Cor Anglais Concerto - 2013

duration 26 minutes

I. Allegro vivo II. Gentle, slow, melancholy III. Presto

I have always wanted to write a concerto for this most royal of instruments. Having been an oboist of no distinction in my youth it, and its larger cousin helped to form my musical persona. I was in the Czech Republic for the première of my Double Concerto by the Moravská Filharmonie in 2012. This work's slow movement features a solo for the cor anglais and thus the idea was rekindled that I might finally get around to writing the piece.

This concerto falls into a traditional pattern of fast-slow-fast and is, in my own lumpy sort of way quite an approachable, "public" piece. The soloist's has a somewhat schizophrenic musical character, oscillating between a poe-faced energy and more lyrical melody. The first movement makes repeated use of a combination of whip and violin glissandi. It's often four-square sobreity is punctuated by dancing brass fanfares and a lilting waltz. The slow movement sprang from hearing some distant bells in the Pyrenees. This gently repeated ostinato gave rise to my movement's accompaniment, against which the cor anglais sings what I hope is a sustained, extended, beautiful melody. The finale has touches of romantic melodrama, with tremolandi and harp glissandi firing off a hectic romp; a dance that seems perpetually to tumble over itself.

It occurs to me that an alto saxophone might also play this work...

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