Commissioned by the Adolphe Sax Rev. Foundation with financial support from the Dutch Performing Arts Foundation. Dedicated to the Aurelia Quartet.
Première of the ensemble version: 22 Nov. 2014 Muziekgebouw Amsterdam at the International Sax Festival SAX14 by Aurelia Quartet & ASKO/Schönberg Ensemble conducted by Etienne Siebens. (video)
The Aurelia Quartet and I have a long history of collaboration, starting in 1998 with Pitch Black and resulting in several other quartets and solo works for individual members like the Tallahatchie Concerto which I wrote for Arno Bornkamp in 2002.
While I was composing the first sketches in the summer of 2013, I heard the sad news that Johan and Willem had left the ensemble, notably shortly after 30 their year jubilee, which somehow had an impact on the mood of this composition. Besides, in 2014 it was exactly 100 years after the Great War began, which reminded me of a popular song in those days: ‘It's a long way to Tipperary’ by Jack Judge. This was sung by Irish soldiers but was soon copied by British, Russian and French soldiers. Although Tipperary is a small town in Ireland, where not even Jack Judge had ever been, the song expressed the desperate longing of homesick soldiers. Even in WW2, Tipperary was a popular tune in the military, I can remember my dad singing it. Apart from a small quote in measure 126 the original tune is not present in this concerto, but I decided to name my concerto after it. The piece has one movement and opens with an adagio that seems to be standing still. Eventually this leads into a first apotheosis, followed by a ‘liquid blues’, leading the way to a kind of scherzo and a fast final section, followed by a coda which is a reminiscence of the adagio. Duration: 20’
Published by JacobTV & BOOMBOX HOLLAND