SYMPHONY-CONCERTO – Solo Txistu (Basque Flute) and String Orchestra


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SYMPHONY-CONCERTO – Solo Txistu (Basque Flute) and String Orchestra


Download Contents or Instructions:

PDF 1 – Individual soloist part (22 pages in all)

PDF 2 – General Score (80 pages in all)

PDF 3 – Orchestral Part – Violins I (16 pages in all)

PDF 4 – Orchestral Part – Violins II (16 pages in all)

PDF 5 – Orchestral Parts – Violas (16 pages in all)

PDF 6 – Orchestral Parts – Violoncellos (16 pages in all)

PDF 7 – Orchestral Parts – Double Basses (12 pages in all)




I – Oration – Desolation

II – Solitude (the search)

III – Liberation


Duration: about 25 minutes

This musical creation was originally written for: Felix Palomero ‘for believing in me’ (David Johnstone, August 2019)


Fuller Information:

The Symphony-Concerto of David Johnstone is one of the largest-scale works ever written for TXISTU soloist with orchestra, and one where the soloist is able to compete as equals with the orchestra in a musical creation displaying symphonic transformation and organic development, hence its title. With good amplification of the soloist desirable, the possibility arises to conceive the performance of the work with up to symphony orchestra forces (and thus giving many passages an extraordinary power and exhilaration), although it can work well with smaller string orchestral sizes (but a minimum of 6-5-4-4-2 if possible) and in this case with or without amplification at the choice of the soloist. It is important to bear in mind that our soloist ‘switches’ between two instruments during the course of the work; the Txistu (in F) and the lower sounding Silbote (in this case in C). These switches should not cause any concern to more advanced players.  The outer movements are based upon an earlier work of Johnstone – his Sinfonia Concertante with recorder soloist, dedicated to the Spanish-based virtuoso Ernesto Schmied.

The work is undeniably spiritual but not obviously ‘religious’, at least in any traditional sense. It is more a work of ‘personal growth’, but neither is it specifically auto-biographical although does reflect on the despair of some of Johnstone’s unfavourable orchestral years!  There has therefore been considerable psychological and emotional preparation to the role of the soloist, who is our principal character in this music drama, and finally our hero as well. The following guide was a base for the composer:

The first movement starts as an ‘Oration’ – a long romantic film ambience, with a solo part at times cantabile and at times more declamatory. The orchestral accompaniment increasingly inserts tension which tends to de-rail the romanticism of the soloist, whose musical offerings become increasingly desperate and despondent, unable to cope with the ‘onslaughts’ of the orchestra. There are moments of pure ‘desolation’ in long horizontal frozen landscapes.

As we enter the second moment the orchestra ‘abandons’ the soloist altogether, who therefore has to find his/her own way. Johnstone was influenced by the wonderful cadenza movement to the Shostakovich First Cello Concerto and he wields a similar path for the Txistu soloist. A ‘solitude’ is certainly present; however a kind of divine or other spiritual help starts to sow subtle musical seeds to which our principal character (=soloist) is able to cling on to and increasingly gain strength.

Without a break once again Johnstone launches the fast third movement, titled ‘Liberation’. This quite aggressive ‘allegro’ is conceived in a way in which the soloist is left alone on the ‘outside’ at the beginning (remember he/she was left ‘abandoned’ at the end of the first movement and continues so with the opening ‘mock’ fugue of the orchestra), but little by little enters the arena, gradually becoming an equal to the orchestra and later largely dominating much of the proceedings in the development section. There are moments of high propulsion, a great mix of tension and relaxation, a subtle but energetic cadenza by the soloist and string orchestral principals, and a glorious and triumphant coda to bring the work to an exciting brilliant finish.

The aim has been to produce a weighty addition to the repertoire of the txistu soloist, both in the difficulty of the writing and the symphonic structure.  The performance duration is of some twenty-five minutes…


Any known possible links of this music (audio, video, article etc.) –

P.S. If you ever record this music (preferably onto YouTube) we would be delighted to add YOUR link here and in the Audio-Video section of the Web …

Enjoy the music !!


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