Echoes Of The Past 18′; Melodies Of The Heart 10′; Rhythms Of The Soul 7′.
Commissioned by Elmer and Hilda Hildebrand for Rosemary Siemens in honour of Golden West Radio’s 50th Anniversary. (premiere December 2, 2012)
Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Mickelthwate, conductor
Instrumentation: 2(2nd dbls picc)22(2nd dbls Bcl)2/433/timp/2perc/solo violin/strings.
Piano solo/piano performance/rehearsal score and orchestra score for sale (orchestra parts – rental)
Several years ago violinist Rosemary Siemens called me about composing a concerto for her based on hymns (as was The Mennonite Piano Concerto). Rosemary and accompanist Loren Hiebert are well known for their brilliant improvisations on hymns. Rosemary is a versatile performer: concerto soloist, concertmaster for orchestras from student days to Carnegie Hall, with a rising pop music career. What emerged will hopefully reflect her talents as a soloist, as well as her heritage and that of the commissioners and their community:
1. Echoes of the Past. A musical mist begins. The violin/the person remembers and longs for the great hymns of the past. The sound of church bells ring out, calling all to come to worship. The violin plays an original theme setting the stage, and fragments of hymns swirl about taking us to the past. Then follow a series of hymns with the violin commenting by way of countermelodies, the original theme returns, church bells chime, a cadenza brings reflection on what we have heard, then Onward Christian Soldiers marches us to the conclusion, with a reprise of mist and the violin’s original theme.
(Hymns in this movement include: Bringing In The Sheaves, Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling; Oh God Our Help In Ages Past; Onward Christian Soldiers; Holy Holy Holy Lord God Almighty; Guide Me Now O Thou Great Jehovah; The Old Rugged Cross, and Oh Power Of Love.)
2. Melodies of the Heart (variations on Amazing Grace and Nearer My God To Thee).
3. Rhythms of the Soul. Opening with the hymn that begins The Mennonite Piano Concerto in the celli and basses (Jesu meine Freude -Jesus Priceless Treasure), we then travel to Latin America, home to many modern Mennonites. This movement is a rondo form – ABACA themes etc, and, though not immediately apparent, the Latin A theme is a variation on Jesu meine Freude. The B theme is Tell Me The Old Old Story, and the C theme yet another hymn. The rhythm pulses on until we arrive at a cadenza for violin and percussion followed by reprises of the major themes of the 1st and 2nd movement before we sweep into a climactic statement of Jesu meine Freude to end.