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Title Concierto de Camara 'Mar del Plata'
Composer David Johnstone
Instrumentation Solo Accordion and String Ochestra (Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Double-Bass)
Duration Performance time 22 mins
Cat. No. JM 20 SC
Edition / Format 2006 A4. Study Score and Extractions (instrumental parts)

The Concierto de Camara 'Mar del Plata' is not intended to be specifically a 'tango' work although one can appreciate many influences of this style, especially in the rhythmical aspects. This work for Accordion soloist and String Orchestra was born out of the respect and 'well-feeling' towards Astor Piazzolla, the 'father figure' of modern Argentinian music, who was born in the city of Mar del Plata in 1921.

The concerto is structured in four movements, which at the same time form two large entities comprising two linked, and almost joined, movements each one. Various themes are treated cyclically (motives of one movement appear in transformations in other movements) to achieve more solidity and unity to the work.

The first movement 'Fantasia' (largo, ma non troppo) is the most abstract movement of the four, incorporating Cadenzas for the accordionist and agreeable dissonances in the strings. Its function is that of a long introduction which launches into the following movement with the briefest of a pause.

The second movement 'Allegro de Concert' (allegro moderato, espresivo e triste) is written in a very free type of 'Sonata form' where in some way the 'tango' music is mixed with 'new-age' without losing at the same time a true classical feeling. The re-exposition quickly develops towards a highly powered climax towards the end, then gradually coming to rest on some deliberate static harmonies which well prepare the ambience for the following movement.

The third movement takes us back into the history of music an authentic 'Habanera' (tempo di habanera, tranquilo) full of sweetness, sensuality and generally introspective. There is an especial melodic role given to the violinists and violas, whilst the bass sections gentling portray the characteristic habanera throbbing pulsations.

When the cadenza at the beginning of the fourth movement is reached 'Vigoroso' (introduction allegro) there is an obvious return to modernity in what is to become a very rhythmic piece with many interesting outwardly projected passages (and not only for the accordion soloist but for all strings), with elements of humour, musical conversations and a passionate conclusion.

The work was written for the important Spanish solo accordionist Francisco Javier López Jaso. Although it becomes truly 'grandioso' work when played with an ample-sized string orchestra it should be fair to point out that it has already received a number of performances with the most reduced string orchestral size conceivable (some 12 musicians) and in fact is well possible to be performed with a string quartet for the work Sonata de Camara 'Mar del Plata'.

The total performance time is about 22 - 23 minutes, making it a sensible choice for a wide range of orchestral programmes, and is particularly beckoning for those conductors and accordion soloists looking for an unusual but beautiful instrumental combination.

Parts Conductor's Score, Solo Accordion, Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Double-Bass
Sound samples clip from 2 movement 'Allegro de Concert'
clip from 3 movement 'Habanera'
clip from 4 movement 'Vigoroso'
Price Conductor Score + Soloist Part £26.50
Extractions (Instrumental Parts) available individually as required at £2.00 each
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Sample of the sheet music

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This page was last updated on 29 March, 2006