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In the early 1930s, Martin became acquainted with Schoenberg’s twelve-tone technique, which was to influence much of his subsequent work. Elements of the twelve-tone form can be heard in the Ballade, although the piece is largely tonal and Neoclassical in style. It poses many challenges for the performer: it is filled with wide harmonic leaps, which the performer must tackle while also maintaining a lyrical melodic line; and the work tests the full range of the instrument, not least with a memorable section for the low register, accompanied by an effective ostinato in the orchestra.
from notes by Femke Colborne © 2013