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Vienna: The Prodigal Citizen and the Concert of Europe, Op.4 No.4

Classical • 2007 • Alternative Title: Wien: Der Verschwenderische Bürger und das Konzert von Europa

Vienna: The Prodigal Citizen and the Concert of Europe

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PDF, 6.55 Mb ID: SM-000067828 Upload date: 25 May 2011
Flute, Flute piccolo, Clarinet, Bassoon, Oboe, Cor anglais, Horn, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double bass, Harp, Glockenspiel, Triangle, Timpani, Cymbals, Tambourine, Tam-tam, Contrabassoon, Bass drum, Alto Flute, Bass Trumpet, Güiro, Bass Tuba
Scored for
Large ensemble (9 or more players), Symphonic orchestra
Type of score
Full score
C major
Antonio Martinez
Very difficult
This orchestral piece is primarily based on Luke 15:11-32, also known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son. However, this modern interpretation varies completely from the biblical version. The character in this piece has no siblings who gets caught up in a lavish lifestyle.

The character becomes aт anti-Joseph figure when the piece goes into the E minor portion. (see Matthew 1: 19) The character is chased by angry monsters until he is rescued by Adam and Eve, who happens to be flying Vienna via fans. Adam and Eve then transport the character to Praterstrasse, where the character is greeted by two other figures: a checkered-suit man and a cat that stands on his hind legs, similar to that from the novel "Master and Margarita." These two figures then send in swarms of naked, classy women that surround the main character.

As he escapes the swarm, the character begin seeing various sins unfold throughout the area, including that of the seven deadly sins, represented by the 12-note variations. Then after escaping, the character is greeted by the checkered-suit man and a cat that stands on his hind legs. Only this time, there are at a remote area of Vienna and these two figures serve as angels in the sense of reminding the character the importance of avoiding sin. To get the character to mend his ways, both figures use famous paintings to get the message across, including that of "Saturn Devouring His Son," "The Temptation of Saint Anthony" and of course Hans Memling's "Hell."

We see so far that unlike the biblical version, this version features the squalor that the character underwent that was not prevalent in the Bible. We also see that unlike the biblical version, the character does say what he would say to the father for squandering his wealth. Instead, the "father-figure" in this piece happens to be a woman of power in Vienna.

Also, unlike the biblical version, instead of a party being prepared for the return of the Prodigal Son, the party is ongoing when the character arrives at Ernst-Happel Stadion, a party similar to that of what the world saw during ceremonies ahead of the Euro 2008 final.

However, this party (measure 296), is lavish and wild with debauchery everywhere, a sign that people still were not taking religion seriously. Dark, gray clouds arrive (D-major passage) with a warning that comes from the mouth of the woman of power: if there is not one person that repents their sin, then all would die.

Only one person repents: the main character, who utters these words to the woman, with right knee bended and looking at the woman: "My lady, I sinned against heaven and humanity. I am forever ashamed to be called a son." But the woman stops him by saying, "My son, you have nothing to be ashamed. You were lost and now you have returned to the grace of God." The party goes on; the character is greeted by prominent holy figures and a banner of Matt 3: 2 in unfurled in the stadium: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

Numerous composers were influenced in this piece alone. Among those include Mozart, J. S. Bach, Dvorak (easy to recognize the variation on the Slavonic Dances), Glinka, Schonberg (easy to recognize with the twelve-note patterns) and Wagner. In addition there is subtle influences from media as well, most notably "Pirates of the Caribbean" and even from a video game "Starfox."

Although this piece resembles a waltz to reflect the spirit of Vienna, the piece was never intended as a waltz but rather as a sarabande, particularly in the opening measures of this piece.
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