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Tipperary Concerto was composed in 2013-2014, commissioned by the Adolphe Sax Foundation, with financial support from the Dutch FPA. The concerto was dedicated to the Aurelia Quartet. There are 2 versions:
Version A: sax quartet, piano, timpani, gran cassa, string orchestra
Version B: sax quartet, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, marimba, percussion, timpani, piano, string quartet, double bass.
Première of the orchestral version and Dutch tour: 31 Oct. 2014 Theater Orpheus Apeldoorn by the Aurelia Quartet and the Nederlands Symfonie Orkest conducted by Julia Jones.
Première of the ensemble version: 22 Nov. 2014 Muziekgebouw Amsterdam at the International Sax Festival SAX14 by Aurelia Quartet & ASKO/Schönberg Ensemble conducted by Etienne Siebens. (video)
The Aurelia Quartet and I have a long history of collaboration, starting in 1998 with Pitch Black and resulting in several other quartets and solo works for individual members, like the Tallahatchie Concerto for Arno Bornkamp. When I started composing this concerto it was exactly 100 years after the beginning of the Great War, reminding me of a popular song in those days: ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ by Jack Judge, originally sung by Irish soldiers and copied by British, Russian and French soldiers. Although Tipperary is a small town in Ireland, where not even Jack Judge had ever been, the song expressed the feelings of homesick soldiers. Even in WW2, that tune was still popular among soldiers, I can remember my dad singing it.
Tipperary Concerto opens with a peaceful adagio that reaches an apotheosis, followed by a ‘liquid blues’, a scherzo and a fast final movement, resulting in a coda, which is a reminiscence of the adagio.