OVERSCRIPT: CONCERTO FOR FLUTE AND CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (formerly known as simply "Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra") for solo flute, oboe, bassoon, harpsichord and string orchestra (revised, 2012). 1993. Commissioned by ConAccord Canada for Robert Aitken with a grant from the Ontario Arts Council. 45 minutes. Part of the SPRING EQUINOX project. Score and parts available through PROMETHEAN EDITIONS.


 Commissioned in 1992 by Conaccord Canada for flutist Robert Aitken, Overscript was first performed on March 23, 2001 by flutist Patrick Gallois and an ad hoc ensemble consisting of faculty and students of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. Originally titled Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra, Overscript was mildly revised and renamed in 2012. That year I composed a second flute concerto called Departures and this necessitated renaming the first concerto. Overscript  is a palimpsest (an overwrite) of, and a musical commentary on the Concerto in G minor for Flute, Strings and Basso Continuo, BWV 1056/I, by Johann Sebastian Bach. The latter is itself a compilation of movements from earlier concerti, the manuscripts of which no longer exist. Judging from the melodic writing and the instrumental range of the solo part, it seems that the two outer movements are probably from a violin concerto, while the middle movement must have been originally conceived for a solo wind instrument. It has been handed down to us as the Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in F minor, an arrangement Bach probably made for his weekly Collegium Musicum concerts in Leipzig. In my own composition, I took into account the published harpsichord version of the original and the flute version recorded on compact disc by William Bennett and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-fields under Neville Marriner (London Jubilee 417 715 LM) as well as the continuo rendering by Christopher Hogwood. The entire Bach concerto is included, however fragmented, in my own work. Not only have I preserved the original in its entirety, but I have also preserved the overall structure: the linear harmonic and thematic evolution is identical in both works. A process of 'intervalic stretching' and 'tempo compression' of the original music is in operation throughout, and the listener is invited to make comparisons between the original and the derived materials, which, for that purpose, are always juxtaposed in close proximity. This method of conveying musical information is more evident in the outer movements. In the middle movement, there is an emotional and personal involvement with the material which, like in a romantic concerto, will hopefully carry the listener beyond the cerebral concerns of the other two movements. Here, the opening melody—one of the most beautiful melodies by Bach—is interrupted at the point of the half-cadence, and what follows is a long development section in the romantic tradition which eventually returns to the original melody at the end. The baroque concerto character of the original is preserved in the outer movements. There the soloist plays with the orchestra, not against it. In the middle movement, the orchestra begins as an accompanist to the solo instrument, eventually assuming a role reminiscent of the nineteenth century concerto. In addition to the strings and continuo orchestration of the original, my orchestra includes an oboe and a bassoon. The prominent role of these two instruments, second only to the solo flute, is acknowledged in the rather long cadenza of the third movement, where they occasionally share the spotlight with the soloist. The solo part itself is arduous, and makes great demands on the player in terms of range, expressiveness, rhythmic precision and breath control. Finally, the naming of the individual movements (also a 2012 afterthought) has nothing to do with punches in the boxing ring. It has to do with hemispheric function in the human brain and how this might be reflected in the contrasting compositional approaches to the Bach material in each of the movements.
 


Premiere performance: March 23, 2001. Patrick Gallois, flute and an orchestra consisting of University of Toronto faculty and students under the direction of Gary Kulesha. Faculty Artist Concerts, Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. 
 


For more information on the make-up of this work, read the essay: The Art of the Palimpsest: Compositional Approaches to the Music of J. S. Bach
 


Reviews:

Hatzis' compositions a feast for the ears 

The world premiere of Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra showed us Hatzis as deconstructionist, creating a collage from a Bach flute concerto and his own manipulations of Bach's familiar phrases. If the first movement tipped to the side of arid ingenuity, the second tipped the other way as Hatzis unmuzzled his inner rhapsode. The third abounded in fun. Soloist Patrick Gallois seemed to enjoy himself throughout as he leaped through the florid difficulties of his part. His delight mirrored the response of all present. John Lehr, The Toronto Star (Canada)

 Camerata Premiere Turns into Adoration at the Athens Concert Hall

The capacity audience in the concert hall Dimitris Mitropoulos of the Megaron Mousikis [Athens Concert Hall] literally "deified" renowned flutist Patrick Gallois and the Camerata Orchestra last Sunday evening, which under the direction of its permanent Artistic Director Alexander Myrat inaugurated its fall season. The audience also wildly applauded Greek composer Christos Hatzis, whose work, Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra, was given its European premiere. After persistent calls from the audience, the performers played the last part of the concerto as an encore. Christos Hatzis lives in Canada and is considered in North America as one of the most important composers of our time. Ta Nea. October 14, 2003 (Greece)



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