Concerto #1
for Violin and Orchestra (2020)
by Ron Hannah


Duration: about 20 minutes

     Designating a piece "#1" implies there are, or will be, more such works. It took me a long time, and some pressure from friendly sources, to produce this concerto, and I'm not really sure there will be more, but giving it a number means that possibility will always resonate at the back of my mind!


     The impetus to write a concerto came from Noune Shamakhian, daughter of the famous violinist, Anahit Tsitsikian. Noune was our hostess when Andrea and I premiered our opera in Yerevan, based on the story of St. Gregory of Armenia. She told us the story of Gregory, took us to various historical sites, and planted the idea for a concerto. And here it is: dedicated to Noune in memory of her mother. I hope it does justice to both.

     A sampling of the score (the opening 5 pages of each movement) may be downloaded from the box at left, and a midi realisation (fairly realistic) can be heard at the box to the right. The photo in the box is of me addressing the audience at my birthday concert in 2015. It was taken by Noune herself. Full score and parts are available through the Canadian Music Centre or send me a message (below).

     This will be a demanding but rewarding work for any violinist who wishes to show off his or her skill. I am not a violinist, but I have often been told that my music sits well even on instruments I don't play myself. That of course is the result of many years of study, of listening, and of playing in various ensembles (I was a clarinettist once). Still, some technical things might be improved through consultation with a real player, and I would welcome such collaboration.

     The overall mood the piece is optimistic and uplifting, by turns dramatic and tender, and I hope that listeners might find there is a kinship to the muscular orchestral works of Shostakovich or perhaps Khatchaturian. They were both looking over my shoulder as I wrote. As a contrast and in recognition of my Armenian experiences, in the second movement I quote a gentle song by Komitas, called "Lorik" (Quail), and turning it into a small set of variation.