DoReMi, a Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (world premiere, LA Phil commission)
Length: c. 20 minutes
Orchestration: 3 flutes (2nd = piccolo, 3rd = alto flute), 2 oboes (2nd = English horn), 3 clarinets (2nd = E-flat clarinet, 3rd = bass clarinet), 2 bassoons (2nd = contrabassoon), 2 horns, 2 trumpets, alto trombone, percussion (player #1: glockenspiel, triangle (low), bongo, 2 metal tubes (mid, high), sizzle cymbal, maracas, 3 woodblocks, splash cymbal (mid); player #2: xylophone, triangle (mid), crotales, chimes, gong, caxixi, guiro, splash cymbal (high); player #3: 2 cymbals (low, mid), triangle (high), bongo, tom-tom, sizzle cymbal, maracas, tambourine, splash cymbal (very high), tam-tam), harp, celesta, strings, and solo violin
First Los Angeles Philharmonic performances (world premiere)
DoReMi was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and the BBC Proms. The composer has written the following note:
After 60 years of experience as a composer, in my Violin Concerto No. 2 I liked the idea of returning to where I began as a youngster: putting voices above or next to each other like building blocks and finding pleasure in the variations of the successions.
Do-Re-Mi means the beginning of music: it is like 1, 2, 3 in the world of numbers. We’ve learned it from nursery rhymes and ancient melodies – how to create tunes with only these three notes – and we can hear how a hierarchal relationship comes into being between them. One of the sounds occurs more frequently and gets the main role, while the other two merely accompany it.
The position of the Re in the middle is extremely sensitive. Being wedged between Do and Mi, Re seems to want to escape from the pressure of the two other sounds. In the event that it succeeds, Re gets into a central position so that everything can revolve around it and finally every tune will end up with it.
This is certainly just the starting point of my Violin Concerto. While a child is occupied with shaping, I am interested in misshaping. Let me demonstrate this with a simple example: when I push Re, the sound in the middle of Do-Re-Mi, with half a tone up or down, the D becomes D-sharp or D-flat so that it ends up closer to Do or Mi. It distances itself from one and gets closer to the other. This creates an immense tension and conflicts will emerge – just as in real life, dramatic situations can evolve. Actually, this is where my Violin Concerto begins. The theme of Do-Re-Mi is the world constituted of simple things, easing the tensions, freeing from the ties. The rest is to be listened to...
– Peter Eötvös