Smokey Arnold

for ensemble

Vykintas Baltakas

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for ensemble

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Composer Vykintas Baltakas
Year of Composition 2015
Duration ca.14'


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Student Difficulty


Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-vb1sa1


SMOKEY ARNOLD was commisioned by Het Collectief. Since I like to relate my work to a specific concert situation: a specific musician, location, or in this case a specific repertoire, I decided to take a close look at “Pierrot Lunaire”, which to me is the quintessential work of this ensemble. I decided to compose an alternative track for one specific part: “Heimweh” (Part III.15).

Alternative tracks, are more common in Jazz, where different versions of the same piece often appear in a single CD production, offering new and refreshing perspectives on an original idea. In much the same way I looked at this melodrama by Arnold Schönberg based on poems by Albert Giraud and felt triggered to place a comment of my own. One hundred years removed from the original composition, the melancholy, the drama of the viennese bourgeois, all seems odd and slightly theatrical to me, but I do in the end still relate to the notion of “Heimweh”.

Zooming in on nostalgia as a concept, I noticed that when any emotion gets exaggerated it looses its functionality and becomes a routine, a loop. Once familiar with the emotion there seems to be no more need to solve anything and the emotion gets disconnected from its content. Melancholy may take on different forms and expressions, but in the end it keeps running into itself, no escape, no linearity of thought. Just like a moving swing. This back and forth motion is exactly what shapes the musical form of my work. “Smokey Arnold” is a slightly sardonic commentary on a great piece written one hundred years ago.

“Smokey Arnold” can be played separately or it can be inserted in the original Schönberg score as an alternative track for Part III.15, “Heimweh”. Start with “Heimweh” and at bar 4 jump to the begining of “Smokey Arnold”. The insert ends after bar 354, here the original Schönberg continues at the 3rd beat of bar 24 in “Heimweh”.