David Johnstone – Sonata Concertante, for Recorder and String Quartet
(Recorder, Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola & Cello)
Performance time approx. 20′
PDF 1 – General Study Score
PDF 2 – Recorder part
PDF 3 – Violin 1 part
PDF 4 – Violin 2 part
PDF 5 – Viola part
PDF 6 – Cello part
The Sonata Concertante of David Johnstone was written in 2004 and dedicated to the Spanish-based recorder virtuoso Ernesto Schmied. The idea from the outset was to write a large-scale work for recorder soloist and strings where the soloist is able to compete as equals with the others in a work which displays symphonic transformations and development, hence its title. With string quartet there is probably no special need to amplify of the solo recorders though this is optional – it is important to bear in mind that our soloist ‘switches’ between various instruments during the course of the work. In both ‘versions’ the music exceeds by a little some twenty minutes of performance time.
The piece is somewhat 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. However there has been considerable psychological and emotional preparation to the role of the recorder soloist, who is our principal character in this music drama, and finally our hero as well; the following guides helped the composer, but the public will simply hear a well-crafted and intense piece of music.
The first movement starts as an ‘Oration’ – long romantic film ambience, with a solo part at times cantabile and at times more declamatory. However the string 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 strings. After moments of pure ‘desolation’ a kind of divine or other spiritual help at the very end of the movement starts to sow subtle musical seeds to which our principal character is able to cling on to, and which eventually is to launch the second, and fast, movement, ‘Liberation’. This quite aggressive ‘allegro’ is conceived in a way in which the recorder is left alone on the ‘outside’ at the beginning (the ‘mock’ fugue of the quartet), but little by little enters the arena, becoming an equal to the strings and later dominating much of the proceedings. There are moments of great propulsion, a fair share of tension and relaxation, a subtle quasi cadenza by all – the soloist and strings – and a glorious coda to bring the work to an exciting and brilliant finish. The overall aim has been to produce a weighty addition to the repertoire of the recorder soloist, both in the difficulty of the writing and the complex structure.
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”.
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 ]
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