Violin Concerto ‘1914’ (2014)

Solo violin and Symphony Orchestra (double wind & brass + 6 perc) // 33 mins
Orchestration: 2(2pic).2(ca).2(bcl).2+cbn/4.2.3.1/timp.6perc/solo vln/str
[Commissioned by BBC Proms & Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg]

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Programme Note

The concerto works on several levels – on one hand it chronologically follows the events of 1914, from the optimism and nationalism at the outbreak of the war through to the dead-lock and desolation of trench war-fare. Daniel Hope on Solo Violin plays many characters, and different sections of the orchestra join him in painting  a range of scenes and emotions from various perspectives; from very personal to wider political views, and the experiences of both the Allies and the Central Powers are explored.

On a broader level, the concerto also charts the end of the ‘old world’ and the inevitable rise of the ‘modern world’, and over the whole work, it increasingly moves into more and more contemporary sound-world. The first two movements refer to older musical voices of the period, with the monster of modern warfare gradually rising as a more contemporary, mechanical sound starts to dominate. The final two movements focus more on the experiences of the individual soldiers, and in particular the desolation of trench warfare.

I think orchestral composition allows us to illustrate historical events and human experiences in quite a different and often more fluid way than cinema or literature, and it’s been a very exciting, yet demanding Concerto to compose.

© Gabriel Prokofiev, 2014

The first performance was given on 29th July 2014 by Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic, conducted by Sascha Goetzel Violin Solo: Daniel Hope.

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