Keith Allegretti 




for string orchestra (2017)

Program Note

The string orchestra, commonly thought of as a monochromatic and uniform ensemble, is in fact filled with colorful possibilities and techniques. Without the normal complement of winds and percussion, the natural tendency for many composers, including Krzysztof Penderecki, Samuel Barber, and John Corigliano, has been to explore the various ways string instruments can produce sound: bowing, plucking, harmonics, tapping with the wood of the bow, and so on. Using a relatively small ensemble of 19 players, Ricercar creates a collage of these different sounds, combining them to form a dramatic narrative. The title refers to a late Renaissance genre in which a solo instrument was explored, a word literally translating as “to search out.” This piece searches out the possibilities of the entire string ensemble, weaving them with the motivic development of its solemn opening bars.

Duration: ca. 11 minutes

Performance History

March 23, 2018
Austin, Texas
Read by University of Texas Symphony Orchestra
Paul Grobey, conductor