Kirschen

Sally Beamish (1956)

Kirschen 2010

3343 - 4431 - timp - 3perc - cel - hp - str (86442 min)
Duration 
14
Genre 
Commissioner 
Publisher 

1. Allegro con spirito
2. Andante calmo
3. Allegro giocoso
4. Andante con moto

The title, Kirschen, refers to Brahms' comment that his new (4th) Symphony sounded 'like sour cherries': he wasn't confident about the piece at first, and felt it was 'unripe'.

The commission and brief came from the BBC: to celebrate one of Brahms' symphonies. But my response is not really an 'homage' - more a bit of fun - using themes from the symphony to make a light-hearted set of four brief movements more influenced by jazz than by the great classics. My love of Brahms is reflected in half-hidden quotes from works that mean a lot to me from my days as a viola player, as well as the more transparent references to his 4th symphony.

My four movements relate to the symphonic movements in different ways. The first uses Brahms’ harmonic progressions, the second is slow and mesmeric, taking a simple fragment from Brahms, and the third is an irreverent romp. In the last movement I returned to Brahms’ original inspiration – the final Ciacona from Bach’s Cantata ‘Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich’.

Sally Beamish

Performances 
4.11.10 City Halls, Glasgow: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Andrew Manze
3
Flute
3rd piccolo
3
Oboe
3rd cor anglais
4
Clarinet
4th Eb clarinet
3
Bassoon
3rd contrabassoon
4
Horn
3
Trumpet
3
Trombone
3rd bass trombone
1
Tuba
1
Timpani
3
Percussion
8
Violin
6
Violin II
4
Viola
4
Cello
2
Double bass
1
Harp
1
Piano
celesta
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