Concertos for Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Louis Langrée

Zhou Tian, Thieerry Escaich, Sebastian Currier, composers

Concertos for Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony OrchestraLouis Langrée
Zhou Tian, Thieerry Escaich, Sebastian Currier, composers

My Concerto for Orchestra was written as a love letter to the symphony orchestra, with passages ranging from epic to extremely intimate. It is scored lushly and mostly tonally through four parts: “Glow” (a voyage to splendidness from a simple theme); “Indigo” (a musical postcard from a walk in the forest one late summer night); “Seeker’s Scherzo” (a restless game to find the true theme); and “Intermezzo – Allegro” (a fierce rhapsody that begins with a lyrical fugue). Behind the power and edginess, there is an unmistakable sense of romanticism in the music, which is also one quality that I found to be true of the Cincinnati Symphony. —Zhou Tian

From press release: Zhou Tian’s new Concerto for Orchestra is a grandiose symphony in which every instrument of the large symphony orchestra is treated soloistically. Zhou filled the traditional fast-slow-scherzofinale format with melodies of great originality, colorfully orchestrated and often subjected to contrapuntal imitation. The agile and wide-spanning opening theme of the first movement (“Glow”) is introduced by the first clarinet; after it has been developed at some length, a second, more dignified theme is played by the cellos and basses. In the central portion of the movement, the trumpets initiate a nervous motif of repeated notes that gradually takes over the entire orchestra. A virtuoso cadenza for clarinet leads to a free recapitulation and a hymn-like “Maestoso” ending.

A slow, lyrical string theme and some florid woodwind writing generate much of the thematic material of the second movement (“Indigo”). At the climactic moment, an inverted version of the first movement’s opening theme appears with great energy, before the music resumes its earlier, lyrical melodic flow

The third-movement scherzo, “Seeker’s Scherzo,” is based on a lighthearted melody that becomes much more intense in the course of its development, with the momentum continuing unabated right up to the energetic ending. The finale begins with a lyrical “Intermezzo,” in which a growing fugue is formed by the principal players of strings and winds. A timpani solo marked ostinatos, a vigorous Allegro con brio develops, becoming more and more excited as it progresses. Then Zhou suddenly reduces the orchestration for a prolonged build-up of the entire orchestra, followed by a comeback of the main theme, leading directly to the triumphant conclusion.

CD release date November 11, 2016, Fanfare Cincinnati


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