Lament

for strings

Instrumentation
  • string orchestra
Duration
c. 10'00
Listen to a recording
Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sebrina Alfonso, conductor
Reviews | Comments

... the climax represents a gripping emotional catharsis... an intensely lyrical and touching work... effective for a small or large group of strings

William Hudson, Music Director
Fairfax Symphony Orchestra

... a superlative composition, very satisfying to perform... evokes an ethereal, pious ambiance moving listeners to relate to the music with spiritual introspection... musicians performing the composition share this enigmatic feeling...

Hugo Vianello, Artistic Director and Conductor
Missouri Chamber Orchestra

... full, beautiful and truly original... absolutely spiritual... depth, intrigue and passion... the audience senses the magic immediately...

Joseph Giunta, Music Director
Des Moines Symphony Orchestra
 

... a beautifully written work that exploits the manifold qualities of the string orchestra, always to the end of controlled and eloquent expression...

David Epstein, Music Director
The New Orchestra of Boston

Commissioned by
  • David Epstein and the New Orchestra of Boston
Year of composition
1991
Program note

As its name suggests, Lament for string orchestra is not a lighthearted work.  It is, rather, a meditation on the myriad emotional and spiritual challenges which daily confront us all.   An opening lamentation gently beseeches, gives way to rising passions and swells into full and compelling grief.  As the mood clears, a slim sense of hope surfaces, hovers tentatively, then transcends into the sublime.  Once more, the spirit gathers strength and begins its journey towards renewal.

Note to the conductor:

Although conceived for a full orchestral string section, Lament for String Orchestra is effectively performed by a smaller contingent of strings (but perhaps no fewer than 4.3.2.2.1).

The piece can be performed without contrabass, though this is not encouraged.

All double stops are intended to be played as written.  At the discretion of the conductor, however, the double stops can be arranged divisi to accommodate the size of the ensemble and the abilities of its players.

The music of the four soli violins found between rehearsal F and G is printed in both Vln. I and Vln. II orchestral parts.  These soli parts, therefore, need not necessarily be restricted to the first two desks in the Vln. I section.

Lament was commissioned and first performed by the New Orchestra of Boston under the direction of David Epstein, Music Director.

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