Mr. Abbinanti is an American composer who was educated at the American Conservatory of Music, the University of Illinois, and at the University of Chicago. The newly written work, Rhapsodic Concerto for Cello and Orchestra “War and Peace” is dedicated to cellist Janice Foy and features an ancient Croatian hymn. In this work, the concept of a concerto is not held in a strict sense, but the cello suggests melodies that are echoed by the orchestra. The cello and the orchestra maintain both an independent role while acknowledging each other in timbre, rhythm, or through the song, “Ja se Kajem” (I repent). The concerto is in two large movements. The first movement has a rhythmic focus, particularly with the unfolding of two and three, odd and even rhythms which gives a sense of tension. Within this rhythmic tension are transformations of timbre, sections of plucked strings and dry string harmonics mixed with long durations of brass chords. The solo cello “battles” against the orchestra with these odd and even rhythms, frequently changing from a bowed to a plucked sound or with double stops. The second movement is a set of lyrical variations on the Croatian hymn, “Ja se kajem”. This is a popular hymn sung during the Lenten ritual on the Dalmatian Islands. The gesture and the dignity of this song is always felt in the solo cello and in the orchestra through the harmony, density, in the darkness of sounds and in the forever present 3/4 meter.
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