Orchestra (188.8.131.52. / 184.108.40.206. / strings)
I. Allegro vivace
II. Nach Mahler – Quase Scherzo
The Sinfonietta Semplice was written in celebration of the birth of Francisco, the first son of my brother Mauro, and also my first nephew. In this way I am again taking up a characteristic of more distant times, in which art had not only a playful purpose, but also a ritual and social one. The celebration of important events was accompanied by occasional music that, despite its function, did not lose quality. The image of the romantic composer existing away from the real world (an image exacerbated since the 19th-Century), resulted in an almost complete distancing of artists and society, a distancing which is gradually trying to be diminished. If Janacék didn’t scoff at composing the Military Sinfonietta for a public (and political) celebration in Brno in 1928, and if Stravinsky didn’t restrain himself from writing the Circus Polka (with its famous, and distorted, quote from Schubert’s Military March) to make three baby elephants dance at the Barnum Circus; why should I disdain the example of such great masters? So it was that I resolved to write a short orchestral work, a mini-symphony, to celebrate the birth of my nephew. Simple and festive, it is written for a small chamber orchestra without clarinets, trombones or percussion, and a single trumpet. The Sinfonietta Semplice is nothing “simple” for the orchestra: its use of irregular rhythms, its extensive use of counterpoint, and its solo writing are characteristics that will certainly make it hard work for the musicians. Again taking Stravinsky’s lead, why shouldn’t the second movement quote a pastoral theme from Mahler’s Ninth Symphony? Or why shouldn’t the last movement, the most extrovert and joyous of the three, quote two classical moments, one in C Major, the other modulating, from another work whose basic key is also C major (the tonality of joy)? There are several bars taken from Haydn’s Symphony No. 97 and from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – see if you can find them…. The work is dedicated to the maestro Cesário Costa, a good friend and an excellent musician, who conducted its world-premiere.
© by Sérgio Azevedo 2005