Solo Endings?

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Solo Endings?

Postby sbeckmesser » Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:12 pm

Here's a tougher one than Solo Beginnings. What are some pieces that use an orchestra that also end with a one instrument playing alone? Even Haydn's Farewell Symphony (No.45) ends with two violins, so it doesn't qualify. It's easier to find inner movements that fulfill these criteria (such as the one in Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra that ends, and begins, with a drum). And the last thing you hear at the end of the second act of Wager's Parsifal is a timpani roll. But there's yet another long act to go. Stravinsky's L'histoire du soldat ends with a percussion solo, but there's no full orchestra during the rest of the piece. Most of the pieces we will come up with will probably be from the 1920s or later. Right now I can only think of one piece that ends this way: John Adam's Violin Concerto, which ends in mid-cadenza with the solo violin. There are likely other relatively recent concerti that end with the soloist solo.

When responding, remember to list what the solo instrument at the end is.

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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby Yagan Kiely » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:01 am

Define solo?

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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby sbeckmesser » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:59 pm

Solo is here defined as a single instrument and not, for example, just the first violin section. That single instrument may be capable of playing more than one note simultaneously, however, such as a piano or violin. Same definition as the Solo Beginnings thread.

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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby KGill » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:15 pm

Stravinsky's Pribaoutki ends with a solo clarinet, but only just. Interesting question...

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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby sbeckmesser » Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:52 am

Good piece, but I don't think an ensemble consisting only of one each of voice, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, and double bass can be considered an "orchestra," which is one of the original criteria.

This is a difficult problem due to the traditional characteristics of musical endings. If the piece is orchestral and tonal, typically more than one instrument would have play at the end in order get a final chord (unless the solo instrument itself can play chords). This automatically rules out most of the orchestral repertory from the invention of tonality right up to the mid 20th century. And producing a finale-appropriate slam-bang end for an orchestral piece pretty much requires more -- often all -- instruments to be in action even in non-tonal works. Even quiet endings seem often to require more than one instrument. Among three famous pianissimo endings, Stravinsky's Petrushka quietly ends with a single pitch, but it is played by a whole bunch of lower strings. Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony ends with B-minor chord on the lower strings. And Mahler's 9th -- a piece which to some extent is modeled after the Tchaikovsky -- also ends with chord, this time played by all the strings except the first violins.

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Last edited by sbeckmesser on Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby jsnfmn » Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:49 am

This is a much more interesting topic than the solo beginnings, and I just thought of one that works for both! Franz Schmidt's 4th Symphony both begins and ends with solo trumpet. It is completely solo in the opening movement. And though it is mostly accompanied by rich string chords in the final statement in the last movement, they trail off until the trumpet is left alone to intone the final C of the work.

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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby allegroamabile » Sat Sep 19, 2009 4:01 pm

The first movement of Shostakovich's The Fall of Berlin ends with a solo clarinet.

Russian Dance from Stravinsky's Petrushka Suite ends with some kind of drum.

Since it is obscenely difficult to cite a piece that ends with a solo instrument, I think movement endings should be permitted.

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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby Lyle Neff » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:38 pm

The first movement of Balakirev's 2nd piano concerto (E-flat) ends with two unaccompanied timpani notes.
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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby jsnfmn » Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:56 pm

allegroamabile wrote:Since it is obscenely difficult to cite a piece that ends with a solo instrument, I think movement endings should be permitted.


I think that's exactly what makes this interesting, there are easily hundreds, probably more movements that end with a solo, but finding a large work that makes as its grand exit a mere solo, is much more difficult, and that's half the fun.

And though I feel that concertos are a bit of a cop out to list, I can think of two cello concertos that end with just the soloists fading to nothing, Ligeti and MacMillan.

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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby Generoso » Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:20 pm

The 2nd Shostakovich Cello Concerto ends with only the solo cello playing a low D.

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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby jsnfmn » Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:37 pm

Ah, took me a while, but I just remembered the piece I remembered listening to a few months ago that ended with some quiet thumps on just the Timpani, Peter Maxwell Davies Symphony No. 5. I seem to remember some other piece too that ended very fast, leading to a big short chord for full orchestra, and then just after a solo thwack on the Bass Drum, but I can't for the life of me remember what it is, or if the Bass Drum might not be so solo after all and be accompanied by some other similar percussion (but it is definitely just percussion). I feel like this was also a concerto but I may be way off.

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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby vinteuil » Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:50 pm

Carter Double Concerto (1961) ends with just Claves...but one note.
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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby sbeckmesser » Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:27 pm

Richard Strauss' Burleske for piano and orchestra ends as it begins, with a D on the solo timpani. Finally, a piece written before 1923 and actually available at IMSLP! I knew there had to be at least one. Unfortunately, I've never particularly liked the piece.

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http://imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/d ... chrome.pdf

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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby sbeckmesser » Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:20 am

Webern's 6 Pieces for Orchestra Op.6, in both its original and final versions, ends with a one bar fadeout of already "barely audible" "deep bells." But you'd be hard pressed to know this from the Russian score here at IMSLP, which doesn't even label the deep-bell line in Russian, much less the Italian used for the other instruments (my official Universal Edition miniscores of both versions of this work uses German terminology for the instruments). Makes you wonder about the reliability of the rest of the Russian score. You get what you pay for, I guess.

Webern's 5 Pieces for Orchestra Op.10 ends with a 7th (G-flat/F) from a celesta. I hope this at least is in the Russian score here. I can't tell because I can't get to it because of copyright restrictions.

--Sixtus

Op.6:
http://imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/f ... es_Op6.pdf

PS (25 SEP 09): Also, Webern's Symphony Op.21 (which has come up recently in another thread) ends with a solo harp playing a low B-natural. This exhausts the Webern scores to which I have access (most of them at IMSLP are blocked in the USA). There's probably lots of orchestral music in the post-Webern school, and possibly more by Webern himself, that ends with a solo instrument. This style of music lends itself to this type of ending. Happy hunting to those who are willing to slog through it.
Last edited by sbeckmesser on Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Solo Endings?

Postby Yagan Kiely » Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:03 pm

What of a piece where there is a specific solo instrument but (lets say) chordal harmony below?


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