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Vajda Gergely: Gloomy Sunday Variations

for orchestra

score and parts

Setting: Orchestra
Instrumentation: 2 Fl (2 Picc), 2 Ob, 2 Cl (2.: Bcl), 2 Fg (2.: Cfg), 4 Cor, 2 Tr, 2 Trb, Tuba, Perc (3 players), Arpa, Pf, Cel, Strings
Period: Contemporary Music
Duration: 13'
Published: 2019
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Editio Musica Budapest
Item number: V-47
Other reference: 15113
I wanted Order to give me Freedom (cf. Attila József). In my latest orchestral piece, I challenged myself to dance as free as possible with legs and hands tied (a well-known a musical theme, and the long history of the variation form and the adhering expectations). As a starting point for my work I was looking for a ''standard'', as jazz terminology would call it, which is known worldwide but is also Hungarian-related (Hungarian Suicide Song), and whose melody is familiar to the listener, even if they cannot name the title or the author. However, the famous, notorious hit of Rezső Seress does not appear in its entirety in my piece, so the audience is constantly forced to search for it, which, I hope, turns the process of listening into a game in the most noble sense of the word.

In 2004, I dedicated my first orchestral piece, DŰVŐ, to Péter Eötvös’ 60th birthday. Gloomy Sunday Variations is a gift to his 75th birthday, and it is also a reference to an opera on Seress that he planned but did not realize. Eötvös remembers this: ‚’When Kent Nagano asked me to write a work for the Los Angeles Opera in 2001, I thought I was composing an opera on Seress’ life. For financial reasons, however, this project did not come to be realized, and I admit, I am glad, too, because the subject seemed dangerously sentimental at that time.’’ (Péter Eötvös - Pedro Amaral: Parlando-rubato). As a birthday tribute, I was ready to face this danger. (Gergely Vajda)

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