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Concertino da Camera for Percussion

Concertino da Camera | Duo Concertante | Quintet

Composing Year:



Solo Percussion and Chamber Orchestra [0,1,2,1 - 0,0,0,0 & str (2-2-2-2-1)]
OR Solo Percussion and Piano
OR Solo Percussion and String Quartet



Quintet Version:

Chen Zimbalista - percussion, Yulia Freidlin and Moshe Aharonov - violins, Yair Lantner - viola, Zvi Orliansky - cello (2000)


The “Concertino da Camera” for Percussion, was commissioned by the Israel Chamber Orchestra, and was performed in 1999, with the soloist Chen Zimbalista, and the work is dedicated to him.

The work is played without a break, but the organic whole is subdivided into three inner parts that are organized as a telescope in relation to their respective lengths. The first section is the longest and the most substantial of the piece, and it includes a cadenza by the percussionist that is partly planned and partly improvised. The second section is a bit shorter and has a lyric, intimate and expressive character. The third and last section is the shortest of all. It is fast, energetic and joyful in a perpetuum-mobile style.

The work was originally conceived and composed as a concerto for percussionist and an extended chamber ensemble, hence its name. The soloist, playing mostly on the marimba (though other instruments, pitched and unpitched, such as vibraphone, cymbals and tom-toms, are also called for), is in constant dialogue with the accompanying ensemble. I wanted to create amalgamation of the concertante (solo vs. tutti) with the chamber media, and to highlight the warm and deep timbre of the wooden instrument, namely the marimba, so for the accompanying ensemble I chose a woodwind quartet (an oboe, two clarinets and a bassoon), and a string nonet (double string quartet and a double bass). Soon after the work was premiered in this original version, I prepared piano reduction of the accompaniment, suitable for concert performances, to replace the extended chamber ensemble, under a new title – “Duo Concertante”. In 2000, a new version was written, Percussion Quintet, for solo percussionist and a string quartet. In all versions the solo part remains almost the same, only the accompaniment’s orchestration changes.


Additional performance of the Quintet version:

Brian Calhoon - percussion, The Borromeo String Quartet (2014)

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