Noesis

Concerto for Clarinet, Violin and Orchestra

21 Mins
violin solo, clarinet solo - 2.2.2.2 - 3.4.3.1 - timp - perc (3 players) - strings (10.8.6.6.4)

Description

First performed by Isabelle van Keulen (violin), Michael Collins (clarinet) and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Neeme Järvi, on 17 June 2005, Detroit, USA

Commissioned by Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra


I wrote Noesis within three and a half months of completing my Fifth Symphony for electric guitar, jazz big band and full symphony orchestra. Having just written such a heavy-weight score, I spontaneously felt a strong need to compose something more transparent and lucid. The new challenge of writing a double concerto matched my state perfectly.

The most general concept of this work comes from the idea of slow but continuous integration of different elements, so that they finally form a new inseparable substance. This applies first and foremost to both solo parts. At the beginning of the concerto they hardly play together, the main characteristics of the soloists’ basic material being an ascending scale for the clarinet and a descending scale for the violin. Actually, there are two complexes of scales, which operate as the basic material for the whole work. Throughout the concerto, these scales are in endless development, both in terms of independent internal change as well as changes in response to each other. As in my previous works, here I have also explored my so-called ‘vectorial technique’ (a source code or ‘gene’ that, as it mutates and grows, gives both shape and direction to the whole), the harmonic results of which are most clearly audible in the slow middle section. The first section presents a gradual convergence of the opposites (violin and clarinet), the orchestra acting like a huge resonator creating constantly changing soundscapes that resemble the solo parts. The complex polyphony gives an impression of echoes, reverberations and delays. A couple of short and abrupt orchestral outbursts interrupt the otherwise constant musical progression. The principles of ancient Estonian runic song are assimilated here as well, not literally but – just as with the developmental method – a motif is performed by a soloist, then repeated and augmented by the orchestra. The third and closing section is joyous and fast, a bit jazzy in a rhythmic sense. Yet the work ends with a question mark – what really is the deepest secret of understanding…?

Noesis – the psychological results of perception and learning and reasoning.

 

Erkki-Sven Tüür

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