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World Premiere of Dejan’s “S.C.H.E.rzo” for Orchestra on 17 January 2020 in the USA

Dejan’s latest orchestral composition entitled “S.C.H.E.rzo” for Orchestra, Op. 25, has been commissioned by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and will be premiered on 17 January 2020 in Indianapolis, USA, conducted by the orchestra’s music director Krzysztof Urbański. This composition of Dejan’s will also be published by Sikorski Music Publishers.

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra: “The ISO honors the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth by holding a celebration that will span a whole year, conducted only by Music Director Krzysztof Urbański. Beethoven forever changed the landscape of classical music, and to recognize that legacy, the ISO commissioned nine composers to write new pieces to be paired with each of the nine Beethoven symphonies. The celebration begins in January with three weekends dedicated to the first give Beethoven symphonies and other well-known works. The 2019–20 season comes to a close with all five Piano Concertos and Missa Solemnis, before the remaining four symphonies are performed in the fall of 2020

The earth-shaking openings of Beethoven’s Third Symphony mark the beginning of the second half of his career and a shift in the history of music itself. The technically challenging piece forced his contemporaries to rethink their definition of a symphony. Principal Cello Austin Huntington along with Dejan Lazić and violinist Benjamin Schmid tackle Beethoven’s Triple Concerto.”

More information: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Dejan Lazić: “In his symphonies, piano sonatas and various chamber music works, Ludwig van Beethoven played a major role in the evolution and rise of the fast and spirited scherzo movement (literally meaning a “joke”) as a re- placement for the slower and more dance-like minuet movement. The scherzo turned later in the 19th cen- tury into an independent instrumental form; the best known became the four “Scherzi” for piano solo by Frederic Chopin. This development was a wonderful source of inspiration for me both as pianist and com- poser.

In anticipation of the celebrations for the Beethoven year 2020, I wanted with this work to pay a tribute to this great composer in form, spirit, and in humour. The four capital letters in the title are imagined rather playfully as musical cryptograms that employ German note names (“S” corresponds to “Es” = E-flat, and “H” corresponds to B), thus subsequently forming both the main melodic motif and the harmonic base of the work (E-flat, C, B, E). For the instrumentation — in addition to significant percussion and piano segments — apart from horns and trumpets I haven’t used traditionally paired wind instruments, but rather each one singly. This reinforces the uniqueness and high recognition value of each instrument’s specific and distinc- tive sound and colour.

As the concert program of the world premiere in Indianapolis, USA, features Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, I allowed myself to quote some of the themes and motifs from this symphony in the course of my work. As an example, the ten notes of Beethoven’s main theme from the first movement are intro- duced in reverse order by the brass (the counterpoint forms the main motif of “Quasi valzer”). Later we also hear a quotation from Claudio Monteverdi’s “Scherzi musicali” published in 1607, one of the very first compositions carrying this term in its title.

The intertwining parts shape a rather traditional A-B-A-C-A form, the symphonic and chamber music-like sections stand in strong contrast with each other. A sarcastic-grotesque A section is traversed by vigorous, odd rhythms while in the gentle, lyrical B section the solo woodwinds and the strings introduce new me- lodic material. The C section contains jocular and dramatic features where the brass, percussion and piano come forward. In the conclusory short epilogue, the three main motifs come together.” 

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