Concerto for Fiddle and Violin
for Irish Fiddle, Violin, and Orchestra
Evan Chambers 1998
email for approval score and audio
also available for string orchestra with piano and one percussion/optional harp, soloisits
full orchestra version requires amplification of soloists
Please include full movement information including tune titles in program
The Empty Chair/At the Fiddler's Wake
Remember the Dancing/In the Soft Days of Our Youth
Some Good Crack, (A Bit of Wildness)
And It's over the Rocky Hills--
To a Gentle Place.
So Tear Into One/Every Day is Christmas
Let's Hit the Hard Stuff/'Till the Stuff Hits Us Hard
This concerto features two soloists playing the same instrument in two different styles, yet the piece does not pit them against each other in the kind of titanic struggle one often finds in many concertos. Rather, the fiddle player and violinist are more like two complementary halves of a personality--they and the orchestra support each other and take the leading role in turn without conflict.
The first movement was inspired by the death and funeral of a fiddler who I never met or heard play. His son described the events surrounding his wake with such emotion, though, that I wanted to write a piece for all the fiddlers like him who play for the sheer love of it, those who won't be seen in the record bins or on television, all the forgotten ones who live shyly, quietly, without celebrity, holding a musical center in their communities. The word "crack" in the fourth tune title is Irish slang for a good time: glowing good fun and companionship. I had a picture in my mind of the hush that falls over a session when a respected elder sits down to play--somewhat severe and old-fashioned-sounding at first, with everyone gradually warming to the task 'till the music propels itself along on its own energy.
The second movement is a lullaby for my daughter Elena. It was completed on the day after the death of my friend, mentor, and colleague, Bill Albright; as a result the final section of the piece also bears some of the grief I felt at his untimely passing. I once heard a story about the "gentle places" in Ireland: fairy mounds where magical beings are said to abide. As I contemplated my unborn child and the gentle place she inhabited in the months before her birth, I imagined a still point in the landscape where birth and death merge in enchantment.
The final movement is a set of four reels. The first, "So Tear Into One," takes its title and its character from an exhortation often heard at traditional music sessions. The almost goofily cheery mood and expansive goodwill of the second tune gives way almost immediately to a more edgy pair of reels that begin to spiral out of control, as sessions sometimes do, getting wilder and wilder until the even the tune itself begins to be go askew and get lost, taken over by frenetic driving rhythm. The titles of the tunes for all the movements, taken in sequence, form a poem and an exhortation in themselves--a recognition of loss and a celebration of life in peace and unrestrained good humor.