4 Seasons (pieces on Romantic and Celtic Themes), for String Orchestra with obligato Solo Violin


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David Johnstone – Four Seasons (Pieces on Romantic and Celtic Themes), for String Orchestra with obligato Solo Violin


Performance time approx. 18′

PDF 1 – General Score

PDF 2 – Soloist Violin part

PDF 3 – Violin 1 part

PDF 4 – Violin 2 part

PDF 5 – Viola part

PDF 6 – Cello part

PDF 7 – Double Bass part


The Four Seasons (on Celtic and Romantic themes) of David Johnstone has been composed to fulfil a commission to complete a most interesting concert programme celebrating these very four seasons, to be placed alongside the master works of Antonio Vivaldi and Astor Piazzolla. The unusual work of Johnstone does not constitute a ‘concerto’ as such, but does never-the-less give an important role to the solo violinist. There are four individual pieces which, when played as a set or concertante work should always follow the order Wondrous Winter – Springing Spring – Sweet Summer – Aching Autumn. The total duration of these works is of some 18 minutes.

The first two pieces show strong celtic influence; the last two a high romantic spirit. These are richly descriptive pieces, but they do not follow a specific ‘programme’ as such – rather they show changing atmospheres and sentimental moods. The briefest summary might be:-

I Wondrous Winter (c.5’00”) – the snow, coldness, intimacy, eternity. The opening and closing bars from the orchestra are especially intense, giving a feel of timeless-ness. In all the central part a distant celtic air can be heard to transcend the ambience, especially taking into account the almost modal singing of the violin soloist. The orchestra gradually increases both its presence and harmonic weight, and thus is able to contribute increasingly to the very melodic nature of this composition.

II Springing Spring (c.5’30”) – the new beginnings, growth, young creatures with abounding jumping energy. This is another celtic-influenced piece, somehow half-way between a scherzo and a jig, where not only the soloist, but also the orchestral sections, have many moments of melodic and rhythmic importance. The main theme acts as a kind of Rondo, with many interesting and fun episodes along the route.

III Sweet Summer (c.4’30”) – flowers in bloom, agreeable temperatures, love in the air. A most romantic song from the solo violin, placed above the gentle ripples from the orchestra. There are small delightful solo moments too from the principal viola and principal cello. Near the end a little more romantic intensity shows itself, but the amoroso nature of the music quickly returns to ’round off’ the composition.

IV Aching Autumn (c.3’15”) – the harvesting nearing completion, pleasant memories, sleeping (awaiting the re-birth). This is another instrumental song which, whilst faster than the preceding piece, feels more sluggish and slightly despondent, as if mentally preparing for the sleeping winter and a sense of hibernation. In this piece one can subtly hear references to the following seasons to come through mini-quotes from the ‘Seasons’ of Vivaldi, and ‘Invierno Porteño’ of Astor Piazzolla. In this way Johnstone links his own creations with the previous masters.

One often sees a concert artist performing the solo part to the Vivaldi Seasons, and artistically directing the orchestra at the same time; Johnstone also warms to this possibility, although he might equally suggest that the orchestral leader (concert master) could be an ideal person to play these ‘obligato’ solos (and therefore seated at the front of the first violin section with an individual music stand). However, the manner of performance should always be according to the personal preference of the invited soloist or orchestral leader. Finally, it should be borne in mind that these pieces are suitable for string orchestras of all sizes, and are certainly appropriate for quite small ensembles of some fifteen players or so.

A note from David:

“If you wish to have a very professional quality copy of this music, set with high quality paper in a deluxe edition please contact the publisher CREIGHTON’S COLLECTION for a prompt delivery at an economical price – recommended for performance. It has a sharpness of image superior than you will find in the Johnstone-Music web shop”.

 [Creighton’s Collection
244 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9JG, Wales, Great Britain
Tel. [+44] 29 2039 7711 (from within G.B. 029-2039-7711)
Or by Internet: www.cccd.co.uk / E-mail: tim/ at /creightonscollection.co.uk ]



Welcome to Johnstone-Music! A big Anglo-Spanish web for MUSICIANS and especially CELLISTS – original music scores for orchestral instruments and keyboard. Plus articles, audios, videos, resources, catalogues, news etc. Official web of the professional cellist David Johnstone, principal cello Navarre Symphony Orchestra (Spain), chamber musician and soloist in many premieres. Hundreds of cello arrangements in the web for a symbolic charge of €1.00 per download or for free.

The following have taken his work onboard, sometimes with special collaborations as composer-arranger-performer: the Philadelphia Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi, Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela, Orchestre Nouvelle Generation de Montreal, the Gulbenkian Orchestra (Lisbon), Orchestra da Camera del Locarnese (Suiza), The Zagreb Soloists, the Saint Petersburg Musical Theatre “Zazerkalye” Chamber Orchestra, the Wroclaw Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum (Poland), Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra (New Zealand), Camerata Cambrensis (Basque country), Essener Philharmoniker (Germany), Ensemble Metamorphosis of Belgrade (Serbia), with Ara Malikian (Non Profit Music Chamber Orchestra – Madrid), and a long etc.. Currently, many courses, conservatoires and music schools, university String departments etc. use his repertoire; there are dozens of his arrangements on ‘You Tube’ …

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