First performance: 16 June, 2011, Berlin, Philharmonie
Conductor: Peter Eötvös
Miklós Perényi, violoncello
The work is a dialogue in multiple levels: The solo cellist performs with the orchestral cello section, and soloist and cello section both enter into dialogue with the whole orchestra. The concerto retains the classical form of three-movements which could be characterised as ‘energetic, dance-like’, ‘meditative’ and ‘fresh and sparkling’. The music also cites instrumental techniques of Transylvanian folk music such as the ‘Bartók pizzicato’ with its cracking percussive sound.
The meaning of a Concerto Grosso refers to not only one but a whole group of soloists who are competing with the orchestra. The double title ‘Cello Concerto Grosso’ refers to the orchestral set as besides the 8 cellist ( concertino ) I integrated a soloist as a ‘fore dancer’ .
My concerto is a series of short dance-acts, it well may be that the “last dance” is coming from a traditional Transylvanian culture which is doomed to a slow disappearance….
Luckily about a decade ago Béla Bartók and László Lajtha were collecting and noting down the music of these dances, which explain us how they were playing these instrumental dances traditionally.
Since my oratorium ‘Atlantis’ I was using these special Transylvanian rhythm in some of my compositions, this characteristic melody form.
A quiet sadness is always present as this may be the last time that we’re dancing together.
For these special play-techniques not only the Bartók Pizzicato (clashing pluck sounds) belongs to, but also the dance-like breezy Glissandos, which refers to that these dance music were often played on string instruments.
In this Concerto 3 dance-situations are rotating: men’s throbbing with their legs slowly, women’s slow floating dance, and their joint dance which is torn apart from time to time as many of them don’t know the moves anymore….