When one thinks of violin concertos, it is easy to summon up the typical formulas and expectations. The concerto I will premiere next spring in Chattanooga is not going to be one of those.
Last summer I mentioned to Hollywood film composer, George S. Clinton, that an Epic Western kind of violin concerto would be fun. He agreed and began formulating ideas. We chatted on the phone, brainstormed, shared what we liked and didn’t like about the typical concertos and were very much on the same page.
The Rose of Sonora: A Concerto in Five Scenes, is basically movie music without the movie.
It has a distinct plot; each movement is a part of a greater story arc inspired by true stories about the lives of legendary women in the Old West.
While there is a definite narrative about love, loss, and revenge, (text describing each scene will be projected on a screen prior to playing) it is the audience’s own imagination that will provide the movie.
Like any movie preview, George whittled down some of the best “scenes” of the concerto to create a compelling and exhilarating two-minute teaser for the concert stage.
Since the concerto is scored for a symphonic sized orchestra and a 16-member male chorus, there were many moving parts to pull this off.
With help of Chattanooga Symphony’s Music Director Kayoko Dan, Chorus Master Darrin Hassevoort, and Music Director Emeritus and Principal Pops Conductor, Bob Bernhardt, we programmed this teaser on one of the last concerts of the 17-18 season.
The audience loved it!
The enthusiasm was so palpable, there were people calling the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera offices the next day to find out when tickets would be available!
And finally, I will leave you with this: there is at least one Easter Egg in this concerto! (what is an Easter Egg?) Leading up to the April 25, 2019 premiere date, there will be plenty of clues on both Facebook and the website!