Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra

for solo violin and symphony orchestra

commissioned by the Katherine A. Abelson Fund of the Lester Abelson Foundation

In ancient Greece a “rhapsod” was a singer of epic poems and bits and pieces of tales strung together making a collage of entertainment. I have, in a like manner, allowed a simple line of melody, first introduced by the violin, to speak a musical tale. The violin, full of the exuberance and energy of youth, threads through the story’s themes and shadow themes, weaving a mosaic of sound through each episode. Shadow themes are melodies that are acoustically derived from one another like shadows. At first these themes perform supportive roles, but as the story moves forward, they gain in dominance of pitch and dynamic. Sometimes running ahead of a passage, making aggressive commentary, and sometimes aligning with the emotional expression of the phrase, the violin shifts between a mere exercise of notes to a noble exploration of broadening lyricism. William Neil


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Audio from the premiere

Rhapsody for Violin

Excerpt from score:

 “Rhapsody for Violin excerpt

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