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Edison Denisov: British Premiere of Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra in London

The British premiere of Edison Denisov's Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra will be given at Goldsmiths College in London (University of London) on 7 October 2011. The Sinfonia of Goldsmiths College under the direction of Alexander Ivashkin will present the concert work composed in 1989 by Denisov, who died in 1996.

The instrumental concerto plays a special role in the production of Edison Denisov (*1929). From the early 1970s the composer wrote for soloists such as Aurèle Nicolet, Heinz Holliger and Gidon Kremer, whereby it as possible to note Denisov's special predilection for woodwind instruments, and not only in the genre of the concerto. In 1989 he then composed a Clarinet Concerto for Eduard Brunner, who had already given the premiere of Denisov's Clarinet Quintet in 1987. The work was commissioned by the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.

The structure, treatment of the orchestra and musical language are exemplary of the compositional concerns of Denisov. The formal design is not orientated in conventional terms but is subject to the stream of melodic movements and playing figurations in close intervals. A bright, transparent timbre is characteristic of both the lively first movement and the expressively slow second movement of the Clarinet Concerto without, however, renouncing culminating, sonically dense passages. The lightness and weightlessness of this sonic design is achieved through extreme dynamic restraint (pianissimo and piano-pianissimo dominate) and through the instrumentation. In the relatively extensive wind scoring, the low registers are missing with just a few exceptions. The dominant role of the solo instrument, on the one hand, and its subordination in the interweavings in the orchestra on the other hand, the differentiated treatment of which is reminiscent of chamber music, lead Denisov to a new way of viewing the concerto genre compositionally.

7 October 2011
Goldsmiths College, Great Hall, Richard Hoggart Building, 7:30 PM
British premiere: Edison Denisov
Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra
Goldsmiths Sinfonia
Alexander Ivashkin (direction)


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