A concerto for piano and orchestra in three continuous movements, composed with a mixture of serialism and modal tonality
- 23 minutes
Picc. 2fl. 2ob. cor ang. 2cl in Bb bass cl. 2bsn. 2hn. 2trpt. 2tbn. tba. timp. 2 perc (tamb.triangle.temple blocks,bass drum) glock, xyl. strgs
Allegro energico – adagio sostenuto – allegro non troppo
This concerto uses a single 12-note row (E A# D F# B D# G C# F C G# A) with some overlaying of tonal material.
Whilst some traditional concerto procedures are followed (fast, slow, fast sections and a cadenza, for example), there are no ‘first or second subjects’. Instead numerous motifs were designed and developed, from both serial and tonal music, and these recur throughout the whole work. These provide necessary landmarks and unity.
Whilst eschewing virtuosity for its own sake, the piece has its difficulties for the soloist. There is a nod to tradition near the end with a short and expressive cadenza for the soloist, which revisits material from all three sections.
The twelve-note abstraction is tempered by sections of modal tonality, and the work is essentially melodic and highly rhythmic. The final ‘coda’ acts as a peroration, combining ideas from different movements triumphantly – if not altogether resolved conclusively in the front between tonality and atonality.
…clearly a well-crafted and sophisticated response to the demands of the concerto form.
Dr Richard Elfyn Jones, former Senior Lecturer, School of Music, University of Cardiff. Email to composer 7 February 2018