Violin Concerto

Sally Beamish (1956)

Violin Concerto 1994

2(1)2(1)2(1)2-432+11, Tp, 2Perc, Str
Duration 
28
Solist 
Genre 
Commissioner 
Publisher 

Anthony Marwood first asked me to write him a concerto in 1992 and sent me a copy of All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque´s novel of the First Worls War with the suggestion that it might provide inspiration for the piece.

I was immediately captivated by the book, with its extraordinary juxtaposition of vivid, explosive narrative and wistful silence, coloured with bitter irony and language of heartrending beauty. It brought to the surface my own deep-rooted sence of the futility and tragedy of war, and the Violin Concerto is an expression of this.

there are three movements, which can be traced to three particular passages in the book.

"To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier... He buries his face and limbs in her from the fear of death by shell-fire... She shelters him and releases him for ten seconds to live..., receives him again and often for ever." "The evening benediction begins. Night comes, out of the crater rise the mists."
"On a foggy morning another of the Russionas is buried... The prisoners sing a chorale... The stars are cold... There is a violinist amongst them... He plays mostly folk songs and others hum with him... The violin continues alone. In the night it is so thin it sounds frozen."
"We make grim, coarse jests... We are in good humour because otherwise we should go to pieces... And so we shall march, our dead comrades beside us, the years at the Front behind us: against whom, against whom?"

Sally Beamish

Performances 
1995 City Halls, Glasgow: Anthony Marwood / BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins
2
Flute
2nd doubling piccolo
2
Oboe
2nd doubling cor anglais
2
Clarinet
2nd doubling bass clarinet
2
Bassoon
4
Horn
3
Trumpet
3
Trombone
3rd bass trombone
1
Tuba
1
Timpani
2
Percussion
(Esc)