Luca Francesconi: Duende

Luca Francesconi: Duende

Luca Francesconi‘s violin concerto Duende
In 2016, Luca Francesconi won a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for his violin concerto Duende. The Dark Notes. He was the first Italian composer to win the prestigious award. One year before, the performance of the work at the Proms was selected to be one of the top 10 classical music events in 2015 by the Guardian. Now the work will be performed in the United States for the first time.

Leila Josefowicz (violin); Susanna Mälkki (conductor)

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Stockholm; February 21, 2014 (world premiere)
Orchestra Sinfonica Della Rai; Torino; May, 5, 2014 (national premiere)
BBC Symphony Orchestra; London (Proms); July 27, 2015 (national premiere)
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; Helsinki; January 25, 2017 (national premiere)
Los Angeles Philharmonic; Los Angeles; October 27, 2017 (national premiere)

Press quotes

The Guardian (December 16, 2015)
“Francesconi’s haunted, crepuscular violin concerto (...) was the pick of the year’s of the top 10 classical concerts and operas of 2015”

The Guardian (July 28, 2015)
"Substantial new works are few and far between in this year’s Proms, but Luca Francesconi’s violin concerto, Duende – The Dark Notes, was an exception: it’s both conceived on a large scale and hugely rewarding. (…) This then was the first British performance (...). It was well worth the wait." 

The Telegraph (July 28, 2015)
"a richly imagined score a major work… a major work… the music has unmistakable soul"

Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award 
In 2016, Luca Francesconi became the first Italian composer to win the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK. He was awarded in the Large-Scale Composition category for his violin concerto Duende: The Dark Notes.

The jury commented: “Drawing on the world of flamenco, this work is a febrile proliferation of gripping ideas driven with unceasing energy by the solo protagonist. The composer has created a white-knuckle ride of dramatic intent, which never loses its focus even through captivating moments of calm within the turmoil.”

Program note by Luca Francesconi

“Historically duende is the demon of flamenco. As Federico Garcìa Lorca explains, it is a subterranean force of unheard-of power that escapes rational control. To recover a primitive force in the instrument that perhaps most embodies the history of the West it is necessary to make a perilous descent into the underworld of dark notes, or a flight beyond the orbit of the earth. Which amounts to the same thing. Extremely difficult. But without duende we remain bolted to the ground.”

Leila Josefowicz about Duende. The Dark Notes
“(Luca Francesconi and I) acknowledged that we both have Duende, which cannot be learned... This is something we knew we could share with the world, he with his composition and me being the interpreter and musical messenger. I appreciate his incredible musical imagination, his scores bursting with color and drama.”
Read the full interview here

Information about work
Duende. The Dark Notes 
for violin and orchestra
2, 2, 2, 1, Clp, 2, Clb, 2, 1 – – 4perc.hp.pno.acc.cell – strings
Duration: 26‘

Photo: Chris Lee