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Composed: 2014

Orchestration: 2 flutes, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, contrabassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, percussion (1=crotale, roto-toms, slide whistle, sleigh bells, whip, castanets, cowbell, guiros, temple blocks, pandiero, quads, table hinoki, shoe box, tin, side drum, tom-tom, bass drum; 2=xylophone, vibraphone, marimba, flexatone, slide whistle, cymbals, suspended cymbal, tambourine, castanets, tin, quads, side drum, tom-tom), piano, and strings

About this Piece

“I always need an intellectual motivation; however, music should not be just intellectual but also communicative. I don’t like instability in my life; however, for me it is very hard to avoid instability in my music, because everything seems so unstable in our society,” says Francisco Coll, born in Valencia in 1985 but nowadays resident in Lucerne. His music is rich, precisely written, and often dynamic. It has sharp corners and edge, but also a certain picturesqueness. Coll is an expert orchestrator and a master of timbre.

Together, the Four Iberian Miniatures for violin and chamber orchestra (2014) are in the nature of a compact concertino. Premiered by Pekka Kuusisto with the Britten Sinfonia conducted by Thomas Adès at Saffron Walden in England, it weaves in elements of Spanish folk music and flamenco. The gestures, rhythms, melodic motifs, and harmonies familiar from the Spanish jota, fandango, habanera and flamenco are not, however, present as such in the Iberian Miniatures. Instead, Coll uses them as part of the work’s de-constructed, sharply contoured modern soundscapes. The first is like a jittery scherzo, the second meditative before giving way to reeling elegance. The third, setting out as a contemplative duo for piano and violin, adds a touch of melancholy to the suite, and the fourth dashes along at speed. —Kimmo Korhonen, reprinted courtesy of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra