The premiere of Tommy Vig’s Vibraphone Concerto With Duna Symphonic Orchestra
Author: Ildikó Lehotka, Translation: Virág Balogi
The premiere of Tommy Vig’s Vibraphone Concerto was performed by the composer and the Duna Symphony Orchestra on 2013 March 22 between Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmila Overture and Brahms’ Third Symphony. The original composition and playing of the world famous vibist drew such interest that the concert had to be repeated two days later which similarly to the first one, drew a full house at the Duna Palace!
Tommy Vig, who left Hungary with many other compatriots in 1956, was born in Budapest in 1938. At the age of 7 he won a talent contest organized by MGM which made him famous in Hungary and later he made a career in the USA. The world famous percussionist instrumentalist and composer worked together with many popular jazz and pop musicians, wrote music for the biggest film studios and played in top notch bands. Since 2006 he lives and works in Budapest.
It is very rare that somebody writes a concerto for vibraphone perhaps due to its peculiar sound. It is more common to compose for percussion as it happened a couple of years ago with Laszlo Dubrovay which came out on a CD as well.
Tommy Vig’s composition started off with a light orchestra overture that was followed by a vibe solo session. This eerie musical sequel which was truly unique and gripping ended with drumbeat. This lead the listener to a new theme that took off in the lower register with rhythmical chords of which led on to the catchy tunes of the melodious vibraphone solo. This duality was not at all bizarre. The second part of the traditional three movement concerto also showed something of this duality. The unisono octave tunes sprang up from the bass strings first with the standing harmonies below and above, while later we could hear threnos-like tunes on the violins. Of course this movement didn’t lack Tommy Vig’s famous jazzy, big-band sound and some popular-like tunes, just like the smartly short closing one. The cadence appeared in the beginning of the movement, Again, the cacophony and drift of which was a kind of a hint perhaps that this might not be just a classical peace of music, was pleasing. The final sound –after a big, craggy, orhestral chord – came from the vibraphone.
It has been a never ending aim to incorporate different musical styles into classical music: in baroque music there are the stylistic dance movements of suites, in Wiener classics the growth of minuets into independent movements, the dances in the operas or folk music elements in certain styles all prove this. Even romantics built in entertaining elements into their music as one can hear in the works of Brahms, Mahler or Richard Strauss for instance. Of course 20th century music is no exception from this: there are newer and newer trends such as world music, crossover, there even were pop songs delivered by symphonic orchestras. Nowadays jazz and folk music are both part of the musical canon but these are definitely hard to mix with classical music in a way so as not to harm any components and not to have a harsh interference. Tommy Vig’s piece blended in the different styles smoothly enough although we have to admit that the movements were not built up according to the rules, there was no sequel form and that lead to mosaic like effect because of the non returning themes. All in all we can say that the concerto’s instrumentation was excellent, there were plenty of creative ideas with equally inspired parts, using the lower registers, the unisons, the wailing parts, and the unique sound of the vibraphone was not at all too intruding. The music reflected the tragedy and comedy of life. For the audience’s unending applause, Vig came back with a song called a melody written to his wife, followed by the 24th Capriccio of Paganini spiced up with some virtuoso solutions.
There a lot of orchestras in Hungary but only a few of them make it to the limelight. This was not my first attempt to listen to Duna Symphonic Orchestra and I have never been disappointed so far. I can only recommend going to their next concert.
24. March 2013 Duna Palace, Budapest, Hungary
"Hirhedett zenésze a világnak" - -2013. március 22. 19:00 - Duna Palota - Színházterem
Ősbemutató után - A Duna Szimfonikus Zenekar koncertje
Szerző: Lehotka Ildikó, Translation: Virág Balogi
Március 22-én ősbemutatót hallhatott az érdeklődő: Tommy Vig Vibrafonversenye szólalt meg a szerző és a Duna Szimfonikus Zenekar előadásában, a Tavaszi bérlet keretében. Nagyon sokan kíváncsiak voltak a vibrafonosok Oscar-díját elnyerő művész kompozíciójára és játékára, így példás szervezéssel beiktattak még egy koncertet két nappal későbbre, és a Duna Palota színházterme ismét megtelt! Az klassikus előadást Glinka Ruszlán és Ludmilla című operájának nyitánya indította, a szünet után Brahms III. szimfóniája szólalt.
Sok zenekar létezik itthon, de csak kevésre vetül nagy fény. Többször jártam a Duna Szimfonikus Zenekar koncertjein, és mindig magas színvonalú előadást láttam. Érdemes meghallgatni őket.
Duna Palota, 2013. március 24.