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Stephen Brown: Compositions

Violin Concerto

"The Ouroboros"

audio and score
The Ouroboros

Violin Concerto and Ouroboros Form

The Ouroboros, a violin concerto, is a five movement work 25 - 30 minutes in length. Movement I (slow and attacca) & Movement II (quite fast and driving) form a large beginning section. Movement IV (fast) & Movement V (quite fast and driving) form a large ending section.

The slow, lyrical inner Movement III is a stand alone section. It is an A1 - B - A2 structure, that forms sort of an arch. Also, Movements I and III share similar material as do Movements II and V. In other words, everything is eating everything else and itself, like an ouroboros.

Mvt. I - slow lyrical, quiet - begins in G major (one sharp and not the home key of the concerto but flat VII major) and after a while plunges straight into C sharp major (seven sharps) - a universe away in music - and then slowly eases back to the movement’s home key of G major.

Mvt. II is in A minor, the home key of the concerto. Fast, aggressive, and somewhat brutal - the orchestra hammers out chords underneath breakneck violin motives (shredding as it is know in electric guitar circles) in the style of a juiced up rock band.

Mvt. III is a lengthy slow aria using the theme from Movement I. It begins in C major, and then moves down a major third to the key of Ab major in Section Two. Section Three is down another major third, enharmonically, to the key of E major, and then down, once again, a major third to the home key of C major for the Coda, which is proceeded by a lengthy cadenza. Section Two and Section Three share the same material. Section One and the Coda share the same material.

Mvt. IV functions sort of like a scherzo and trio in a symphony. It is the mid-step wind-up transition from the slow movement to the final fast movement. Its structure is: Introduction - A1 - B1 - B2 - A2 - Coda. The Introduction, A sections, and Coda use aggressive Heavy Metal motives. They are in strict contrast the inner B sections which are a jig in Eb major which cocoons a Theme and Seven Variations in D major and minor.

Mvt. V returns to the composition's home key of A minor. As in Movement II, the material is fast, aggressive, and somewhat brutal. The are many passages of extended virtuosity for the violinist in the movement. The cadenza, which proceeds the Coda, again highly virtuosic, uses motives from Movements II, IV, and V.

Stephen Brown


3 Flutes, 3 Oboes, 3 Clarinets in Bb
4 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in Bb
Timpani - 4
Violin I, Violin II, Viola
Violoncelli, Double bass

This piece may be played with
1 Flute, 1 Oboe, 1 Clarinet in Bb
2 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in Bb
Timpani - 4
Violin I, Violin II, Viola
Violoncelli, Double bass

Five movements
Duration 25:00

Swan House Victoria SJB 1375A
Score and a single set of parts: $75.00
Additional strings: $3.00 each