Commissioned to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society. Composition commissioned by Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR Funkhausorchester Köln)

  • hp/str
  • Piano
  • 23 min

Programme Note

Writing a piano concerto is not the simplest goal to achieve.

The build-up of anxiety when you start to feel the weight of History, of the past great masterpieces, can result in the infamous writer’s block. Mozart starts like this, Beethoven like that, Rachmaninov in another way….How would I start?

Over the last twenty years I have mostly composed for the piano, or for piano and other instruments. The main reason for this is that, since I play and perform my own music, I needed to create a repertoire to play. So, before this I had never had the opportunity to write a concerto for a solo instrument and orchestra. It was my enthusiasm for this unique challenge that was the main reason for accepting this invitation from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

My music tends to avoid labels. It has been defined as minimal, pop, neo-classical and contemporary classical etc., but for me it is the sum of all these definitions that reflects my musical identity and vision. It is in the search for the connections between different languages that I live with my work, looking for a world without barriers, that embraces the past and the present, but with a perspective into the future, nourished by different experiences: Nature, Literature, Philosophy, Art, Science and Mathematics.

This concerto, called Domino, is inspired by the ancient Chinese game, particularly for the way the different parts are connected through a process of analogies, echoes and alliterations. Formally, the concerto respects the traditional three part classical form, with special attention paid to the piano that plays the main role - dominating and conducting the orchestra through a path that recalls a labyrinth full of mirrors. The orchestration requires only strings and one harp. You may ask yourself why. The main reasons are for transparency of sound and the musical colour itself. With strings I feel at ease, and I hear a sound that doesn't immediately belong to the past. I feel instead a sound that, as outlined above, embraces the past and the present, but with a perspective into the future.

© Ludovico Einaudi