A Winter's Tale

(La novella d'inverno)

Marta Ptaszynska

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Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

"La Novella d?Inverno" (Winter?s Tale) for String Orchestra was written for the Polish Chamber Orchestra in 1984 in Bloomington, Indiana, while I resided as a guest artist at the Indiana University School of Music. The piece is dedicated to the PCO and its famous conductor Jerzy Maksymiuk.

"La Novella" was premiered in Lisboa, Portugal on May 5, 1985, by the PCO for the Gulbenkian Foundation Contemporary Music Festival. Since then, the work has been performed widely in many European countries and in the USA, and has been presented at several major international festivals including ISCM World Music Days in 1990 in Oslo, Norway; Prix Futura Berlin in 1987; Warsaw Autumn, Poland in 1985; and Perth and Exeter Festivals in England in 1986. In 1986, the work was chosen as the Number One Recommended Work ( I Prize) at the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris, held at UNESCO by the International Council of Music.

"La Novella d?Inverno" was inspired by the surrealist paintings of Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy, and Giorgio de Chirico. As in these paintings, the music of ?Winter?s Tale? unites the elements of the real world with the ?surreal,? subconscious imagery, found in the world of dreams. As a result, a new, superior sound vision is created. The new sound world is constructed with well-known features, such as motives and rhythms from Vivaldi?s ?Four Seasons? Concerti, but they are transmuted and modified in such a way that a completely integral entity emerges.

The composition has a decisively epic character. The title does not reference Shakespeare?s play: the resemblance is a coincidence. Rather, the title corresponds to the last statement of the piece, which includes the ?winter? motive from Vivaldi?s work. This particular motive gives the music a serene and luminous climate.

In details the form is built with many fast-moving and often unexpected sequences and is enwrapped in a mysterious and poetic climate, especially audible in the middle episode, full of imaginative sonorities and unusual arrangements of colors, sul ponticello passages, ethereal harmonics, and glissandos.

The formal construction of the 10-minute work is similar to the sonata-allegro form with a clear exposition, some sort of an elaboration, and finally some references to recapitulation.

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Additional Information

Composition Date 1984
Duration 00:09:00
Orchestration String Orchestra (9 0 4 3 1)
Premiere 1985