebury Campus