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Pittsburgh Collective: Scherzo Grosso || Radcliffe Institute

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Published on Jan 23, 2014

Scherzo Grosso is a concerto in four movements for cello and big band. It was written for Matt Haimovitz and the Pittsburgh Collective with funds from the Koussevitzky Foundation. While the influences in the piece are numerous, the main underlying thread is the memory of Ed Nelson (1962--2004), a trumpet player with the band and a close friend of several of its members. While a simple reading of the concerto's pairing might suggest that the cello represents the more "sacred" and the big band the "profane," in actuality each explores aspects of both idioms and the ground in between. The band often veers closer to "European" than "jazz," breaking down into chamber groups at certain points. At the same time, the cello often acts as a jazz or rock soloist (movements I and IV), or as part of the rhythm section as Deidre Murray and Abdul Wadud have with Henry Threadgill's groups, or Hank Roberts with Tim Berne, among others. Although the majority of the piece is fully notated, there are portions of the second and fourth movements left open for improvised solo trumpet, with more freedom correspondingly in the rhythm section's accompaniments.

Soloist: Matt Haimovitz, cello; John Carlson, trumpet; Dave Phillips, bass; Brad Hubbard, baritone saxophone

Learn more about the people and programs of the Radcliffe Institute at www.radcliffe.harvard.edu.

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