Primavera Doubles

Primavera Doubles (2000)
Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra – 23 min.
Program Notes, Score
Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music Publishing

Pri­mav­era Doubles by Don Freund

Program Note:

Pri­mav­era Dou­bles (2000) was com­mis­sioned by the Bald­win Wal­lace Con­ser­va­tory of Music for vio­lin­ist Julian Ross, cel­list Regina Mushabac, and the Con­ser­va­tory Orches­tra, con­ducted by Dwight Olt­man. This Dou­ble Con­certo fea­tures a pair of soloists, but there are other “doubles”as well: each of the three move­ments is a double-movement; reflec­tions of mate­r­ial using vari­a­tion and imi­ta­tion pop­u­late the work; and two-voice writ­ing is abun­dant — the most obvi­ous exam­ple being “Echo la Pri­mav­era,” a two-voice madri­gal by 14th-century Ital­ian com­poser Francesco Lan­dini, which haunts the piece, appear­ing in var­i­ous guises and finally pro­vid­ing the work’s conclusion.

First Dou­bles: Sug­ges­tions and Saun­ter­songs begins with a dou­ble cadenza that is intro­duced and inter­rupted by a uni­son tutti motto rhythm which will re-appear obses­sively in the last move­ment. The cadenza fades to a glim­mer of dis­em­bod­ied Lan­dini and then to the Saun­ter­songs, pre­sented over a trundling pas­sacaglia bass.

Sec­ond Dou­bles: Scher­zos and Somber­songs breaks in with a rough, tur­bu­lent tutti act­ing as a foil to another lighter scherzo, which pits the pair of string soloists against a pair of drum­mers. The ensu­ing Somber­songs sim­i­larly alter­nate dark, brood­ing phrases (tuba solo answered by cello) with a high, bright ver­sion of the Lan­dini (vio­lin and glock­en­spiel, echoed by flutes). Other soul­ful and even­tu­ally radi­ant dia­logues fol­low, closed by a ghostly return of the “pairs” scherzo.

Third Dou­bles: Swag­ger­song and Saltarello reverses the shape of the other move­ments, begin­ning with a heav­ily char­ac­tered folk-song which accel­er­ates into a swirling dance. At the end, the open­ing cadenza returns, but this time it leads to a cul­mi­nat­ing invo­ca­tion of Landini’s “Pri­mav­era” madrigal.