CONCERTO, Albena Petrovic

Premiere of the Concerto in Luxembourg, June 2018

This is not an ordinary Concerto. Instead of proving your technical mastery of the instrument with very fast and difficult passages, this work constantly seeks a very deep and serious expressiveness. Furthermore, if you consider yourself a creative performer, you can make your own cadence at the end of the first movement.

The Composer

ALBENA PETROVIC-VRATCHANSKA (Sofia, Bulgaria, 1965) is a renowned Luxembourgish composer of Bulgarian origin. Based in Luxembourg since 1996, she completed her composition studies with Claude Lenners. Later, she was awarded the Knight of The Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Her production includes more than 600 works of various genres of music. Her music has been performed at several music festivals around the world.

Click here to read more about the composer.

Details of the work

Publisher: Contact the composer (superalbalonga@gmail.com)
Duration: Around 16:30
Range (written): A2 – A6 (or the highest possible).
TECHNIQUES: Tonguing accuracy, intonation, glissandi, vibrato and oscillations, wide intervals, diversity of articulations, slaps, flatter, bisbigliandi, bend, growl, overtones, extreme altissimo register, improvisation, teeth on reed (optional), multiphonics.
PERFORMANCE: To play with lots of expressive energy, even dramatically. Scenic attitude. Improvised Cadenza.

Meaning and structure

This is a very special work because it is the first concerto for baritone saxophone that has been written for me. In addition, I have premiered it, both in the version with orchestra and the duet with piano. I feel honoured and deeply grateful to the composer for this.

Albena Ptrovic composer her CONCERTO FOR BARITONE SAXOPHONE, PIANO AND STRING ORCHESTRA Op. 204 during the first half of 2018. I premiered it with pianist Sabine Weyer and The Sofia Soloists conducted by Plamen Djouroff at the Philharmonie de Luxembourg (Luxembourg) in June 19th 2018.

Watch to the video-teaser:

You can’t imagine how difficult it is to introduce a Concerto of these characteristics into the Catalan and Spanish classical music scene. It is a real pity to see the lack of interest of many orchestral institutions in programming current or recent works, as well as in not inviting soloists of no “common” instruments. In my opinion, promoters who think that this music attracts a small audience are wrong. The audience is asking for a renewal of classical music programmes and new formats, for a long time. Let’s start to change!

This impressive Concerto is structured in two movements, “Before the Winter” and “Lachrimae”. Composed both in rhapsodic style, with constant changes of tempo and character, far from being opposite, they complement each other. In addition to test the expressive capacity of the performer, this Concerto explores a copious amount of sound resources of the baritone saxophone with extended techniques, some of them very close to the voice.

Due to the lack of opportunities to perform this Concerto in its original version, I proposed to the composer to make a version for duo with piano. This piano version shows a new, more intimate version and has a very special and different colours. Just as the string version evokes tension, panic and desolation, the piano version maintains the same character but perhaps in a more measured way.

I premiered the duo version with Petrovic herself al the piano at SpazioMusica Festival in Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy) on October 15th 2021. Later, I recorded it with pianist Romain Nosbaum for the album Dreamlover (Solo Musica, 2022) which contains the complete production for saxophone by Albena Petrovic.

Listen to the 1st movement:

I have composed the Baritone Saxophone Concerto in two parts, with very evocative titles, which point the source of my inspiration out to listeners. The Cadence is improvised like the classical Concerto traditions, where the performer leaves his own mark on how to transmit the work to the listeners. The “pre-apocalyptic” side of the first part, Before the Winter, is very much in alchemy with the instrument. The baritone saxophone has almost a human voice, with fear and suffering in the first part, and it sends shivers. Later, in the second part, Lachrimae, baritone saxophone looks like singing, crying, with pain; it feels really human. (Albena Petrovic at Revista Ritmo Nº 958, printed edition, February 2022)

Listen to the 2nd movement:

I hope to encourage you to work on the Petrovic’s CONCERTO. If you need a little help, don’t hesitate to contact me for

Joan Martí-Frasquier
Barcelona, December 2023

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