SONAR in Madrid

09 April 2024
Oliver Waespi's tuba concerto "SONAR" wil be performed in Madrid, by soloist Perry Hoogendijk, solo tubist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, and the Banda Sinfónica Municipal of Madrid, conducted by Jan Cober. The concert is taking place on April 9 2024 at 7.30 PM at the Teatro Monumental.

"SONAR" was composed for and is dedicated to Perry Hoogendijk, who assured its first performance. Alongside "SONAR", the programme features the 1st Symphony by Vasili Kalinnikov and the Capriccio Italien by P.I. Tchaikowsky.

Further information about the event is available here .

Program note:

The term „sonar“ means „to sound an instrument“ in Spanish, but also describes the technology that uses sound propagation in order to detect objects above or under water. Influenced by this imagery, I conceived the orchestral parts as some sort of sound environment which is being explored by the solo tuba in the course of the concerto. Large parts of the whole concerto are built upon the rhapsodic line of the soloist who develops a musical narrative throughout the piece. The solo line triggers several processes within the orchestra and is being reflected, harmonised, mirrored and accompanied by the orchestral instruments in multiple ways.

From a harmonic point of view, the piece is based on the simple, but very expressive central motive which Gustav Mahler entrusted to the orchestral tuba in his sixth symphony, consisting of the notes a – b – c – a. In my concerto, this motive is being treated simultaneously on an abstract and on an emotional level: It represents an abstract set of intervals, but also constitutes the emotional starting point of the dramatic narrative the tuba soloist is about to unfold. Furthermore, the motive finds itself explored from different stylistic perspectives and is thereby projected into the present time.

Formally, the concerto obeys to a four-part structure, all four parts being to be performed without interruptions: It starts with a slow, yet feverish first section which already contains a short cadenza of the solo tuba. The ensuing second part requires an ever increasing virtuosity from the part of the soloist whilst the orchestra gradually builds up different forms of groove by expanding rhythmical patterns first exposed by the tuba. The third part is the only one to bear a subtitle, “Nocturne”. It contains dream-like features and widely spaced, lyrical lines by the solo tuba, as if the preceding and following music was mirrored in the black waters of a tarn at night. Finally, in the last movement the soloist further develops the virtuosic gestures of the second part while driving the orchestra towards an exuberant ending.


The concerto „Sonar“ was written for and is dedicated to Perry Hoogendijk, solo tuba player of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. “Sonar” was first performed on November 24 2011 in Steenwijk, NL, by Perry Hoogendijk and the Johan Willem Friso Kapel under the baton of Arnold Span.

It was co-commissioned by the Eduard van Beinum Foundation and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia


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