Completed in 1995, for Peter Zazofsky,
this concerto for violin and large orchestra has been recorded by the
Warsaw Philharmonic with Gerhardt Zimmermann conducting. Cast in three
movements, the plan is moderate, slow, fast. The first movement begins
with soft flutterings in the strings and harp and progresses to a
passionate first outburst from the violin in its highest register. The
five-note motive that the soloist introduces is presented in many
different moods and textures, and there is little extraneous material in
the first movement. The mood is one of intense yearning with forceful
outbursts. This movement ends with a serene coda that leads into the
more amorous mood of the second movement.
Slower in tempo, the second movement is songlike and lyrical, with tragic undercurrents. The middle section is a barcarolle-like jazzy section with bluesy clarinet and flute obbligatos and string harmonics. After a return to the opening mood this movement ends with a cushion of string harmonics that supports a long prayer-like recitative in the solo violin part.
The utter calm at the end of the second movement is broken by the beginning of the third movement which is marked Allegro tumultuoso. The percussion and accented irregular note groupings lead into a rollicking perpetuo moto that gains speed as it progresses. Only one short passage of stasis above a walking bass slows the momentum as the soloist demonstrates more and more technical expertise, ending the movement with a coda taken at breakneck speed.
Reviews of Violin Concerto:
“ John Carbon’s more traditionally structured, three-movement Violin Concerto, recorded n 1995, the year in which it appeared, ventures further harmonically and melodically, and offers the soloist more opportunities for technical display. Unlike so many works in which disjointed melodies leap capriciously among dissonant harmonies, Carbon’s showcases the solo violin in conjoint ones that brood (as in the ominous conclusions of the second movement) and soar, albeit in unfamiliar harmonic territory. The finale’s dazzling, kinetic virtuosity culminates a difficult but rewarding work. ”
American record Guide:
“ ...many moments of genuine beauty ”