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Pick of the Week: Double Concerto Part 3

Swan Song Video 

Click above for video, thanks to José

Take 2: Violinist Maria Bachmann and cellist Wendy Sutter were unable to make it to the world premiere of Philip Glass' Double Concerto for Violin and Cello in the Hague at the end of April because of the volcanic ash which disrupted air travel.  The commission for the piece is part of a large collaboration that the Netherlands Dance Theater has with the Hague Philharmonic.  For years the NDT and their choreographers set dances to existing Glass music and ballets.  This occasion however was for Sol León and Paul Lightfoot put together a new ballet to be set to new music by Philip Glass.  The ballet has recently been given the name Swan Song. 

Glass' work, Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, will later on pursue a life as a concert piece.  Though Bachmann and Sutter couldn't make it to the world premiere performances, violinist Cecilia Bernardini and cellist Maarte-Maria den Herder stepped in. However, as air travel to Europe has resumed, Bachmann and Sutter make it to The Hague this week for performances May 6,7,8.  Bachmann and Sutter had been working hand in hand with the composer in preparations for the world premiere so this is a premiere of sorts.  The following clip is work tapes that Sutter and Bachmann worked on as a demo for the choreographers to work with.  Even with the synthesized orchestra parts I chose what I think is one of those magic Glass moments. 

The structure of the piece is similar to the new Violin Concerto No.2 which is understandable since they were written so closely together.  As with that piece, the soloists in the Double Concerto have Duets which precede the orchestral movements.  In the Double Concerto however there are 4 duets, 3 which precede the orchestral movements, then a coda/epilogue.  Without a doubt these pieces will be extracted as concert pieces as well.  To me this is magical because it's the introspective end of a lengthy dialogue between the instruments.

Listen to Double Concerto Clip

4 thoughts on “Pick of the Week: Double Concerto Part 3”

  1. Last Saturday Koyaanisqatsi live and next Friday Double Concerto, this is the best May month in years for me personally. The clips of Double Concerto I heard are very promissing. After next friday this might be my favourite Glass Piece.

  2. Now I know for sure. I really enjoyed the performance of the Residentie Orkest, Nederlands danstheater and especcially Wendy Sutter yesterday in Amsterdam. Double Concerto is a beautiful piece and I hope it will be released on CD very soon so I can enjoy it over and over again.

  3. The biggest surprise was the fact that Philip was there to do the introduction to the piece together with choreographer Paul Lightfoot. For years the 2nd movement of the Tirol concerto was my favourite Glass piece, now it has to share first place in my personal Glass top5 with Double concerto.

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