The River Within

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra

Jay Reise

Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

About a year ago James Freeman asked if I had a piece ?for string orchestra with maybe a few winds? that he could perform with Orchestra 2001. Well, I did not have one immediately at hand, but such a request is often all it takes to get a composer rolling. I had always wanted to compose a violin concerto and here was the opportunity. The title The River Within was inspired by the sentence from Huysmans? novel quoted at the head of these notes. Music taps into the river in all of us.

The River Within is composed for a Classical-size orchestra adapted to the particular idiom of our time. Instead of a string orchestra joined by a few coupled winds, brass and timpani, the orchestral forces are single winds and brass along with piano (the contemporary continuo) and a small selection of contemporary percussion instruments. Thus in an instance where a composer like Mozart would combine two oboes or two horns, I combine similar but not identical instruments, such as clarinet and bassoon, horn and trombone, or oboe and muted trumpet. The result is a varied instrumental timbre with an emphasis on tonal color, which is characteristic of the music of our time. This instrumental selection also gives opportunity to compose extensive passages for seven solo wind/brass instruments, all in dialogue with the violin solo. The 22-minute piece is in three movements: Fast (Agitato) ? Slow (Adagietto inquieto) ? Fast (Vivace). The River Within is characterized by extensive counterpoint generated by rhythms based on my study of Carnatic rhythm.

Available on Rental

Additional Information

Composition Date 2008
Duration 00:26:00
Orchestration Solo Violin; 1(dbl. Picc.) 1 1 1 - 1 1 1 0; Perc. Pno. Str.
Premiere 12th, 13th April, 2008. Maria Bachman, Violin, Orchestra 2001, conducted by James Freeman. Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA (12th), Swarthmore College, PA (13th).


1. Agitato
2. Adagietto inquieto
3. Vivace

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