Violinkoncert nr. 2
My second concerto for violin and orchestra is a ‘reverse’ cousin of Polydrama the cello concerto. The former starts out extremely slow and speeds up gradually and the latter progresses in exactly the opposite way, but whereas the cello concerto is composed as one, uninterrupted stretch, the violin concerto is formally completely different: there are 4 movements, each of them combined via a ‘ritornello’, a solo-cadenza which appears 4 times (the works conclude with a solo) in almost the shape, i.e. the length varies from time to time.
The first two movements are very tranquil indeed, probably the slowest and, in case of the second movement, the most melancholy I have yet written; even the 3rd movement is on the moderate side, tempowise, and not until the appearance of the 4th and last movement, is the listener confronted with real speed, which, on the other hand, is the case, to a degree; the last movement is a true scherzo, increasing in tempo until it reaches a white-hot level of near frenzy, a push towards the precipice, from where the solo-violin drops drastically towards the initiating bleakness and melancholy mood.
I have tried to write a 4-movement concerto, composed into one, huge arch of musical and emotional tension, and, although it’s absolutely extra-musical, I don’t think it will hurt to mention, that the shape and form (and simplicity) of the first movement, was inspired by, and I think for the first time in my case, an experience of Nature: during a vacation, some years ago, in southern Chile, while sitting on the slope of an (active) vulcano, I saw above me a hovering eagle, following thermal currents, from immobility to flapping rapidity. Underneath me, clouds were slowly covering up the lower foothills, and I thought: here we are.
Finally, the concerto was written for and dedicated to Rebecca Hirsch, whose musicianship and dedication have inspired and fascinated me since she played the UK-premiere of my first concerto, which she later recorded commercially.
The 2nd concerto was commissioned by ‘Collegium Musicum’ in Copenhagen and was premiered there by that orchestra, Rebecca Hirsh and conducted by Michael Schönwandt, February ’92.
- Poul Ruders