Composed in 2017, Symphony No. 3 was commissioned by the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia, the work’s dedicatee.
The work is in four movements. The first (Allegro) opens with a bass line played by the double bass, which is then joined by the cellos. Supported by this line, a vigorous A theme appears, played by the violas, then joined by the second violins. The first violins join in with a motif that completes A. An abrupt modulation brings out theme B, but the highly rhythmic character of the movement continues until the conclusion, where only A remains, taken up by the full orchestra.
The second movement is based on a motif A played progressively in canon by all the orchestra’s desks. A lyrical theme B then develops and leads to the return of the opening motif A, which is presented in diminution (the rhythmic values are halved). The lyrical theme B is superimposed and the movement ends with long holds in all the desks except the double bass, which ends by playing the motif A.
The third movement opens with a mixture of harmonic tones and a motif played close to the bridge, giving it a metallic timbre. The mysterious atmosphere of the beginning is followed by a regular eighth-note ostinato, on which a very expressive theme develops. Initially played by various solo instruments, it is gradually taken up by the whole orchestra. A sudden modulation gives a more tragic character, but the movement ends in a more peaceful and dreamlike atmosphere marked by the return of the very first motif. The fourth movement is essentially a rhythmic firework display briefly interrupted by a short, quieter interlude, with the exuberant atmosphere of the beginning returning to the brilliant conclusion.
The world premiere by the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia under the direction of Ektoras Tartanis took place on 16 October 2022 during the Lasne Music Festival (Belgium).
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