Achernar (version for piano and orchestra)

for piano and orchestra

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for piano and orchestra

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Year of Composition 2014
Duration ca.18'

Instrumentation Piano, Orchestra
Forces 2Picc, 3Fl, 3B.Fl, 3Ob, 2CA, 6Bsn, 2Cbsn, 4Bb.Cl, 2BCl, 2BHn, 6Hn, 3C.Tpt, 3Bb.Tpt, 2Tbn, 4BTbn, Tba, 2Perc, Pf, Strings (
Categories (all composers) , , , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-dv1a5


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Achernar is a composition written at the request of the Venezuelan pianist and composer Marianela Arocha.

It is an elaborate work, specially designed for the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar. It also has an educational purpose, that is, to bring a youth orchestra closer to contemporary art music.

It is a real concert for piano and orchestra, not so much as regards the musical form, which is very free and traceable to the one of the Fantasia, but as regards the poetic idea. Antithesis and dualism between the piano and the orchestra are strong in it, as if they were actually the two characters in a play.

The virtuosity and lightness of the musical writing, entrusted to the soloist, is contrasted by the more compact and dramatic one present in the orchestral mass. These elements tip the scale of the whole piece.

The composition is inspired by Achernar: the ninth brightest star in the sky, which, in addition to that feature, is also one of the most flattened at the poles currently known. The star has set all the parameters of the piece – tempo, rhythm, pitches, dynamics, and form. Furthermore, the star plays an important role in the Bahai religion. This is reflected in the relationship between the piano (yang-ying), and the orchestra (ying-yang).

Even in this composition Maestro Venturi adopts a very personal musical language, in which the composer, through a chiseled compositional work, tests particular sounds, as well as researching new instrumental techniques. Moments of great sweetness and singing contrast with others more rhythmic and with a strong sound impact. While drawing inspiration from folk music, jazz, the music of the historical avant-gardes and even the songs of Tibetan monks, Venturi can keep his idea of ‘material cantability’ intact.

In fact, each musical instrument is entrusted with a musical line imbued with great lyricism and vaguely vocal hues. Both the structure of the composition and the compositional writing are definitely inspired by the dualism between the star and the universe containing it. The piano thus represents the centrality of the star itself, while the large orchestra depicts the infinite space in which Achernar is contained. Also as regards the compositional technique used there is a clear dualism between the solo musical writing of the piano, generally with shorter rhythmic values than the more spatial and material one of the orchestra.

Although the writing entrusted to the orchestral mass is very varied and articulated, it generally tends to envelop or illuminate the more lyrical one of the piano.