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Red Violin Chaconne

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John Corigliano

John Corigliano (tr. Lorenzo)


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General Info

Year: 1997 / 2005
Duration: c. 16:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Schirmer

Cost: Score and Parts - Rental


Instrumentation

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Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

The composer writes: “The story of The Red Violin is perfect for a lover of the repertoire and the instrument. It spans three centuries in the life of a magnificent but haunted violin in its travels through time and space.

A story this episodic needed to be tied together with a single musical idea. For this purpose I used the Baroque device of a chaconne: a repeated pattern of seven rising chords upon which the music is built. Against the chaconne chords I juxtaposed Anna's theme, a lyrical yet intense melody representing the 17th-century Italian violin builder's doomed wife, whose soul seemingly enters the Red Violin. Then, from those elements, I wove a series of virtuosic etudes for the solo violin that followed the instrument from country to country, century to century.

I composed these elements before the actual filming, because the actors needed to mime to a recording of these works so that their hand motions would synchronize with the music. Then during the summer of 1997 while the film was being shot all over the world, I remained at home and composed the seven-minute Red Violin Chaconne. But, as a moderate-length, single-movement work, it fell into a category of works that must be paired with others to complete a soloist's guest appearance with an orchestra. Great works like Ravel's Tzigane or Chausson's Poème have this same problem. More importantly for me, the Chaconne had given me the opportunity to strip away any inhibitions and write a passionate and romantic essay that I probably would not have written had it not been accompanying a film. It bypassed my 'censor button,' I liked what I heard, and it came very naturally.”

- Program Note by University of Texas Wind Symphony, 25 February 2012


Media

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State Ratings

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Performances

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Works for Winds by This Composer


Resources

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