• 3(2pic)3(ca)3(Ebcl:bcl)2+cbn/4331/timp.perc/str
  • piano
  • 34 min

Programme Note

My Piano Concerto was written in 1976/77 between the choral works In Ecclesiis and Cantica.

It is in three movements, the general plan being fast-slow-fast. However, there is also slow music in the first movenent and the middle movement contains two brief scherzo-like episodes: in
fact, the dramatic confrontation of slow and fast tempi occurs three or four times throughout the whole work.

There is contrast also between formal and non-tonal elements. A single note row is the starting point for all the musical ideas and, whilst it contains all twelve notes, it does carry strong tonal allusions. It is perhaps not surprising that the second and third movements end firmly in major keys - D flat
and E respectively.

The role of the piano in relation to the orchestra is both that of partner and combatant - in the first movement, the two are on a fairly equal footing but, as the work progresses, the solo piano part increases in importance and weight and is, perhaps, at its most brilliant in the final movement. The scoring is for conventional full symphony orchestra (the percussion section including bongos, tom-tans, tubular bells and whip)

The Piano Concerto was written for Howard Shelley and its composition was assisted by a grant from the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, to whom I woul like to express my thanks. The first performance was given by the BOC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Howard Shelley (piano) and conducted by Christopher Adey on 18 September 1979. This took place at Bute Hall, Glasgow University as part of the Musica Nova Festival.