A note from Elgar Howarth re In Memoriam R.K.

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by TheMusicMan, May 23, 2007.

  1. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Here's a note from Elgar Howarth regarding "In Memoriam RK".

    In Memoriam R.K.

    Rudolf Kempe died thirty years ago in the Spring of 1976 and I wrote this piece almost immediately that same Summer as a tribute to the most consistently inspiring conductor I ever knew as an orchestral player.

    Of all my works for brass band it has become easily the most admired by players, conductors and audiences. It is written in pastiche style since Kempe’s reputation rested, in Britain at least, as an interpreter of Strauss, Mahler and Wagner, and these three composers are most closely imitated here – Wagner even being quoted in the ‘Death’ episode (rehearsal letters K-L in the score).

    The piece falls into five continuous sections, plus a brief introduction which features my own idee fixe, taken from the much earlier, cheery Mosaic, here moodily anticipating the turmoil to come.

    The first section beginning at A has proved to be the most misunderstood by conductors tempo-wise. It is meant to illustrate the young Kempe and should be at once light, grazioso with a slight spring in the step. The tempo mark is maybe slightly high at 72, but not by much – it should in no way sound regretful or anxious.

    Letter C is anxious. Kempe was still a very young man in 1933, but the shadows, the nightmare which engulfed Germany, were already present, though not yet fully realised. Letter E is an attempt to throw off this sinister mood and mirrors his exceptional lyrical qualities as a musician.

    Molto Dramatico explodes with the violence which overtook Kempe’s world shortly afterwards, but also aims to illustrate the lasting effect which war had on him personally. It climaxes in the timpani strokes before letter L, the ruin of a nation and (much later of course) signifying the death of a very great musician.

    Letter M is a reprise of several themes in the remote key of D major (concert pitch); a coda, tranquil, respectful, accepting.
  2. DannyCollin

    DannyCollin Member

    ;) Pity the judges didn't read this before last Sunday init ;)
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