Two Maria concerto for violin and orchestra

First Prize 2010 SCI/ASCAP Composition Competition region VI and USA finalist

Romanian-American Music Festival, Sibiu, Romania, June 2016

Homage to Maria Tanase and Leonard Bernstein

Program Notes

    Two Maria is my humble homage to two musicians who opened the world of music to me, a world including the East side and the "West Side." Years ago I was fascinated by Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts. Today I still hear the deeply touching voice of the beloved Romanian singer Maria Tanase.

    The first movement, Rhapsody for Maria, contrasts themes inspired by Maria Tanase's folk songs, united by a motif made of the first three notes of Leonard Bernstein's "Maria." The orchestra listens to, supports, and complements the rhapsodic story told by the solo violin.

    The second movement, Voices of the Past, alternates in an arch form a sixteenth century-like contrapuntal theme with a lullaby. With increased polyphony and tension, the solo violin continues the story, in counterpoint with the orchestra.

    Finally, the third movement, East Side Blues, builds on a characteristic group of four notes, found in both the harmonic minor scale typical to Eastern Europe, and the American blues scale. The energetic and atonal introduction of short motifs is interrupted by a slow 12-bar blues progression echoing a Romanian "doina" (a longing folk song). The solo violin resumes the rapid motifs and, leading a restless orchestra, transforms them into recognizable short quotes from one of Maria Tanase's songs and Leonard Bernstein's "America." The solo violin completes the story-homage with the final chords made of the three notes of the "Maria" theme.


Live performance also available on the Videos page.

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