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Symphony no.6 : full orchestra

by John Polglase (2020)

Symphony no.6


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Symphony no.6 / John Polglase.

Library shelf no. 784.2/POL 4 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Symphony no. 6 is a work in a single movement of approximately 33 to 35 minutes duration.

It was composed in memory of Brenton Langbein AO, an Adelaide born violinist of international repute. Langbein's career was closely associated with the cities of Zürich and Basel, Switzerland, where he acted as concertmaster of Paul Sacher's famous Collegium Musicum Zürich, the Basel Chamber Orchestra and as Professor of Violin at the Basel Academy of Music. As well as these activities he was responsible for the founding of Die Kammermusiker Zürich, The Adelaide Chamber Orchestra, The Opera Factory and The Barossa International Music Festival for which he acted as Artistic Director. In this role he was often premiering, performing in and commissioning new works from composers of high international profile as well as those lesser known, of which this composer has the honour of being included.

As such this symphony has a prominent part for solo violin which serves both as a foil to the broader symphonic soundscape and whose solos tie together the main section of the work. Formally the symphony is bracketed by slow, sonorous brass chorales marked Lento. This sonority also appears throughout the work, acting as a bridge between the principal sections. The solo violin first appears in these slow chorales with its sinuous melody winding through the brass chords. The bulk of the symphony is in a broad, three part structure with energetic, developed material about a more gentle central Andante. Throughout the solo violin appears, weaving its own material with music from the orchestral texture.

Work Details

Year: 2020

Instrumentation: Piccolo (doubles flute 3), 2 flutes (2 doubles alto flute in G), 2 oboes, English horn in F (doubles oboe 3), 2 clarinets in B flat, bass clarinet in B flat (doubles clarinet 3), 2 bassoons, contra bassoon (doubles bassoon 3), 4 horns in F, 3 C trumpets in C, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (3 players: large deep toned gong, tam tam, 3 suspended cymbals of different pitches; from low and sonorous to high and bright, crash cymbals, triangle, glockenspiel, bass drum, 3 tom toms), 2 harps, strings (at least 2 basses with C string or extension).

Duration: 35 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: In memoriam Brenton Langbein AO


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