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Koncert na orkiestrę/Concerto for Orchestra (Thomas Simaku)

Consisting of one single movement played without a break, this piece would best be described as a voyage in time, where ancient and modern aspects of utterance – musical or otherwise – interconnect and complement each other. It is therefore in this sense of being in concordance – in concert – that the term concerto is metaphorically used here; in other words, a network of relationships between various idiomatic aspects of the musical language is in place and operates throughout the work. Another meaning of the term concerto here denotes the playful character of the music in the fast sections, as well as the soloistic treatment of certain instruments and groups of instruments in a variety of combinations.

The orchestra here is considered as the ideal instrument for bringing this process into life. Each of the four orchestral sections is embodied with specific musical ideas, and they are in turn singled out by being texturally highlighted for their powerful and/or delicate expressive qualities. But at the same time, the orchestral groups constantly interact with one another, and in a wider context, their modus operandi could well be termed as searching for points of convergence between various orchestral colours, whilst holding on to their own identity. During this process of “zooming in and out”, as it were, various instruments form their own “alliances” within this huge sonic palette called orchestra.

Just before the final section, a chordal structure quoted literally (exact notes, at the same register) from Lutosławski’s Jeux vénitiens seamlessly becomes part of the piece. Originally played by the strings (figure F of Jeux, to be precise), this eight-note chord is here strategically positioned, but freely displayed as an upward arpeggio in the ethereal quality of the vibraphone. The concerto ends with an array of natural harmonics constantly cascading against a background of humanly breathy sounds.

Thomas Simaku