Concerto for Flugelhorn
Concerto for Flugelhorn
with string orchestra or wind orchestra (1993)
- Premiere (string orchestra version): 28 February 1993 / Woodstock Concert Hall, Woodstock, New York / Donna Hagen, flugelhorn / The Woodstock Chamber Orchestra / Luis Garcia Renart
- Premiere (wind ensemble version): 21 May 1994 / Olympia Concert Hall, Olympia, Washington / Donna Hagen, flugelhorn / Northwest Washington Wind Orchestra / Carolyn Vian
- Duration: 21'
I. precise funk - II. slow swing - III. driving bop
Hagen's Flugelhorn Concerto takes a wry, affectionate look at three pop idioms. The first movement was composed last, during June of 1992 at Yaddo, the artist's retreat in Saratoga Springs, New York. Marked 'precise funk', it rings some new changes on a four bar groove from an eighties pop song by the singer-songwriter Madonna.
The second movement was composed at the Virginia Center for the Creative during August of 1991. Marked 'slow swing,' it consists of an extended vocalise for the soloist which evolves into a traditionally unfolding 32-bar chorus. Hagen writes that it is 'an homage to the great film noir soundtracks - think Bogart in a trenchcoat, night-time, and falling rain.'
The final movement was composed in New York City during May of 1992. Marked 'driving bop,' it is a series of written-out choruses based on an eight bar 'head' from Stanzas, Book IV, by Hagen's first composition teacher, Les Thimmig. Hagen writes, 'The genesis of this movement goes back to when, around Christmas of 1983, Les' son Adam was born; I sketched them as a congratulatory gift then under the title Merry Christmas, it's a Boy' and included them as the final movement of a Divertimento for viola, harp, and vibes.
During April of 1994, Hagen arranged the concerto for flugelhorn and wind ensemble. The original version, for flugelhorn and string orchestra, was first performed on 28 February 1993 at the Woodstock Concert Hall in Woodstock, New York by Donna Hagen and the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, led by music director Luis Garcia Renart. The version for wind ensemble was first performed on 21 May,1994 at the Olympia Concert Hall by the Northwest Washington Wind Orchestra in Olympia, Washington. The soloist was Donna Hagen. Music Director Carolyn Vian conducted.
The flugelhorn concerto is a real crossover piece, using popular and film music influences in a luscious and appealing — and very clever — concert piece context. The composer has a wonderful sense of instrumental color, and an accessible harmonic language.
— Records International Reviews , Feb 99
Concerto for Flgelhom and Wind Ensemble (1994) takes its impetus from what might be called ready-made styles, with its three movements titled 'precise funk,' 'slow swing,' and 'driving bop.' 'Precise funk' is Hagen taking a cue and a musical riff from Michael Torke; 'slow swing' draws from the smoky music of classic movies; 'driving bop' doesn't sound like bop, inevitably lacking the edge of its improvised namesake.
— Robert Kirzinger, Fanfare Magazine, September/October, 1999
The Concerto for Flugelhorn is a 'composer's holiday' in that it uses pop idioms as its source material. 'Precise Funk' actually resembles East Coast jazz more than anything else, while 'Slow swing' is an homage to 1940s film noir soundtracks. The final movement, 'Driving Bop' is a tribute to 1950s jazz that has moments that call to mind the work of Miles Davis.
— Tower Record Reviews, Online, 1992