Khorovod

Julian Anderson (1967)

Khorovod 1994

1(=picc).1.1.1(=cbsn) - 1110 - perc(2): whip/guiro/t.bells/crot/mcas/sleigh bells/vib/5 tpl.bl/4 susp.cym/chinese.cym/hi-hat/SD/ped BD/mar/vibraslap/2tgl/BD/bongos/3 congas/2 tumbas/2 tom-t/anvil/tam-t/referees whistle - pno(=cel) - 2 vln.vla.vlc.db
Duration 
12
Commissioner 
Publisher 

The title is the Russian for "round dance" and refers to a category of melodies celebratory in character, whose most obvious feature is their limitation to a small group of pitches (often just three or four) which are cycled round and round in ever-varied rhythms. Although Khorovod does not quote any Russian, Turkish, Romanian or Lithuanian melodies of this type, about twenty of them were used as models for melodic writing in the piece. The piece is primarily melodic; all the harmony results from sustaining notes of a melody, or from sustaining its harmonics. These subsequently form the basis of new melodies, and so the process continues. Khorovod avoids transitions, consisting in the main of a sequence of dances at various tempos shunted against one another; but as they are also frequently superimposed at different speeds and meters, the texture is often multi-layered. As the composing progressed, references to other folk traditions popped up increasingly, and thus the final result incorporates references to Spanish folk music and even to disco music (I wanted to bring the piece nearer "home").

The principle dances unfold as follows:
1 a Russian-style khorovod in C played at four speeds simultaneously
2 a brutal Lithuanian-style dance in C sharp inflected towards jazz
3 a Spanish malagueña in D for two marimbas and piano
4 a long slow khorovod in F sharp, which gradually accumulates speed and energy
5 a third, boisterous Russian dance in C sharp leading to
6 a climatic bop in the same key, after the style of 'house' club music, which combines all the elements of the piece in a dense tutti; and finally
7 a concluding lullaby in C on the woodwinds.

A preliminary version of Khorovod was performed at the Tanglewood Music Center under Daniel Harding in 1993. It was subsequently commissioned by the London Sinfonietta, was completed at the end of 1994, and revised the following year. The first complete performance was given by the London Sinfonietta last December under their Principal Conductor, Markus Stenz. It is dedicated to Oliver Knussen.

Julian Anderson

Performances 
6.12.94 Barbican Hall, London: London Sinfonietta/Markus Stenz
1.3.95 Ars Musica, Brussels: Sinfonia 21/Martyn Brabbins
16.8.95 BBC Proms, London: London Sinfonietta/Markus Stenz
Nov 95 & Jan 96 Dutch tour: Schoenberg Ensemble/Reinbert de Leeuw
9.6.96 Holland Festival, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam: London Sinfonietta/Markus Stenz
24.6.96 Pompidou Centre, Paris: London Sinfonietta/Markus Stenz
10.8.96 Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, USA: Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center/Stefan Asbury
22.9.96 Warsaw Autumn Festival, Poland: Schoenberg Ensemble/Reinbert de Leeuw
10.11.97 Los Angeles: Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra/Oliver Knussen
18.4.98 ISCM World Music Days, Manchester: Psappha/Paul MacAlindin
30.1.99 Miami, USA: New World Symphony Orchestra/Oliver Knussen
1.5.99 Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool: Ensemble 10:10/Baldur Brönnimann
13-17.9.01 European tour (Frankfurt, Hamburg, Schwaz): Ensemble Modern/Oliver Knussen
Selected performances only. For full listing of over 70 performances please visit www.fabermusic.com
1
Flute
doubling piccolo
1
Oboe
1
Clarinet
1
Bassoon
doubling contrabassoon
1
Horn
1
Trumpet
1
Trombone
2
Percussion
whip, guiro, tubular bells, crotales, maracas, sleigh bells, vibraphone, 5 temple blocks, 4 suspended cymbals, chinese cymbals, hi-hat, side drum, pedal drum, marimba, vibraslap, 2 triangle, bass drum, bongos, 3 congas, 2 tumbas, 2 tom-toms, anvil, tam-tam, referees whistle
1
Violin
1
Violin II
1
Viola
1
Cello
1
Double bass
1
Piano
doubling celesta
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