Choros, Opus 61 (1994​-​95)

by Thomas Oboe Lee

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Chôros for solo violin is in seven sections.

I. Chôro vivo
II. Sambinha chorôso
III. Valsa lenta
IV. Valsa serenata
V. Polca-chôro
VI. Valsa graciosa
VII. Chôro reprise

When Daniel Stepner commissioned me to write a work for solo violin, I of course went straight to the Solo Partitas by JS Bach for inspiration. The Brazilian chôro masters - Heitor Villa-Lobos, Pixinguinha, Ernesto Nazareth, and Zequinha Abreu - also wrote their wonderful music with "old Bach" in mind. Under these two influences I went to work, shamelessly borrowing from both.

Formally, the chôro patterns itself after the baroque dance suite. In my work, the movements - chôro vivo, sambinha chorôso, valsa lenta, valsa serenata, polca-chôro, valsa graciosa, and chôro reprise - are, respectively, similar in character to the allemande, courante, sarabande, menuet I, gavotte, menuet II, and gigue. The spirit of the music, however, leans toward the Brazilians rather than Bach. The first two movements are lively sambas, followed by three typical old-fashioned "sentimental" waltzes and a polka. Instead of a gigue, the last movement is a repeat, but shorter version, of the first, bringing the whole to a close.


released December 8, 2016

Daniel Stepner, violin solo

Music by Thomas Oboe Lee
© Departed Feathers Music, Inc. - BMI

Recorded November 1, 2016
Fraser Studio @ WGBH

Antonio Oliart, audio engineer and editor

Photo credit: Susan Wilson



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Thomas Oboe Lee Cambridge, Massachusetts

Thomas Oboe Lee was born in China in 1945. He lived in São Paulo, Brazil, for six years before coming to the United States in 1966. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, he studied composition at the New England Conservatory and Harvard University. He has been a member of the music faculty at Boston College since 1990.
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