ELEGY ‘Oration of the Bull’ (Johnstone), for Viola and Piano


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David Johnstone – Elegy (‘Oration of the Bull’), for Viola and Piano

PDF 1 – Viola part

PDF 2 – Piano part

Performance time approx. 7′ 30″

‘Elegy’ is a concert work that can be played as a ‘pure’ concert piece, without mention of the programmatic thread – as such, a late romantic intense outpouring with some occasionally more modern touches also present. It is very much of film ambience, for the special quality of the viola sings (in all registers) almost uninterruptedly in long awe-inspiring phrases that would seem to fit like ‘a glove’ to the big screen. There are two performance possibilities, for the work is equally persuasive whether performed with a pianist in recital or in orchestral programmes with string orchestra; taking into account that there are rather different sound conceptions in the accompaniment it will be seen that the tone colours of the orchestration are rather different in each version. The duration is about seven minutes and a half.

The composer has for many years been a staunch defender of animal welfare and animal rights, and this offering is specifically an oration dedicated to the plight of the Spanish bull in the bull-ring (‘la corrida’), which he sees neither as art nor culture. There are no doubts, in Johnstone’s mind, as to the need still (in the twenty-first century) for animal ‘justice’ and to act against unreasonable animal exploitation’:

The music starts … at once the bull demonstrates his physical condition in this solo ‘cadenza’, although it soon becomes obvious that he is in an entirely hostile and unknown atmosphere. Nevertheless … what great expansion of melody he feels. The power of the main theme (the big song) comes to the fore a number of times. The fantasy and ‘rubato’ passages from the viola soloist are indeed of our chief character, the bull himself, trying to re-group his forces to regain his initial strength. The second theme, syncopated and in imitation, is rather more ‘distant’. Without going further into details, the rest of the work describes the unequal fight between man and bull, terminating with the death of the bull. Further more detailed programmatic information is available from the composer upon request.


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 ]



Bienvenidos a Johnstone-Music! Una gran web anglo-hispano para MÚSICOS y especialmente para CELLISTAS – partituras originales para los instrumentos orquestales y teclado. Artículos, audios, videos, recursos, catálogos, noticias, etc. Web oficial del violoncellista profesional David Johnstone, primer violoncello de la Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra, intérprete de música de cámara, y solista en muchos estrenos. Cientos de arreglos de cello en la web por un precio simbólico de 1.00€ por descarga o gratis. https://johnstone-music.com

Las siguientes organizaciones han llevado su trabajo, a veces con colaboraciones especiales como compositor-arreglista-intérprete: la Orquesta de Filadelfia, la Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi, la Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela, la Orquesta Nueva Generación de Montreal, la Orquesta Gulbenkian (Lisboa), la Orquesta de Cámara del Locarnese (Suiza), The Zagreb Soloists, la Orquesta de Cámara «Zazerkalye» del Teatro Musical de San Petersburgo, la Orquesta de Cámara de Wroclaw Leopoldinum (Polonia), la Orquesta Filarmónica de Auckland (Nueva Zelanda), Camerata Cambrensis (País Vasco), Essener Philharmoniker (Alemania), Ensemble Metamorphosis de Belgrado (Serbia), con Ara Malikian (Orquesta Non Profit Music – Madrid), y una larga etc. Actualmente, muchos cursos, conservatorios y escuelas de música, departamentos universitarios de cuerdas, etc. usan su repertorio; hay docenas de sus arreglos en ‘YouTube’ …

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