How Did It Get So Late So Soon?

How Did It Get So Late So Soon?
a concerto for violin and chamber orchestra

Duration: 25'

Instrumentation: 2-2-2-2, 2 horns, solo violin, string orchestra. Also version for single woodwinds, without horns.

The title comes from the poem by that name by political cartoonist and beloved children's author Theodor Seuss Geisel ("Dr Seuss"). It refers to the overlay of memory upon itself, time fading, and associations extending in all directions. Triggered by perhaps nothing more than a smell, thought or feeling, these connections reverberate across generations and continents.

The piece is an homage to Geisel, whose satirical creations included the megalomaniacal tyrant Yertle the Turtle, the inflexible narcissistic Zax pair, the status-craving xenophobic Sneetches and the corrupt opportunist who preys on their fears. Its three movements recall folk songs from the Great Depression of the 1930s, songs of struggle with striking relevance to the contemporary world.

Much of the material in the work is derived from Appalachian fiddle and religious tunes. African-American blues and religious hymns figure prominently as well. There is also frequent use of American bluegrass fiddle idioms. In addition to the folk material, there is a strong influence of Charles Ives, who forged an approach to composition that combined European traditions with quite different approaches to development and structure, use of diverse material, a broad spectrum of harmonic and contrapuntal techniques, etc. - DAJ




From the premiere performance, August 27, 2016, at the Tytuvėnai Festival, in Tytuvėnai, Lithuania, performed by Karen Bentley Pollick and the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Robertas Šervenikas.