Second piano concerto. Written for Leif Ove Andsnes
It all began six years ago. The phone rings - "Good day - you are talking to Leif Ove Andsnes; would you like to write me a piano piece? If so, it will be commissioned by and premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York; but of course you must be allowed to think about it!” I had to pretend I was cool, even though I was already screaming inside "Yes, yes, yes!". But there was nothing to think about, because how could I say "No" to those sensitive hands that I had heard turn so many written notes into revelations and miracles in my ears and soul in the meeting with the keys? It turned into a friendship and into The Shadows of Silence and soon after, it was just a matter of time before it would turn into a piano concerto.
It all starts again three and a half years ago. I am in Vienna to experience Leif Ove and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra play Mozart's 17th Piano Concerto. As I listen to the wonderful performance, my thoughts run around inside the music: Back to childhood - the 17th was one of the first things I heard, and further into the future. This is the crew I want for the concert. The orchestra in a chamber; chamber music in an orchestra.
After the concert we meet at the piano bar “Broadway”, unfortunately since closed down. We are drinking wine, relaxing and suddenly Leif Ove sits down at the piano and plays the Busoni-arrangement of J. S. Bach's “Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ”. I sit close and can see his hands forming something that floats up from the depths and forms a halo over our heads. When I get home from Vienna, I immediately write the beginning of the piano concerto La Mattina. It is the deepest and darkest thing I have ever written; but it rises, as we did when night turned into morning and we left Broadway in Vienna.
The concert is in five movements; but you can also divide it into two, three, four or six movements. All movements glide into each other. Motifs and textures return in new guises, and the dark beginning – with closed eyes and a small trace of a Bach chorale – ends in a rousing rondo-like movement – with eyes wide open.
- Bent Sørensen