Movements: 

I. Silent Music II. Flying Heads III. Man of Principles IV. On the Night Boat

Duration: 22' / 40' with narration

Year of completion: 2007

Soloists: Violin

Optional narration

Ensemble: flute, clarinet, bassoon, 2 horns, 3, violins, 3 violas, 2 celli, contrabass

Commissioned by the Netherland-America Foundation and premiered by violinist Colin Jacobsen and the Albany Symphony Orchestra by Maestro David Miller, April 2007.  This chamber version was arranged in 2011 for Jacobsen and The Knights, one of New York City's premiere chamber ensembles. 

'Silent Music'

'Flying Heads'

'Man of Principles'

'On the Night Boat'

 

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Composer's Note:

This violin concerto is my second work inspired by a novel of Pulitzer winning and esteemed author William Kennedy. The first composition that I wrote based upon one of his books was Eyeball High, a tone poem to the novel Legs about the infamous New York gangster Legs Diamond. Whereas the tone poem attempted to capture the essence of the main character and the core thrust of the book, the four movements of the violin concerto Roscoe are separately inspired by specific passages from Kennedy’s novel. At the premiere in Albany, NY, Mr. Kennedy read the corresponding passages before each of the movements.

The novel follows Roscoe Owens Conway, a bigwig operative in the Albany Democratic Party as he tries to fend off the Republican governor who is preparing a legal assault on the corrupt Democrats. The corruption of the political machine that Roscoe is entrusted with protecting is insidiously rampant involving gambling, prostitution, and plenty of under-the-table money. Transpiring at the time of V-J Day, 1945, the novel twists in a sordid love affair between Roscoe and Veronica, the mistress of fellow democratic moneyman Elisha who mysteriously commits suicide. As a protagonist, Roscoe sizzles as a clever, corrupt, and yet thoroughly likable character. In times like ours, when the seedier side of our government seems to have bubbled to the visible surface, Kennedy’s reflection on the darker side of the whole enterprise with focus on the individual politicians who man the wheels of power is all the more timely.