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Performance Of The Month - Vranjanka

Venezuelan cello section

The cello section for Vranjanka in El Sistema, Venezuela - seven celli in a wind band - wow!

Vranjanka is one of my most successful commissions, and I have conducted it with great success from Australia to Venezuela.

The video link is to a performance with the Philharmonic Winds of Singapore, and below is Ken's programme note on it.

Vranjanka (2005) - Kenneth Hesketh

Commissioned by Timothy and Hilary Reynish in memory of their son William
World Premiere by the Guildhall School of Music & Drama Wind Orchestra at the RNCM Sunday 6th November 2005

Ken writes of Vranjanka:

Vranjanka (the title means "From Vranje," a town in southern Serbia, pronounced VRAHN-yahn-kah ) is loosely based on the traditional folksong Sano Duso. The melody exists in two versions, one in 7/8 and one in 3/4. I have chosen the version in 7/8 and in doing so, have extended the melodic ideas of the original with new material.

The musical form of the piece is as follows: a fairly slow introductory section where the theme is only hinted at but never heard and a faster second section cast in a set of variations on the folksong. These are not variations in the traditional sense, with clearly marked beginnings and endings, but ongoing developments of the various melodic material in the folksong with original material 'growing out' along side.

The text for Vranjanka influenced the composition more often than not at an unconscious level, but it is included here for reference:

Sana, my soul, opens the door to me, Open the door to me and I will give you coins.

My heart is burning for you, Sana. Your fair face, Sana, is snow from the mountains, Your forehead, Sana, is like moonlight.

That mouth of yours, Sana, like a deep red sunset, That eye, my darling, makes me burn. When night comes, marvellous Sana, I twist in sadness, Your beauty, Sana, will not let me sleep.