Bach, J. S.
Peter Eötvös (*1944): Violin concertos 1 and 2
The composer about his violin concerto Nr.1 "Seven"(2007)
The Columbia disaster on 1 February 2003 was a dramatic incident which moved me very deeply. Especially the television image of an empty astronaut´s helmet which had been found intact in a field among numerous pieces of debris symbolized to me the tragedy of this disaster that claimed the lives of seven people shortly before the return of the space shuttle to Earth.
For a long time, I had thought of writing a violin concerto. Against the background of the tragic events concerning the 28th Space Shuttle Mission, I took up this idea again: the violin concerto as a musical dialogue between soloist and orchestra seemed to me particularly suited to lend musical shape to the memory of the killed astronauts.
Each of the seven astronauts has been given a personal dedication cadence. Even the representation of their characters is reflected in the composition, for example by reminiscences of the musical cultures of Kalpana Chawla, the India-born American female astronaut, and of Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli in space.
The number 7 determines the musical and rhythmic structure of the work, describing at the same time the basic principle of the composition: 49 muisicians are divided into 7 groups, apart from the solo violin there are 6 further violins arranged in the hall. They are like seven satellites or souls sounding and hovering in space.
The violin concerto Seven is a very personal monologue and the musical expression of my sympathy towards the seven astronauts who lost their lives while exploring space in fulfilment of a fundamental dream of mankind. — Peter Eötvös
The composer about his violin concerto Nr.2 „Do-Re-Mi“ (2013)
After 60 years of experience as a composer, in my Violin Concerto No. 2 I liked the idea of returning to where I began as a youngster: putting voices above or next to each other like building blocks and finding pleasure in the variations of the successions. Do-Re-Mi means the beginning of music: it is like 1, 2, 3 in the world of numbers. We’ve learned it from nursery rhymes and ancient melodies — how to create tunes with only these three notes — and we can hear how a hierarchal relationship comes into being between them. One of the sounds occurs more frequently and gets the main role, while the other two merely accompany it. The position of the Re in the middle is extremely sensitive. Being wedged between Do and Mi, Re seems to want to escape from the pressure of the two other sounds. In the event that it succeeds, Re gets into a central position so that everything can revolve around it and finally every tune will end up with it. This is certainly just the starting point of my Violin Concerto. While a child is occupied with shaping, I am interested in misshaping. Let me demonstrate this with a simple example: when I push Re, the sound in the middle of Do-Re-Mi, with half a tone up or down, the D becomes D-sharp or D-flat so that it ends up closer to Do or Mi. It distances itself from one and gets closer to the other. This creates an immense tension and conflicts will emerge — just as in real life, dramatic situations can evolve. Actually, this is where my Violin Concerto begins. The theme of Do-Re-Mi is the world — Peter Eötvös