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Five Pieces Op.56

By Lennox Berkeley

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Violin and Piano
Composed by Lennox Berkeley (1903-1989). Music Sales America. 20th Century. Book Only. Composed 2002. Chester Music #MUSCH55778. Published by Chester Music (HL.14004213).

Item Number: HL.14004213

Five Pieces for Violin and Orchestra was commissioned by Frederick Grinke and completed on 20 December 1961.

The BBC Symphony Orchestra with Frederick Grinke (violin) and conducted by the composer, gave the first performanceon 31 July 1962 at the Royal Albert Hall, London during the BBC Proms season.

This work is so constructed that each piece is complete in itself and can be played separately, while at the same time the whole set of fiveconstitutes a structural unit. A basic motif consisting of a rising semitone followed by a falling tone, and its inversion plays an important part in every piece. Thus the first piece, which is of a slow and meditativecharacter, begins with this theme in the bass. It is also heard in the first entry of the solo part, and thereafter every episode is in some way derived from it. The next piece, a vigorous and strongly marked 'allegro', uses thesemitone of the original figure as its starting point. A second theme appears, first on the horns and is later taken up by the solo violin, while a third section has the initial idea as its accompaniment. Next comes an extendedscherzo in free form very closely based on initial motif. The fourth is a purely melodic piece containing allusions in its middle section to the basic figure. Here the strings only are used for accompaniment. In the firstsection, violas and cellos are divided in the middle section, and all the strings are used in the last, which is otherwise an almost exact repetition of the opening. The Finale is a lighter movement than the others, concernedmainly with giving the soloist material for display, but not unconnected with what has gone before.

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