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Amsterdam: Alexander Raskatov’s “Leçons des ténèbres“ receives world premiere

Alexander Raskatov’s new work “Leçons des ténèbres” for violoncello and ensemble will be given it`s world premiere on 30 October 2012 in Amsterdam (Muziekgebouw). The cellist David Geringas and the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble will perform the work, completed in 2012, under the direction of Reinbert de Leeuw. “Leçons des ténèbres” is commissioned by the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble.

The composer comments on “Lecons des ténèbres” as follows:

“It is not a real concerto. There are four movements called ‘Notturno 1, 2, 3 and 4’. The idea was – I hope I was not too pretentious – to dedicate this work to the City of Amsterdam, which is very dear to my heart, and the audience of Amsterdam, which is one of my favourites, too. This dedication has to do with all the very sad events in our musical culture, which happened recently – not only in Holland, but, alas, more or less everywhere. I wrote this music in a sort of yearning or nostalgia for the world of musical culture, which we are, probably, going to lose …
For that purpose I used the violoncello mostly as a human voice, as a singing voice. To make the contrast stronger, I used in the orchestra only woodwinds, brass, percussion, a harp and a double-bass. So basically, I avoided strings. I took the liberty to resort to the immortal madrigals of Gesualdo, using as a pattern one of his typical harmonic sequences.
I was not interested in writing a superficially virtuoso work – that was not my goal, but rather a severe and ascetic one.
Probably, the most important thing for a composer is to maintain his internal freedom during the process of writing. I think I was free enough to choose from all that was at my disposal what I really needed. The violoncello – lyrical or brutal, polyphonic or melodical, ascetic or sonoristically brilliant – remains for me, as I said, the most beautiful ‘chameleon’ with a hundred faces, but – always keeps its own face.”

Sofia Gubaidulina’s “On the Edge of Abyss“ will also be performed at this concert.

30 October 2012
Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Great Hall, 8:15 PM
World premiere: Alexander Raskatov
”Leçons des ténèbres” for violoncello and ensemble
David Geringas (violoncello)
Asko|Schönberg Ensemble
Reinbert de Leeuw (direction)


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