Gambit is, as the name suggests, a shortish work for a large symphony orchestra of overture character. It is based on a few gestures, or archetypes, which are combined and juxtaposed in different ways during the nine minutes of Gambit. The two main ones are a descending mainly pentatonic scale-like gesture and a basic rhythm (and combinations thereof). The archetypes themselves do not change much, only the environment in which they appear. There is no variation in the traditional sense of the word.
Some harmonic progressions as well as the persistent minor third figure in the introduction are deliberate, free quotations from Magnus Lindberg's music. I have dedicated Gambit to this talented friend of mine as an homage on his fortieth birthday.
© Esa-Pekka Salonen
Tokyo, 29th May 1998