Wyner: Pulitzer for "Chiavi in Mano"

Wyner: Pulitzer for "Chiavi in Mano"
Yehudi Wyner
© Michael Lovett
"I'm thrilled, exhilarated, and I'm finding it hard to sleep." These are the immediate thoughts of our newest Pulitzer Prize winner Yehudi Wyner, whose Piano Concerto "Chiavi in Mano" won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Music. " 'Chiavi', " notes Wyner, "really is the culmination of a life's work. Of all my pieces, this one most comprehensively reflects the various sides of me, both the serious and the absurd." Composed during a summer 2004 residency in Italy, "Chiavi in Mano" draws influences and ideas from Bach to Mozart to jazz, and is filled with antic reversals, high spirits, deep lows, and the juxtaposition of life's extremes, somewhat in the vein of Dante's Divine Comedy. The Boston Symphony — which commissioned "Chiavi" for soloist Robert Levin, premiered the one-movement work on 17 February 2005, under the baton of Robert Spano.

Pianist Levin adds, "To me, what he delivered is a piece of vintage Wyner, rich in emotional communication, eloquence, and vehemence. I felt at the time that I had hit the jackpot, and now he has, too."

Wyner — also a conductor and pianist — says that right now, "my brains are like scrambled eggs, but I must keep working." That work involves next month's concert of his Dances of Atonement, when he joins violinist Brigitte Sulem at the Marc Chagall Museum in Nice, France.
"Chiavi in Mano — the title of the concerto — is the mantra used by automobile salesmen and realtors in Italy: Buy the house or the car and the keys are yours. But the more pertinent reason for the title is the fact that the piano writing is designed to fall "under the hand" and no matter how difficult it may be, it remains physically comfortable and devoid of stress. In other words: ‘Keys in hand.'"

— Yehudi Wyner
Piano Concerto 'Chiavi in Mano'
Duration: c.20'
Piano; 2(pic).2.2.2/4231/timp.perc/str

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