Cheltenham Concerto

George Rochberg

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Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

This work was composed in the early months of 1958 on a commission from the Cheltenham Art Center, Philadelphia. The first performance took place on May 18th, 1958. Although played without pause, its architecture is conceived as a kind of mirror form of seven main sections as follows:

Ricercare (Strings)
Scherzo A (Woodwinds)
Scherzo B (Woodwinds and Strigns)
Trio (Brass)
Scherzo B (Brass and Strings)
Scherzo A (Brass and Woodwinds)
Ricercare (Tutti)

The single Trio stands for both Scherzo A and Scherzo B. A minor, though still functionally important part of the architecture of the work is what I call ?Interjections.? These are brief, independent sections given only to the strings which dramatically interrupt the course of the music.

Based on the serial technique, this work represents my personal application of Webern?s device of working with simultaneous transpositions. I have also attempted to discover means by which fragmentized intervallic relationships may be linked in ever-growing chains of melody. In this way, although no single instrument ever plays more than motivic fragments, the total is conceived as a constantly evolving melodic line whose ultimate comprehension depends entirely on the most intimate coordination of the brief motifs. Not only have I been concerned to insure the melodic life of my music; the harmonic problem has absorbed me intensely too. Here, as in my efforts to produce melody, I have relied entirely on my acoustical intuitions (my inner ear) as a composer, striving to achieve a particular harmonic quality which flowed from the character of the row. The essential aspects of the over-all timbre of the work are related to the architectural structure while the details of timbre are the result of harmonic-melodic necessity as they occur within the sections themselves.

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Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by Cheltenham Art Center
Composition Date 1958
Duration 00:12:00
Orchestration 1 1 1 1 - 1 1 1 0; Str.
Premiere 18th May 1958. Cheltenham Art Center, Philadelphia, PA.