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Nathaniel Stookey

Publisher: AMP

Double: Concerto for Two Violins and String Orchestra (1999),
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Sub Category
String Orchestra
Year Composed
22 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
Programme Note
Nathaniel Stookey Double: Concerto for Two Violins and String Orchestra (1999),

  • Ensemble
    Ciompi Quartet
    Bonnie Thron, cello; Brian Reagin, Rebekah Binford, violins, North Carolina Symphony Strings
    William Henry Curry
    Albany Records:
At any number of moments, a phrase makes you hold your breath: the distant bird call that opens his first String Quartet (1998), for example, which Messaien might envy; or the extended sunset of "Remembering," the long movement of his 1999 Double Violin Concerto, in which strings hover in sevenths, resolve, then hover again. The latter is so daringly suspended and slow-building; I kept imagining movie scenes that it might serve as a score: a widow's rediscovery of love letters, a child's slow feverish dying, a couple making love ... and realizing they've fallen out of love. It's that intense. Maybe some producer will hear this and hire him, or perhaps someday he will write an opera.
David Perkins, Raleigh News & Observer,14/09/2005
The second movement is a truly gorgeous elegiac essay that begins at a glacial pace but gradually – very gradually – picks up steam and energy. It allowed for some of the most impressive soft playing we have yet heard from the North Carolina Symphony strings, and it made a powerful and often moving impression.
John Lambert, North Carolina Classical Voice,01/05/2003
A gifted violinist, Nathaniel Stookey has acquired the necessary technical knowledge and ensemble experience to write idiomatically for strings and to bring off his musical ideas through the most effective means. Yet as a composer, Stookey shows a fanciful, inventive side that exceeds mere technique and reveals him to be a highly imaginative and original talent, particularly as a writer of string quartets. The two presented here -- the "String Quartet No. 1" (1998) and the "String Quartet No. 2, Musée Mécanique" (2002) -- are decidedly the cleverest pieces on this 2005 CD, displaying not merely Stookey's extensive catalog of string tricks, but also his knack for lively repartee, communicative voicings, and formal clarity. The Ciompi Quartet is exciting and sharply defined in these recordings, and its bracing playing makes these pieces linger in the memory for a long time. As distinctive as Stookey's quartets are, though, some may find the succinctly named Double (1999), his concerto for two violins and string orchestra, to be the most deeply satisfying work for its soaring duets, rich harmonic language, and thoughtful moods.
Blair Sanderson, All Music Guide,01/01/0001
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