The American Prize in Composition—Orchestra (professional division)
JUDGES CITATION: “Special Achievement in the Art of the Concerto”
KEITH LAY for “Children on the Playground”
as performed by Sir Tamas Kocsis, violin
The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Strings, conducted by Christopher Wilkins
This is a concerto for violin and string orchestra dating from 2001, expertly performed by the musicians of Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. Children on the Playground” is everything one expects it to be: open, warm-hearted, brimming with wholesome joy, and unashamedly tonal. In three movements, the work projects feelings of purity and sweetness without undue saccharine. In the first movement, subtle shifts of meter are particularly effective, while in the second movement, “Yearning”, clever use of string quartet within the main ensemble creates interesting textures. In the last movement, staggered melodies that follow the “leader” (violin soloist) create an intricate interplay between voices. At times the work does feel a little one-dimensional as musical ideas are treated in a similar fashion, but it certainly fulfills the expectations of the title.