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Second Suite from Razumov

Second Suite from Razumov

Bartholomew, Greg


  • Ensemble: Woodwind Quintet
  • Genre: Modern Classical
  • Grade: 5
  • Duration: 16.0 minutes
  • Catalog Number: AOS465

The Second Suite from Razumov derives from Act Two of Razumov, Greg Bartholomew's chamber opera based on the novel Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad. The opera tells the story of a young Russian, Razumov, who is caught up in the consequences when Victor Haldin, a fellow university student, assassinates a government minister. Themes for the first movement of the Second Suite are taken from the opening scene of Act Two, in which Haldin's mother, in exile in Geneva and worried by the lack of news from her son, learns that Victor was the assassin and has now been caught and executed. The second movement is an instrumental interlude. The third movement is based on the scene in which Razumov is urged to visit Mrs. Haldin, an encounter Razumov dreads because it is he who turned Haldin in to the government. The concluding movement corresponds to the scene in which Razumov learns that news received from Russia has released him from suspicion for Haldin's death by placing responsibility on an innocent man.

Bartholomew's writing has a feeling of film style to it, sprinkled with eclectic hints that never quite materialize into firm influences. Was that a Spanish flair, a ballad, folksong or a dance rhythm? Was that harmonic minor meant to be Arabian? His music has a lilting grace that makes listeners want to join in, dancing or playing along.
--Ruth Bingham reviewing a Spring Wind Quintet performance of the Second Suite from Razumov, in theHonolulu Advertiser, March 15, 2010, "Wind quintet bucks norm to great success"

The Suite was commissioned by a consortium of 20 ensembles led by the Aeolian Winds of Pittsburgh, who presented the world premiere performance on November 9, 2008, at the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh. The commissioning ensembles are:

Aeolian Winds of Pittsburgh
Antero Winds (Colorado)
Avenue Winds (California)
Camas Quintet (Western Washington)
5 for Dinner Wind Quintet (New Jersey)
Laureate Wind Quintet (West Virginia)
Mexico City Wind Quintet
New Sydney Wind Quintet (NSW Australia)
Oregon Wind Quintet
Philharmonia Quintet (Poland)
Powers Wind Quintet (Michigan)
Pro Arte Collective (Western Australia)
Quinteto Avent-Garde (Portugal)
Quinteto Brasilia (Brazil)
Quinteto de Viento "Ciudad de Soria" (Spain)
Solstice Wind Quintet (Eastern Washington)
Spring Wind Quintet (Hawaii)
Timm Wind Quintet (Louisiana)
Vento Chiaro (Boston)
Westbank Winds (Minnesota)

The Avenue Winds perform the entire piece on YouTube

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