Goldgräber, Vein from Goldgräber, and Filigree on Goldgräber for solo violin


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Violin concerto; Korngold; Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra


This piece draws fragmented motivic content from Korngold’s wonderful Violin Concerto without ever specifically referencing that work, hence the title Goldgräber. In German, this term would mean “prospector” or “gold miner,” but I am taking the German-to-English translation a bit more literally, in that I am “grabbing” the smallest bits of material from his work. The material is so granular, I would argue, that it does not actually belong to the Korngold; it simply is found within the Korngold (Beethoven did not copyright the C major triad for example; the chord is found in the works of multiple composers). A graph detailing the location of my own mining operations within the Korngold, along with where that material is used within my own piece, is included at the beginning of the score. The end result of my exploration is quite different from Korngold’s, and so in that sense my own work is quite detached from his. In fact, this piece was an attempt on my part to create something that went in a completely different direction than the building blocks I was dealt seemed to suggest. If this is too strong, then at least I was trying to go in a very different direction from where my ear had already been trained to go, not because I disagreed with Korngold’s use of his own material, but because I simply wanted to forge my own path with the project that was set before me. This work is set in an extended theme and variations form where the Korngold theme is never actually stated. A pseudo-theme that combines particles I gleaned from Korngold’s opening measures takes its place and fills that role, but I do still like the idea of hearing my own piece as a set of variations without an actual stated theme. In that way, the ghost of Korngold’s concerto looms over the whole thing, and this is an intriguing thought to me! This piece was premiered on June 8, 2004 by Timothy Lees, Concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.