RC 102 Ciaccona

  • violin and orchestra
  • March 1, 1910 - March 30, 1910
  • duration ca. 11:00

In March 1910 Diepenbrock arranged the famous Chaconne in g minor for violin and continuo by Tomaso Antonio Vitali (1663-1745) for the unusual combination of solo violin and an orchestra of two flutes, oboe, oboe d’amore, English horn, two trombones, timpani and strings. His orchestration may have been a response to Ottorino Respighi’s setting for violin, string orchestra and organ, which had been performed for the first time in Amsterdam by Arrigo Serato and the Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Willem Mengelberg on 24 February 1910. Most likely Diepenbrock attended this performance. There are no indications that a violinist had requested Diepenbrock to make an arrangement. Nevertheless, the Concertgebouw did pay for the production of the orchestral parts for the premiere that was to take place in October 1912 with the concertmaster Louis Zimmermann (1873-1954) as soloist. (BD IX:367)

Diepenbrock used the printed edition for violin and piano (Breitkopf & Härtel, plate number 11361), edited by Ferdinand David (1810-1873), who had taken many liberties with the rhythm in his realisation of Vitali’s figured bass. Diepenbrock cut 36 of the original 230 measures. The solo part has remained unchanged and the rhythm of the bass line in Diepenbrock’s score is more or less the same as that of David. However, he has varied the middle voices in many places.

Diepenbrock’s orchestration was applauded by the press. After the premiere, S.A.M. Bottenheim commented on the orchestral accompaniment in the newspaper Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant:

It has been kept sober, as a beautiful backdrop, so the broadly played violin tone shines as a bright light against it. (BD VIII:591)

Matthijs Vermeulen revelled in the exceptional way in which Diepenbrock had taken advantage of the specific timbre of the oboe d’amore, the English horn and the two trombones:

Especially the trombones, always playing piano, gave the orchestration something vast and high, a distant murmur. (BD VIII:592)

To a friend, Diepenbrock said he was pleased with the orchestration with its neo-archaic timbres. (BD VIII:39)

At the beginning of July 1918 Richard Heuckeroth (1885-1960), the then conductor of the Arnhem Orchestral Society, inquired about the performance material for the Ciaccona. Diepenbrock referred him to the manager of the Concertgebouw, Hendrik Freyer. (BD IX:367), but this did not result in a performance by Heuckeroth.

Robert Spannenberg