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John Corigliano

Publisher: G. Schirmer

The Red Violin: Suite for Violin and Orchestra (1999)
Work Notes
The solo violin part can be purchased from Classical on Demand
G Schirmer Inc
Soloists and Orchestra
Sub Category
Soloists and Chamber Orchestra
Year Composed
24 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
Programme Note
John Corigliano The Red Violin: Suite for Violin and Orchestra (1999)
A relevant program note is available on the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra ("The Red Violin") page.

  • Ensemble
    I Musici de Montreal
    Eleonora Turovsky
    Yuli Turovsky
    Chandos Records:
  • Ensemble
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Lara St. John (Violin)
    Sarah Ioannades
John Corigliano has certainly put the movie music he composed for "The Red Violin" to efficient use. Before the 66-minute film score was even complete, Corigliano had fashioned a 17-minute concert work from the materials: CHACONNE FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA, which was performed last season by the violinist Joshua Bell in concerts with the Boston and San Francisco Symphonies. The Sony Classical recording of the complete film score, with Bell as soloist and the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, has been released.

And on Thursday night, eight days before the film's opening in New York, the enterprising Eos Orchestra and Bell, with the conductor Jonathan Sheffer, gave the premiere of the 20-minute SUITE FROM THE RED VIOLIN.

Corigliano was deeply involved in the creation of the film, directed by Fran├žois Girard. It is the story of a violin, stained by its maker, a 17-century Cremona craftsman, with the blood of his dead wife, as it is passed through the centuries. The task for Corigliano was to evoke [the different] locales and eras while creating a score that had a coherent musical voice.

In the suite he also wanted a coherent musical shape, and though the music is highly atmospheric, he achieved that goal. Corigliano's unabashed Romantic streak is in full voice here.

The suite begins with moody, gestural stirrings in the strings until the solo violin enters with a simple, spacious melody. A chaconne theme breaks in abruptly: a series of thick, pungent chords on the violin that become a recurring link in the piece. [There are] tumultuous, cadenza-like solo flights for the violin...the music is effective. And as always, Corigliano's scoring skills are impressive.
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times,07/06/1999
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