Revised 2013. Formerly known as 'Rapids.'
This piano concerto comes in two parts: “Still” (2013) and “Rapids” (1996).
“Still” was written later as an introduction to “Rapids” because I felt that the fast-paced and busy “Rapids” might be helped by a short, slow and simpler soft piece. It is dedicated to my friend and colleague Blair McMillen.
“Rapids” was commissioned by the University of Wisconsin for its 100th anniversary and is dedicated with admiration to Ursula Oppens. It is a quick-moving piece that only stops once for a trio of two flutes and a violin. It is like river rapids — constantly in motion with cascades of sound that hurl over each other with speed and force. Even the two piano cadenzas are running around with fast scales and trills.
Where “Still” is like sitting in a rowboat on a quiet day on a lake where the water is completely still, “Rapids” is like being in a canoe going down a challenging river of speed and rapid waters and trying to stay afloat.
— Joan Tower