Sinfonia concertante

Symphony No. 5 for Chamber Orchestra

Sydney Hodkinson

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Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

The subtitle for this work: ?a short dance symphony in the concerto gross manner (stile moderno) for chamber orchestra? derives from the history of instrumental music. The evolution of the concerto prior to Mozart was a rather vague development and the terms "concertante/sonata/sinfonia/concerto" were used interchangeably without any clear distinction, even applying, in the late Renaissance, to accompanied vocal music.
My own "Sinfonia Concertante" is not at all unlike a small concerto for orchestra, since the use of solo instruments is all-pervasive, although no single soloist predominates. From the 1920?s to our own time, many composers ? most notably Hindemith, Piston, Bartok and Lutoslawski ? have attempted such ?non-soloist? concerti in their desire to revive the Baroque concerto gross ideal. Since I had served as a conductor of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (1970-72), I was very familiar with the strengths and capabilities of its individual members and I used a commission from Dennis Russell Davies, then current director, as an admirable excuse to hopefully ?show off? the St. Paul players to best effect.

Baroque composers felt not qualms about mixing dance-like movements with sonata ones; my decision to incorporate ? even link together ? various dances into the symphony/concerto format seemed both efficacious and provocative, particularly in a work that I wished to be light in character, almost serenade-like. The varying forms of popular dances have for centuries been grist for the inner-ear mills of composers; I am no different. Childhood memories of some 20th century dances can serve, I trust, in no less beguiling a manner for a contemporary artist as the counterparts (e.g., polonaises, courants, estampies and sarabandes) did for past composers. Certainly, hoedowns, tangos, and boogies were as much a part of my own musical environment ? even my personal instrumental training ? as were mazurkas, gigues and waltzes for my creative forebears.

The "Sinfonia Concertante" is a ?revisitation? of an earlier work for piano trio: "Dance Variations" (1977), and was completed in March of 1980 in Fairport, New York. The composition was commissioned by the St. Paul Philharmonic Society for its chamber orchestra and is dedicated to Dennis Russell Davies, who conducted the premiere performance on May 14 and 17, 1980, in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
Composition Date 1980
Duration 00:18:00
Orchestration 1 2 1 2 - 2 0 0 0; Pno. Str.
Premiere May 14, 1980 - St. Paul, MN St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Dennis Russell Davies, conductor

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