Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Unusual concertos 111-115: From serpent to electric bass guitar

The concerto for solo instrument(s) and orchestra is one of the most popular genres in classical music. However, I think 95+ % of all concertos have been composed for piano or violin. Previously I have run a series on concertos for less common instruments in this blog, reaching an amazing number of 100 in the end (all these posts were reset to draft end March 2017). I have been summarizing these in ten posts in the course of last year, each covering ten unusual concertos, keeping the sequences the same as in the past. I've completed this effort in December and followed up with another 10 last month. Here we have another five that I've come across recently, bringing the total so far to 115.

[111] Serpent. This ancestor of the tuba is another one of the ancient instruments that are going through a small revival in classical music. I came across a concerto for serpent and orchestra by Simon Proctor, played by Doug Yeo and the Boston Pops under John Williams, available on Youtube.

[112] Knifonium. A new instrument, a tube analogue synthesizer. Already one concerto has been composed and recorded, by Olli Virtaperko. I have it in a version by Jonte Knif and the Jyvaskyla Sinfonia under Ville Matvejeff on an Ondine CD.

[113] Turkish instruments and voices. An exotic combination of kemenche, zurnas, ney, and wordless voices - courtesy of a concerto by Kamran Ince. Available on Youtube.

[114] Txistu. An old basque fipple flute, rarely heard outside Basque folk music. I came across an interesting concerto for this rarity recently. It is composed by Tomas Arangues, and played by Jose Ansorena and the Euskadi Symphony Orchestra under Cristian Mandeal on an Elkar CD.

[115] Electric bass guitar. I recently came across a concerto for this instrument by Lauri Porra. A performance by the composer and the Sinfonia Lahti Orchestra under Kuusisto is available on Youtube.

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