Concerto for Cello and Orchestra

Samuel Zyman

Rental
Performing Ensemble: Cello with Orchestra
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

My Concerto for Cello and Orchestra is a 30-minute work in three movements which largely follows, in many respects, the traditional guidelines of the concerto genre. It has, for instance, solo cadenzas, thematic dialogues between soloist and orchestra, a slow middle movement, etc. Two aspects of the concerto, however, are a bit unusual. First, there is the close relationship between movements I and III. While the central movements stands apart from the other two, the finale can be partly described as a more rhapsodic version of some segments of the first movement. such passages in the finale undergo several transformations in the face of the new third movement material, which is the one that eventually prevails.

I view this feature of the closing movement as a kind of delayed recapitulation of selected areas of the first, and also as a unifying and cyclical element for the work as a whole. One conspicuous section of the opening movement that does not return in the closing one is the slow introduction, for it comprises the partial recapitulation that does occur within the first movement itself.

The second unusual aspect of the work is the unexpected placement of the cello cadenzas. The first movement cadenza is in fact the very first entrance of the cello, which takes place immediately following the orchestral introduction. As for the third movement cadenza, it is heard at the beginning of the movement.

I wanted, in this work, to create spaces for the solo cello to use its wonderfully expressive low register. These sections, which call for light orchestration, occur particularly in the middle movement, where they exist in stark contrast to the surrounding tutti outbursts.

The idiom of the Concerto is quite tonal/modal, and the materials are conceived as thematic and melodic ideas rather than pitch or intervallic relationships. The main theme of the finale, incidentally, exudes a certain south-of-the-border quality, or at least it seems so to me. As both the soloist, Carlos Prieto, and I are from Mexico, the idea appeared most appropriate.

The Concerto for Cello and Orchestra was commissioned by Absolut Vodka and is dedicated to cellist Carlos Prieto. It is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, a small percussion section, harp, and strings.

Available on Rental

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by Absolut Vodka
Composition Date 1991
Duration 00:24:00
Orchestration Solo Vcl.; 2(Picc.) 2 2 2 - 4 2 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
Premiere 28th November, 1991. Carlos Prieto, solo Cello, American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Catherine Comet, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City.