MEDITATIONS - 4 pieces for two violins op.716 (October 2020)

This concert work is a composite of four existing pieces re-arranged for two violins (see note below)
Published by: Highbridge Music Ltd,Studio 6,18 Kensington Court Place,London,W8 5BJ howard@howardblake.com
Commissioned by: Alicia Smietana
Instrumentation: Two violins

[Key to Abbreviations]
Note on Lyrics: Theme of piece 3 is a setting of a verse by Robert Herrick 1591-1674 which is followed by variations on it. The song is not intended to be sung unless a singer is engaged.
Duration: 19:52
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Notes

Meditations
four pieces for two violins
Opus 716 16th October 2020
SOLILOQUY
LAMENT
‘GATHER YE ROSEBUDS WHILE YE MAY’
EPILOGUE
Note by the composer: In 2020, whilst locked down by Covid 19,
Benedict Kloeckner asked if I could write him a solo cello piece
expressing the fear and desperation of the times. I composed :
1.Soliloquy which he premiered very successfully in Kloster
Eberbach. Slightly earlier the Polish violinist Alicja Smietana had
requested a violin piece and I’d written a short prelude: 2.
Lament. The third piece was from way back in 1971 when I
escaped from London life to Highbridge Mill near Cuckfield in
Sussex, a house set amongst woods, lakes and waterfalls, after
which my publishing company is named. I had determined to
further develop my musical skills, particularly in my main
activities of composition, conducting and piano-playing but in
addition decided to take some violin lessons with a local teacher,
Edward Greenhow. I thought it would be interesting to write a
violin duet for us to play, and created some variations on a song
I’d written, a setting of Robert Herrick’s poem: 3.'Gather ye
rosebuds while ye may'. As it happened I never quite finished it
and we never played it! However, in 2020, in the midst of Covid
19, the words came back to me fused with an altogether more
poignant meaning. I searched out my old manuscript and
reworked it into a theme and nine variations: Theme:
Scherzando, Variation 1: Due Voce, 2: Pizzicato 3: Giga 5:
Fluente 6: Volante 7: Staccato 8: Misterioso 9: Corale. The fourth
piece in its original form had been for solo viola, played at both the
beginning and the end of my oratorio ‘Benedictus’ in 1980. I now
arranged it for violin and renamed it: 4. Epilogue – echoing
people’s hope that the Covid disaster would soon be over.

Related Works


'VARIATIONS FOR TWO VIOLINS' op.160 (July 1972)
Variations on an original song theme
'BENEDICTUS' op.282 (May 1980) (Audio Sample Available)
Dramatic oratorio for tenor, speaker, chorus, solo viola and orchestra commissioned by Victor Farwell, Abbot of Worth, for the 1500th anniversary of St. Benedict of Nursia b.480 AD
'LAMENT' op.703a (2018)
a short prelude written for Alicia Smietana
'SOLILOQUY FOR SOLO CELLO' op.712 (April 2020)
A piece composed for Benedict Kloeckner
'EPILOGUE FOR SOLO VIOLIN' op.713 (April 2020)
An arrangement of the closing viola solo from the oratorio 'Benedictus'

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