Many of the most memorable classical compositions were the result of the collaboration between the composer and the artist. One recent example is the Violin Concerto by Jennifer Higdon. Violinist Hilary Hahn was a pupil of Higdon’s at The Curtis Institute of Music. Their relationship and shared experiences are reflected in the concerto written for Hahn.
The first movement is entitled “1726” which is the address of the Curtis Institute where the composer first met Hahn. With the address in mind, Higdon used the intervals of unisons, 7ths, and 2nds, throughout the movement.
The second movement, “Chaconni”, is the calm middle movement of the work. This title comes from the word “chaconne”. A chaconne is a chord progression that repeats throughout a section of music. Higdon supplied several chaconnes for this movement allowing the soloist to play with select members of the orchestra.
The finale is entitled “Fly Forward”. Jennifer Higdon created a virtuosic ending to show off the soloist’s skills.
Jennifer Higdon won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for her concerto. Watch Hilary Hahn and Jennifer Higdon talk about their collaboration in this video recorded right after the work’s premiere.